It feels like absolutely ages since Constantine finished before Christmas, and another age since the new year before it started. Quite why, I’m not sure, but who cares now, because it’s back!
I had hoped that by the time it returned to screens, it might have been saved from renewal purgatory and been renewed for a — deserved, in my opinion — second season. Sadly that doesn’t seem to have happened, and there are only three episodes left of this season, so to coin a peculiarly British phrase, we’re into squeaky bum time.
But never mind that for now. I have a new episode to review.
It struck me watching this week’s episode of Constantine, that I don’t actually know how many episodes of the series there are. To my knowledge it hasn’t been renewed for a second series, and reports had said that there would be 13 episodes. If so, that means that there are another five episodes to go.
Which makes the pacing of the series seem a little odd.
The rising dark has been simmering away in the background throughout, and presumably is going to be a big part of the season climax. So a little more detail being fleshed out might be about due. Just saying.
My comments on the premiere episode of the new Constantine series basically boiled down to: a great start, but a long way to go. It also needs to calm down a little if I’m going to be able to keep up for several — hopefully — seasons.
The bizarre thing is that, having set up so much in the first episode, they’ve taken an editorial change of tack and dumped a lot of the establishing material that it featured. Specifically, the female lead, Liv. Entirely. You have to feel for the actress, Lucy Griffiths, but my understanding is that they wanted to pursue a different direction, cleaving closer to the comics.
Quite why they couldn’t have made a new pilot episode, rather than tacking on a scene to the end which negated a lot of the set up, I have no idea.
So for those familiar with the source material, it might well be wise to simply treat this second episode as the real pilot.
Declaring an interest here: I am a big fan of the Hellblazer comics, the source material for this new TV adaptation which is going by the name of Constantine.
The dark themes, and unflinchingly bleak look at a magician from Liverpool (Yay!) are hynotically well-written, with characters that leap of the page. I even like the 2005 Keanu Reeves film, also titled Constantine, which wasn’t much of an adaptation at all.
But this, this I have been looking forward to since it was announced. It promises to stick closer to the source material than did the film, and from the look of Matt Ryan in costume as the eponymous main character, it is off to a good start. The question, though, is how much of the comic they can get away with bringing to the screen.