TV Review – Constantine Season One

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By Matthew Soall

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Sadly, just as it was finding its groove, Constantine reached its season finale last week, so today I am going to be reviewing the first season top to bottom, highlighting the positives and begrudging the negatives.

Constantine centers on DC comics’ titular supernatural investigator and master of the dark arts (or as Constantine himself (played by Matt Ryan) in the pilot says, “I really should change that to petty dabbler. I hate to put on airs.”) When we pick up with Constantine, he is in a metal institution in a bid to be cured of his knowledge of the Supernatural, after an exorcism went wrong and cursed a small child to Hell.

Constantine is brought back into the darkness by an Angel named Manny, played with an exceptional gravitas by Harold Perrineau, to fight a powerful Rising Darkness.

To me, the best episodes of the series were where the creators used the comics as a backbone for the screenplays. The comics are a fantastic resource, and it goes without saying, why reinvent the wheel. These episodes, such as “ A Feast of Friends”, just felt more fleshed out to me, and helped to move the character development along.

Other episodes that were used to serve the supporting cast like Zed (played by Angelica Celaya) and Chas (played by Charles Harlof) were always a bit hit or miss. I am happy to say that there were more hits than misses. Where the series faltered most were the original episodes written by David Goyer, (who, in my humble opinion, is one of the worst writers in Hollywood, and before everyone yells at me concerning his work on the Dark Knight trilogy I would wager that is was Christopher Nolan’s rewrites that made those films work).

For Matt Ryan’s performance, I have nothing but praise. He completely envisions Constantine, his swagger and his constant distrust of others make this character interesting and highly likable. Ryan’s performance often hints at the true pain of the character after the events of the botched exorcism at Newcastle which has damned him to Hell and caused untold guilt and the destruction of every personal relationship involved in the incident.

Sadly, the season only ran for 13 episodes and has still not been renewed for a second season  – unlike its sister series Flash, Arrow and Gotham. This lead to a rather average season finale, which felt like a good episode of the series, but not an episode with the gravitas to run out the season. It did offer one big reveal, which I wont spoil for you here, that will have audience members coming back if NBC does renew it for a second season.

Constantine Season One, for the most part was well acted, with standout performances from lead actor Matt Ryan and serviceable portrayals from supporting cast members. With plenty of comic book easter eggs thrown into the mix, Constantine is an entertaining product for both comic book fan and casual tv viewer alike. 

For a more in-depth review you can listen to our podcast review here


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