With network upfronts set to woo advertisers next week, today has seen a constant stream of series pick-ups, put-downs, renewals and cancellations. NBC just announced one hell of a series order, as they’re moving forward with darkly comedic thriller Constantine, an adaptation of the popular DC comic series Hellblazer, created in part by Alan Moore, Steve Bissette and Jamie Delano. This makes the second DC comic to get a series today, what with The CW picking up Flash. But don’t go thinking John Constantine is a superhero…
As played by Matt Ryan (Criminal Minds), NBC’s version of John Constantine will almost certainly veer towards more PG-13 material, but he should come across as a witty, cynical, humanistic occult detective who travels the country hunting down demons and sending them back to Hell. With his soul already destined for a fire-filled eternity, he temporarily steps back from his otherworldly duties, only to fall right back into them once he has to stop demons from killing a woman named Liv (Lucy Griffiths), the daughter of an old friend. LIv has the ability to foresee supernatural events, and there’s a new form of evil out there that wants her gift destroyed. Also starring are Charles Halford (True Detective) and Harold Perrineau (Lost).
One change from the comics that I can guarantee is Constantine will no longer be a chain smoker, and I bet we can expect a joke in the pilot about him trying to quit.
Luckily, the pilot has some talent behind it, which will hopefully carry on throughout the season. Dexter and Dirty Sexy Money writer/producer Daniel Cerone wrote the script, which was directed by Neil Marshall, whose werewolf thriller Dog Soldiers and spelunking horror The Descent were two of the best genre films of the last decade. On board as executive producer is David S. Goyer (Man of Steel).
NBC doesn’t always fare well with darker material, but the success of Hannibal may have carved out a foothold for genre fans to latch onto. Regardless of how it turns out, I’m pretty sure it’s going to be more enjoyable than Francis Lawrence’s mildy decent 2005 film version, if only because NBC couldn’t possibly top the film's worst example of miscasting in recent history, as pictured below.
According to EW, NBC also picked up the series Mysteries of Laura, a detective drama starring Debra Messing, and the romantic sitcom A-to-Z.