Constantine is an American television series developed by Daniel Cerone and David S. Goyer for NBC, based on characters appearing in the comic series Hellblazer published by DC Comics under their Vertigo imprint.
Matt Ryan stars as John Constantine. The series premiered on October 24, 2014. The first season consists of 13 episodes, and concluded on February 13, 2015.
The premise of the show is that John Constantine, a demon hunter and dabbling master of the occult, must struggle with his past sins while protecting the innocent from the converging supernatural threats that constantly break through to our world due to the "Rising Darkness". Balancing his actions upon the line of good and evil, Constantine uses his skills and a supernatural scry map to journey the nation to send these terrors back to their own world, all for the hope of redeeming his soul from eternal torment.
While the show focuses on setting up an over-arching ongoing storyline about the "Rising Darkness", each episode sets up its own mini-story about specific demons, monsters, and angels that John must work to defeat. Over time, and with the help of an angel named Manny, John learns of the Rising Darkness as well.
Constantine isn't much of a hero. He wants to do good, but his methods are very unorthodox, and he is plagued by numerous past sins. He fights possessions, ancient curses, evil spirits, and all types of boogymen.
The show is written okay and the stories are interesting and full of spooky tales you want to hear. The special effects that the show pulls off are great, but you can tell they are working on a limited budget. Constantine saves its best visual effects, (angels flying, CGI demons, etc.) for big final shots in the show. It does a fair job of balancing the effects, so the show isn't like "Ooh look at all the effects we can do", and rather just making it an essential part of the story. This is pretty rare for low budget shows...so hats off on that part!
Where the show lacks is in the acting performances and overall story arc. We keep hearing of this Rising Darkness and this powerful war in Heaven and Hell that John is trying to stop here on Earth before it is too late, but we see so very little of it.
Each episode begins its own unique story, a small mystery for John to solve. Mysteries murders/abductions/possessions, and so on. John solves each of them and they all help him to learn more of the Rising Darkness. The show, I think, focuses too much on the smaller individual stories given in each episode. With the really cool over-arcing storyline taking a backseat to these lesser stories, we as an audience tend to lose interest pretty quickly.
Matt Ryan plays John Constantine. Matt Ryan looks exactly like the comic book iteration of John Constantine. Right down to the trench coat and white button down. His performance is good, but as an actor he is held back by lines that make Constantine seem full of himself a bit. When the show opens up, we as an audience are unfamiliar with everything it has to offer. In steps John Constantine. He gives us all the answers. We are here watching the show and playing catch-up with the main title character, who seems to be nearly all knowing. The spells and magic he uses also comes off as cheesy and fake, simply because we have absolutely zero credibility or knowledge behind it. This disconnects us with the main guy we NEED to connect with for this show to work!
John does all this with the help of Zed, a young attractive psychic who gets visions when she makes physical contact with people or their possessions, and Chas, a seemingly immortal man who we later find out absorbed the souls of about 30 people, granting him the ability to die once for each soul. Once he runs out of the souls, his mortality will truly be up. Played by Charles Halford, Chas as a character comes off as pretty natural. However the character of Zed, played by Angélica Celaya, suffers a bit due to poor acting. The accent the show gives her is too strong. It sounds like the show said "We want your accent to be stronger, but still like you're trying really hard to sound American." In the end it just comes across as fake, and her performance suffers from it.
Manny is an angel who seems to be the fan favorite of the show. His sporadic performances are always light and fun, but get more serious as the show progresses. He seems to be Johns only connection to the "Rising Darkness". Without Manny, John would likely have no clue what was going on in the show. Manny warns Constantine about various threats facing Heaven, Hell, and all between, including the Brujeria. The Brujeria are a mysterious and ancient group whose ambitions are unknown. Its made clear however that whatever they have planned, its pure evil.
Manny reveals in the final moments of the first season that not only is he a part of this evil group, but he leads it. This seemed like a desperate move to save the show, which was clearly suffering. Manny came off as purely good and a fan favorite for the entire show. There were absolutely no hints at the idea of him being a villain. He even fought for good with all his power throughout the show, proving his loyalty to Heaven and his friendship to John time and time again. Now suddenly he's revealed that he's evil. It just doesn't add up.
All in all, the show is decent. It gives us a look into the life of DC Comics's John Constantine. Its full of spooky moments, dramatic stories, and even a few easter eggs here and there. Is it perfect? No definitely not. Is it worth watching? If you're a DC Comics fan, yes! If you like shows about angels, demons, and other scary stories, yes! Otherwise, it may be a hit or miss. I for one simply appreciate the fact that I live in a day and age where a lower level character like John Constantine can get his own show. So if thats enough for you too, give Constantine a go!