Constantine 1×01 ‘Non Est Asylum’: Petty dabbler in the dark arts | Gotta Watch It!

Constantine 1×01 ‘Non Est Asylum’: Petty dabbler in the dark arts

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Quick disclaimer before we start, I did not read the Hellblazer comics. In other words, my reviews of Constantine the TV series will be purely that. I won’t have anything to compare it to (although I did watch the 2005 film) and whether or not the series stays true to the comics will be beyond me. However, reviews of Constantine as a television series? That I can do.

Source: NBC

Source: NBC

One word comes to mind when John Constantine comes on screen – baggage. This guy’s got history. We can see it etched in the lines of his face. We can see it in his weary swagger. We hear it in his dry self-deprecating witticisms. But what is his history? Well frankly, I’ve no idea.

That’s probably my constant state of mind while watching this show. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it. In fact, I enjoyed it very much. It’s quite a feat that though the plot traveled so fast, so many characters were introduced, and so much mythology was incorporated, the storyline was still meandering. They tried to do too much too fast. A little of John Constantine’s character was established. I know that there are like maybe three regular characters? I also know that they’re in Atlanta, Georgia. What I’ve been left with is very brief first impressions. Most of the pilot revolved around Liv Aberdine, who ostensibly seems like a main character, only it is revealed that she’s leaving for good. Turns out, after filming the pilot, the writers decided to go another way entirely. When writers can’t make up their minds, it shows.

Source: NBC

Source: NBC

Liv’s characterization is a mystery. At times she seems to endure this whole life-changing news with great fortitude, at other times she seems so flighty. I guess the flighty part won out. Chas, Constantine’s companion, dies within the first five minutes of our meeting him and no one seems to care. Which makes sense because he came back to cook dinner for the gang within the next 10 minutes – a phenomenon that nobody seemed bothered to explain. Oh and there’s an angel called Manny, which is basically the worst name ever, who has a whole Lenny Kravitz + Supernatural‘s Azazel vibe.

Source: NBC

Source: NBC

The pilot was an instance where the parts were actually greater than the whole. They had some decent scares. Effects were pretty good, who doesn’t like burning/exploding things? It was even funny at times, if only they’d stop trying to turn every single line Constantine says into a one-liner. People do talk normally you know.

All in all, Constantine is off to a shaky start, but it’s got great potential. I wouldn’t write it off yet.

 

Yeung Wing

is an aspiring TV critic, writer and editor. You can see her past work on her Tumblr!
She lives her life through escapism.

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