By now you would have likely heard that NBC are in the early stages of developing a TV series based on DC’s Hellblazer comic books. Creating the ultimate anti-hero in the shape of the morally flexible John Constantine, Alan Moore’s (Watchmen) chain-smoking-demon-killing character first appeared in an issue of Swamp Thing in 1985.
Dark Knight and Man of Steel writer David S Goyer will produce the series alongside Daniel Cerone (The Mentalist), Goyer is said to be working on the pilot script once he’s completed his draft on Batman vs Superman (I’m still not loving that title).
As exciting as the possibility of a TV series for Constantine is, what does make me a little concerned is just how awful the Goyer produced Blade series was. Although lacking Wesley Snipes the TV version had so much potential, sadly very little of that translated to the episodes and the show was cancelled after its first season. Thankfully his current TV series Da Vinci’s Demons is terrific fun so perhaps there is no cause for alarm.
To those of you who didn’t purge it from your memory, Keanu Reeves (the famously not blonde actor) played John Constantine in the 2005 movie version largely to negative fan reaction. To be honest it was nowhere near as bad as some critics made out but to call it good would be a gross overstatement.
Despite those damming reviews Constantine made a solid $230 million worldwide, more than double it’s production budget so it’s a surprise that no sequel was put into production. The character might be seen on the big screen again in Guillermo del Toro’s Justice League Dark movie, currently working under title Dark Universe with Constantine, Swamp Thing, Zatanna, Madame Xanadu and Deadman confirmed as some of the potential members of the team. Presently Warner Brothers have yet to officially green-light the movie.
As long as the new series doesn’t compromise as much as the movie did, then a Constantine TV series could work but it would have to be a stark contrast to the existing DC based television shows such as Smallville, Arrow and the forthcoming new take on The Flash. Unlike these shows which air on CW the Constantine series is being developed by NBC, given the adult content of the comic books diluting the character down to suit a teen audience would likely cause even more backlash than the movie did so it’s intriguing to ponder what Goyer is cooking up.
Although NBC are a fine network and produce some great shows, I can’t help but wonder what HBO, FX or Showtime could do with a comic book property like this. In many ways perhaps the more grown up comic book creations are naturally suited to the small screen as they have a tough time finding a wide audience. If the campaign to get a Dredd sequel fails then maybe a TV series could be explored, in-fact the more I think about it the more that makes sense.
We’ll bring you more news on the Constantine TV series as it develops, before the casting rumours start doing the rounds I’m just going to say that Benedict Cumberbatch would make an awesome John Constantine and he’s gone blonde for his role in the Fifth Estate. Admittedly there’s zero chance of Cumberbatch being cast but I just thought I’d throw that out there.