When it was announced more than a year ago that Hellblazer would be turned into a TV show, fans of the comic got excited. Finally we had hope that the Keanu snooze-fest would be erased from our memories and the true glory of John Constantine would be put onscreen.
Matt Ryan (Criminal Minds) was cast as the eponymous hero, and he not only looked the part but came from just outside Liverpool in Wales, it was pretty much perfect casting. The news wasn't good from the pilot however, recasting of the female lead before the series is not usually a good sign, changing character all together? Even worse!
The fact that Ryan is also a doppelganger of my best friend, (both from the same area) only helped (my buddy is now known as Constantine forevermore) with my excitement for the show and willingness to give it a go.
The show debuted and while it didn't quite get going till about 3 episodes in, it quickly found its niche and fan-base. There were some VERY good episodes and it was all shaping up nicely.
Then the rug got pulled...and it wasn't getting the predicted full season, just 13 episodes. Quality suffered in the final weeks of the show, as the uncertainty seemed to affect the writing and finally we got the announcement the show was no more, sucked into the same abyss as Astra was in Newcastle.
Like with Hannibal, there was hope that the show could be picked up by another network.
It's now been announced that the character at least, is back from the dead for one last appearance as Ryan is scheduled to appear in Arrow's season 4 as John Constantine at least one last time.
This is excellent news, not just for fans of the show or the comic but for fans of the CW-Verse as a whole, because it shows that they are serious about joining the whole thing up and not precious about the character being used elsewhere first.
Could this lead to a new series? It's nowhere near a certainty, but it's definitely now possible on CW. They could even follow the comic's path and re-brand as HellBlazer for a new show, linked to their DC-verse, or Constantine could easily become a semi-regular guest.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect is that this is almost a vindication that Matt Ryan was never the problem with the show to begin with.
While Warner Bros are not crossing the TV and Movie-verses, if this episode does well, it may be enough to convince them that Ryan could play the role on the big screen instead for a Justice League Dark movie or Suicide Squad sequel in a few years.
For me (and many others) Ryan IS the very character I envisaged reading those comics and if you didn't watch the original show, I recommend it - just go in accepting it was uneven because of the production uncertainty rather than anyone on the show being anything other than excellent (except Harold Perrinau perhaps) in their roles.
The middle 3rd in particular was among the most interesting network TV produced in the last few years and while I haven't been convinced to watch Arrow religiously yet, this move interests me enough to MAYBE rethink!