ByBJ Hall, writer at Creators.co
I write Comedy, Do Stand-up, Travel Through Time, and enjoy the FUCK out of a good movie! Twitter: @InitiallyDirty FB: https://www.facebook.
BJ Hall

As I sat back on my couch waiting in anticipation to finally see another attempt at bringing one of my favorite comic book icons to life in a visual medium outside of the rough pages of one of the many Hellblazer graphic novels I own... I will have to say I was a little sad. I kept thinking back to the time in 2005 when I rushed into a movie theater to see Hollywood's first dip into the smoky corridor of this delightfully dark anti-hero's world. Fresh off the slow breaking wave of Matrix love that had finally receded back into the ocean of cinematic action and unexpected take on reality itself, there was no damn reason I would have thought Keanu Reeves would do anything but kick spiritual ass as the mysterious magician that is John Constantine. I mean yeah I had to forgive the film makers a bit for not casting an actual English actor as the quick witted occultist, but I had faith that even though he would be American at least Keanu wasn't going to try and portray him with the incredibly bad British accent we have all laid witness too in {shivers a bit} Bram Stokers: Dracula.

"Whoa!"...{cough cough} "uh umm, I mean.. Owe Me Gosh, Sir...What be that in me window?!"
"Whoa!"...{cough cough} "uh umm, I mean.. Owe Me Gosh, Sir...What be that in me window?!"

So I sat in the theater reeling to have the character laid out before me in an imperfect way hoping that at least this attempt would hold true to his attitude. Especially when I heard they were going to use the "Bad Habits" story-line to influence the plot greatly. What I got though was Hollywood's perverted version of a grown-up Ghostbuster, a futile female protagonist, and instead of a quick witted anti-hero my melting eyeballs received a glorified anti-smoking ad. My heart and head dropped. A questioning look on my face as I watched Keanu's Constantine lay down his lighter on his fallen lackey's grave and walk away. I wanted to puke, because to me it was like being a history buff and then going to see the movie "Lincoln" and watching as Daniel Day Lewis doesn't wear a hat and speaks with a lisp as he talks about the benefits of slavery. It just didn't fit... specifically when John Constantine (who is a magician, and not a god damn demon hunter of a Ghostbuster) pulls this shit out.....

I honestly don't want to look at it anymore....
I honestly don't want to look at it anymore....

So as I set there to finally have a glimpse at the first episode of the new TV series and seeing the Ravenscar gate come into view I hoped that it would be every bit of what I hoped to see. So I sparked the finely rolled bone I had laying in wait and let NBC take me into a world I already knew to see things I hoped would not only be familiar, but would ring true to my memory of this silver tongued characters legacy... and boy was I in for a surprise!

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Not sure why "Flame Hands" are NBC's go-to .... but who am I to judge a corporate juggernaut?
Not sure why "Flame Hands" are NBC's go-to .... but who am I to judge a corporate juggernaut?

Who would have thought a TV show could bring out the best in this comic? I sure didn't, and I will admit that fact because I am the kind of guy who will admit when he is wrong (sometimes*). Inside my head I envisioned an almost "comical" attempt (forgive the pun) full of product placement and a few witty lines drowned in an almost overwhelming since of "are we even supposed to be here today?" sort of film making and acting. On the other hand there was a small voice of faith laying awake and chain smoking in the back of my mind telling my reservations to 'stop talking shit about something that they haven't seen'. So after breaking up that fight (with the use of a flame activated fog machine of paper and medical aids) and watching the first episode of this Darkhorse comic come to life, the credits rolled and I my friends... well all I wanted to do was watch the next episode. Interested in where they would go with the character I already knew so much about.

A lot of people in the Hellblazer fan community were upset - and probably still are - about the witty magician's smoking habit not being apart of the show. I will include myself in that margin of people. Constantine is a iconic character, so iconic that smoking is apart of the character as much as his left arm. At least thats what I would have argued, and according to the production they wanted it just as much. NBC on the other hand seemed to have a different idea. They argued high up on their pedestal that "Smoking was bad Mmmmkay, and we can't have an icon smoking!" and instead of telling them to Fuck off (as Constantine might have) they decided to work around it. This is something you can clearly tell as well, because even though he is not smoking he spends a lot of screen time flicking a zippo lighter, opening and closing it as if to signify the own characters disdain. Like a silent protest from either the writers, or the producers, or directors he flicks it open and closed almost if to say "I want a fucking cigarette..." and it makes me smile. Because it might have been those folks who are protesting it, but (for me the fan) its as if there is a small amount of the true characters personality trying to reach out into the medium of Television from the world of comics and show us his true form. Not to say that Matt Ryan's performance of the classic occultist is lacking though, because in this writers opinion he is doing a damn fine job inhabiting the shady character's skin.

Even if he isn't doing a cockney accent....
Even if he isn't doing a cockney accent....

The episode's beginning plot had me worried a little. Just like the movie it seemed it was going to follow down the path of "Female novice gets a ride along with a Master magician" and I wasn't to damn stoked about it. Plus, when I saw the characters sort of going through the same exact motions of the plot from the movie, along with the cleanliness of the clothing being worn by everyone, I sort of got depressed. I wanted to like Ryan as the sliver tongued occultist sleuth and damn it, all this bullshit was getting in my way. Then it happened - Manny showed up. An Angel, a very powerful one considering he stops time for an instant later, and John promptly tells him to "Fuck Off".... Let me bring that home a bit for you: A character on Network TV told an Angel who appeared before him to "Fuck Off." .... let that sink in for a bit. It was then and there this show had me wanting more, because if they were going to do things like that in the first episode then I (your writer) might need to tighten his seat-belt buckle a bit and not get out just yet. Also seeing Harold Perrineau playing Manny "the Angel who can Fuck Off" is great because he has been nothing but appealing in everything else I have ever seen him in from Movies to HBO. Which really gives me even more confidence in this shows future.

Then the tone moved from clean and cozey to a tiny bit creepy. As creepy as some of the comics? Well not quite, because it is hard to pull that sort of creepy out into the real world. Damn it though, once the first possessed body wakes up in the back of that coroners van, showing dead eyes and an open screeching mouth I was dug in deep. Then later once a van crashes through the ladies place of work and becomes mangled on the hood, still trying to move around its broken limbs to no avail I will have to say... it was damn fine. David Goyer is writing this and it shows through when the darkness sort of creeps through. Like the scene where Liv goes home, touches the medallion and she looks past her Mom to see her grandmothers ghost brushing her mom's hair. Then she notices her and BAM! Creepiness personified

Grandmother what big gaping holes of blackness you have
Grandmother what big gaping holes of blackness you have

The show really hooked me folks and I am sure it will hook you as well. Even if you have never read the comic or know of the Hellblazer himself this show will allow you to sit back and be both intrigued and creeped-out. I am interested in seeing just how creepy they make it when they go to hell, or if they can even bring a Hieronymus Bosch type of hell to a TV screen at all.

Screams of agony do not even begin to describe this
Screams of agony do not even begin to describe this

You will see Matt's embodiment of the silver tongued devil really hold the show together, and you might even get to learn more about his driver Chaz (who is also an iconic staple of the comic) be re-imagined as some sort of mysterious partner who can't be killed (I don't want to say can't, but for now lets just say very hard to kill), which is really neat. I for one hope that this show takes off and heralds the new future of TV where they start putting money into great ideas as FX did with "The Strain". I am really pumped to see the next episode which will involve Mary "Zed" Martian who in the comic is an old lover of John's, but where Goyer will take it I have no idea... but I can't wait to see it!

Poll

So what did you think about the Pilot episode?

Let me know what you think in the comments below!!

THANKS FOR READING!!!

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**Read More of BJ's Articles:

Frighteningly Funny: 6 Horror Movies That Will Keep You Laughing This Halloween

3 Reasons Why BATMAN FOREVER Might Just Be the Best BATMAN Movie of ALL TIME!

Movie Mind Melt: 4 Acid Trips on Film

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