Constantine, NBC TV Series

When I saw the previews for Constantine on NBC, I was kind of intrigued and started watching the show with my hubby. The series is based off of the comic Hellblazer from DC Comics. In this story, our hero John Constantine fights the forces of evil with supernatural powers to cast off demons with the help of an angel and two trusty side kicks. I’m pretty sure that a hot wit, a hot bod, and chain smoking are also some of his special powers because he has a lot of all three. The man works out, that’s for damn sure.

After we saw the first episode, we said, “That was OK. I’d give it another go.” And then we said that after the second show, and the third show, until we’d seen the entire first half of the season that culminated in its recent mid-year cliffhanger. The strength of this series seems to be the intrigue and the plot that get more interesting with each episode. On the flip side, the plot is not without holes, leaving you asking questions about why or how they failed to address something. Then I remind myself that it’s a story, that that’s the way the story went, and not to think too deeply about it because the show overall is enjoyable.

For some reason, either the network or the writers decided that John Constantine should not be seen smoking on TV, after they started out with him chain smoking. A couple episodes do not show him smoking at all. But then he’s back to chain smoking, as well he should since it’s an essential part of this character. It doesn’t hurt that Matt Ryan, the actor who plays Constantine, is smokin’ hot! Even though I can see him acting the pretty boy, this role keeps him down and dirty. I seriously don’t know what part of this man in this role is hotter: his accent, his bod, his wit, or his general “I don’t give a fuck” attitude. Maybe all of them. I am a New Yorker, after all.

I’m also a big fan of Harold Perrineau who plays the “I can’t get involved but I can give you a nudge here and there” Angel called Manny. Yes, Angel, as in has wings on his back and is among those who still walks amongst God in Heaven. He pops at least once an episode to castigate and assist John by trying to point him in the right direction without, as much as possible without becoming directly involved in the affairs of Men on Earth. If John dishes out crap to Manny, well Manny isn’t afraid to give right back to him, albeit with a side of compassion, of course. Manny’s refusal to become involved is tested in the mid-winter cliffhanger. You’ll just have to watch the series to see how that pans out.

Of the two sidekicks, Zed (played by Angelica Celaya) has a much more interesting part to play in the series than Chas (played by Charles Halford). I think the series would be well served to have Chas play a more interesting role, where he seems to pop in occasionally instead of being an integral part of the action and plot (but not as much as John, of course). Chas has a history with John and assists him with his investigations when he can, but he doesn’t have any supernatural powers of his own to add to the plot nor any interesting plot twists.

Zed, on the other hand, is a much more interesting character than Chas because she was given more to work with. We know she ran away from someone or something, but we don’t know who are what. The mid-winter cliffhanger brings us some information, but not much. When Zed touches people, she has visions about the person’s life or events in the future. But these visions are not clearcut and it takes some interpretation on the part of the characters to figure out what the visions means. The actors who play Chas and Zed bring strong acting skills with them. If their roles suffer, I feel it’s a result of the writing difficulties that have come through in the plot instead of it being because of their lack of acting experience.

The more we watched the show, the more we liked it. By the last few episodes, I realized another thing that I’ve really come to enjoy about the series: it’s a purely enjoyable fantasy. Fighting the Big Great Fight against the forces of evil that are threatening to break the open the doors of Hell to unleash itself on Earth, supernatural powers, the appearance of angels and demons in every episode,  sworn enemies temporarily coming together to fight an even bigger, scarier demon, betrayals, and twists and turns all make this series a pleasure to watch, despite its plot shortcomings.

I heard a rumor recently that said NBC had cancelled the series and that it might be moving to an online format. Today I read that Constantine is moving to an earlier 8pm Friday time slot. I hope that’s a positive sign because I think this series is worth watching, and I will continue to watch it.

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