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Arrow seems to have made enough money that everyone wants a DC Comics TV Show. CW is getting Flash, FOX is blaspheming with Gotham, someone I can’t remember is developing iZombie, and NBC is getting Constantine.
Constantine, of course, refers to John Constantine a smart mouthed, hard living British mage who fought all the evils of Hell and beyond in the pages of Hellblazer. It was a blisteringly smart comic filled with creepy imagery and a subtle, imaginative use of magic.
So sure, NBC might deliver darkness and gore on Hannibal, but can it truly give us a decent Hellblazer adaption? Let’s take a look at the trailer:
I liked Keanu Reeves’ Constantine movie. There. I said it. However, while a decent movie itself, it wasn’t really a Hellblazer movie. It didn’t really have all the right elements. This LOOKS like a Hellblazer comic. Or at least a close enough approximation.
Sure he doesn’t chain smoke and isn’t as foul mouthed as he’s supposed to be and probably isn’t as much of an ass, but he’s definitely there in the broad strokes.
He’s British, blond, rough looking, passionate and disinterested at once, and almost as sarcastic as he has to be. Honestly, for NBC, it’s nearly spot on.
The Nu52 Constantine isn’t bad. It’s just not the same as Hellblazer, it’s its own thing. One of the aspects that gave Hellblazer its charm was its subtle magic. It wasn’t flashy lightening, it was phrases and symbols and bluffing. The Nu52 Constantine is all flashy lighting.
And it’s easy to slide into that. Flashy explosions and multicolored electricity is easy. It’s big. It appeals to the general audience. You don’t have to be that clever.
This show seems to rely on the original Hellblazer’s brand of magic, with circles and incantations and subtle spells that relied on the user being more quick witted than having the most powerful magic missile. However, because it’s TV, we still have the obligatory explosions, shattering windows, and fire hands.
You can always tell when someone likes the source material or read the Wikipedia page. This seems like the work of someone who cares (even though they’re shackled by a huge studio like NBC). The details, like the cab, and the person — usually a girl — he’s trying to save, the pure Contantine/asshole move like dooming a girl to hell are all signs to somebody who actually cares about the character they’re putting on screen.
HOWEVER! This is just a trailer. I freely admit I could be making jumps in my mind. I came at this show is super low expectations and that too could be a factor.
We’ll have to wait until we’re a few episodes deep into the show and then a more appropriate judgment can be made. But I will say, from what I’ve seen, I’m much more interested in this TV show than I was just a few weeks ago.