NBC’s Constantine Pilot TV Show Review from NYCC 2014. Constantine: Season 1, Episode 1: Pilot was good and fun, but just like the battle for mankind there is still a lot work to be done as far as the story goes. However, NBC may have a hit on their hands if done right.
The highlight of the pilot goes to Matt Ryan, who does a spot on performance as John Constantine. Matt has the personality right, except for the display of smoking. But his anti-social and lighted-headed traits make up for that. Maybe it’s just his performance that leaves the show a lot to be desired. Fans will be pleased that the show is following the Hellblazer comics than the New 52 version. The pilot wasn’t perfect, but we did get an introduction to Constantine’s world filled with angels, demons, parallel worlds, and a bit of magic.
The episode opens with John checking himself into a mental institution. He blames himself for losing a 9-year-old girl to Hell during an assignment. After he gets a message from a possessed patient that a friend’s daughter is in danger, John drops everything and heads to America. We go forward to Atlanta, Georgia where we meet the friend’s daughter, Liv Aberdeen (Lucy Griffiths) who gets attacked by a demon on her way to work. John arrives to save her in time from falling into the pits of Hell.
John then tells Liv that her father can see demons and enter through purgatory just like her. Liv doesn’t believe him at first, but after witnessing what she has just seen, she tries to learn more about her father. Helping them on their journey is Chas Chandler (Charles Halford), John’s old friend and driver. John also gets some unexpected help from an angel named Manny (Harold Perrineau).
Liv, John, and Chas head over to the cabin where Liv’s father has been living. Liv explores the place and finds all these artifacts that her father has collected. John then shows Liv the pendant from her father that is used to locate any demonic activity. Once they locate the demon, John and Liv conjure up a spell to lure him out and diminish him out of their world.
What was so great about seeing Matt play Constantine is how he is in a constant struggle with himself. We see a three-dimensional character who is cynical and always cracks a joke now and then when things get serious. Hopefully we get to see John develop over the course of the series, giving us a hero to root for.
Liv and Manny were good characters, but they really were replaceable. Lucy and Harold’s acting were great but they both really slowed down the first part of the episode by introducing them and why they was essential to the story. What the story needed was a character that John can go toe-to-toe with when it comes to the supernatural.
However, Charles completely nailed it as John’s friend and confidant Chas. Chas becomes the calming presence during the intense action scenes. Chas does well being the guy who keeps John straight when he goes overboard and becomes the voice of reason for John.
We should expect some changes to be made as the series progresses. Liv, who was suppose to be a part of the series, was written out of the show which the writers did a good job doing in the pilot with a bit of editing. This gives some room to focus more on Constantine and bring in some recurring characters along the way, like Angelica Celaya who will play the mysterious Zed Martin.
On a whole, the first episode of Constantine showed what works and what didn’t as far as plot goes. As the show moves forward, what the writers need to do is expand Constantine’s world, improve the lead character, and give us a reason to watch the next episode. While the pilot has some pacing issues to work out, it should be interesting to see where the show takes John Constantine next. So for now, let’s prepare for this long hellish ride.
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