Why Constantine Failed, According To The Producer

Despite DC's success on just about every network it put a show on, there was one venture that got axed fairly early on in its run. NBC’s Constantine was cancelled after only thirteen episodes, and although there were several reasons why Constantine was not a success – not the least of which was the poorly-rated Friday night death slot on which it aired – Constantine executive producer David Goyer has a broader opinion.

David Goyer had this to say in an interview with Variety about the cancellation of Constantine:

I loved Constantine. In retrospect, I don’t think it should have been on NBC. I think it was the wrong channel and I’m sure they probably agree with that as well.

Goyer certainly has a point. Constantine was unlike any other show on NBC, and the network just doesn’t have the same dominance on the airwaves as in years past to guarantee such an experimental series success in its lineup. There wasn’t much promotion for Constantine as a series, and few who didn’t already know something of the John Constantine of comic lore (or even the 2005 Constantine film) probably didn’t know what the show was actually about.

The show was in fact about demon hunter and occult master John Constantine, who travels across the country battling the supernatural and attempting to save his own soul in the process. With psychic Zed as a companion, angel Manny as a constant presence, and an endless supply of demons and supernatural beings to combat, Constantine had the plot potential to run for many seasons.

Constantine was never exactly a critical darling, but the storytelling and performance of star Matt Ryan as John Constantine were enough to garner a passionate fanbase for the show. That fanbase rose up after news of the cancellation hit and they campaigned rather rabidly for Constantine to find a home on a new platform. A cable network accustomed to lower ratings or a streaming service, a la Netflix and Amazon Prime, were the most likely candidates.

While Constantine did not find a new home outside of NBC, not all was entirely lost for fans of the show. Matt Ryan’s John Constantine will be appearing on The CW’s Arrow to assist Stephen Amell's Oliver Queen with the side effects of an ill-advised resurrection.

Matt Ryan is currently only set to appear in one episode of Arrow, but his guest stint promises to be much more than a cameo and may open the door for him to recur in the role of Constantine in the future. After all, the DC universe on The CW is pretty big. With Arrow in Season 4, The Flash in Season 2, Legends of Tomorrow to premiere in 2016, Constantine may have found a network more open to his brand of entertainment.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).