Constantine Fails To Light That Cigarette

If you watch carefully he actually lets out a couple of puffs of smoke as he's watching the funeral go by..

Well, I've been wondering to some extent if this might eventually wind up folding over into the other DC shows (Flash, Arrow) at some point much like how Constantine exists in the DC universe... something they sort of showed off when we saw Doctor Fate's helmet in storage.

That said, had I been designing this show I probably would have went for a more ensemble cast. It's been a while but I seem to remember Constantine crosses over with "Books Of Magic" and that protagonist, and Zatanna, who it's been stated he has a tantic-magical thing going on with.

Constantine tends to work best when he's a loner, as opposed to someone with a partner, and having a flat out love interest this way (though he has some) who is constantly going to be around in a TV show formula doesn't suit the concept. Though I suppose the networks need the romance or sexual tension to appeal to some viewers. If I was doing this I'd probably have him do his stuff alone, but have a few other characters that seem to show up with frequency. When they want to do a mentor/student thing and have Constantine show that he actually has wisdom, they can bring in our friend from Books Of Magic, if they need a romantic connection they can have Zatanna pop in and out, implying that there might potentially be something there, but both of them keep it purely physical allegedly entirely for 'reasons of strengthening their respective magic' or whatever. That also gives Constantine potential backup for bigger stories when things get serious or he needs a rescue, as both of those characters wield more direct and flashy power than Constantine does, while neither seem to currently (or as far as I've seen) been portrayed as being A-list power houses. Zatanna has had that potential as a concept, but in actual practice she tends to be fairly mediocre, and has always worked best as a supporting role as she's usually used to help/advise other heroes when it comes to magical threats.

Of course at the same time given that Constantine can be difficult to work with and takes a skilled writer, if I was pitching a DC show involving magic, I probably would have pitched something more similar to a "Shadowpact" concept. Detective Chimp probably would have been too silly (and FX intensive) for what people to accept on TV even if they got "Planet Of The Apes" level FX, but even if they didn't keep the exact roster it would open the door to bringing in characters like Black Alice who can vary greatly in power and work well for TV.

I've also had a lot of "Supernatural" thoughts here as well, especially seeing as I've always felt "Supernatural" borrowed heavily from Hellblazer to begin with. Heck I even vaguely remember saying that the creators based Castiel's look on Hellblazer.

Constantine Fails To Light That Cigarette

Constantine's "The Darkness Beneath" could have been an engaging monster-of-the-week, but it doesn't quite catch on.

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I think the serial TV comics are currently going through the same stage that comic movies used to, and are experiencing the same problems. Namely, the first season is used as an introduction, so the process of world-building takes front and center over interesting storytelling. It's an awkward adolescent phase that comic movies eventually got over once the MCU finally gained its footing. It may take a similar TV unified world, with multiple series occupying the same universe, (which DC is trying hard to pull off) in order to move past the first season growing phase these shows are saddled with.

I for one find it perfectly entertaining, I enjoyed the pilot and I quite enjoyed this as well. It's not an Earth-shattering show by any stretch of the imagination, but it's the first season. It takes most shows a bit of time to really hit their stride, and these reviews have been consistently unwilling to afford Constantine any of that requisite time. I, on the other hand, am more than happy to wait it out and see how things pick up. People are so damn fickle these days that when anything is short of absolutely amazing, they don't know how to approach it with anything less than scorn.

It's better than about 3/4 of the crap on television right now, compelling enough to actually convince me to watch TV again. That's coming from someone who just canceled cable in favor of Netflix.

Makabriel:
If you watch carefully he actually lets out a couple of puffs of smoke as he's watching the funeral go by..

Yes, thank you! I was going to point this out, you even see the cig in his mouth for a moment before he puts it out. Which really puzzles me considering they said they weren't going to show him smoking. It seems they might simply mean "we won't literally show him inhaling the cig and drawing in smoke and exhaling on camera". Which is apparently not the same thing as "He doesn't smoke".

It's an odd distinction to make, I personally am not tied to the fact that he smokes, and think they could do his "terminal illness" storyline in a ton of other ways that have nothing to do with smoking. As I've mentioned before, maybe he's been drinking so much, he's got some other kind of terminal illness related to alcohol, or even just random cancer. It could easily work for story purposes without having to be tied to smoking.

Attison Graves:
I for one find it perfectly entertaining, I enjoyed the pilot and I quite enjoyed this as well. It's not an Earth-shattering show by any stretch of the imagination, but it's the first season. It takes most shows a bit of time to really hit their stride, and these reviews have been consistently unwilling to afford Constantine any of that requisite time. I, on the other hand, am more than happy to wait it out and see how things pick up. People are so damn fickle these days that when anything is short of absolutely amazing, they don't know how to approach it with anything less than scorn.

It's better than about 3/4 of the crap on television right now, compelling enough to actually convince me to watch TV again. That's coming from someone who just canceled cable in favor of Netflix.

My one big gripe with the episode is they used the typical trope of the Hollywood Atheist. This trope annoys me so much on a personal level that it really took away some of the enjoyment for the episode for me.

Happyninja42:

My one big gripe with the episode is they used the typical trope of the Hollywood Atheist. This trope annoys me so much on a personal level that it really took away some of the enjoyment for the episode for me.

I feel that personally, given the scenario in which there are literal spirits, demons, and magics present, the ease with which faith can be shaken and restored is forgivable. I think, especially in stories which deal with literal existences of holy/unholy forces, a little leeway has to be afforded, lest the whole thing become unbelievable.

In a world where the allegedly divine exists, how much is it reasonable to require before one's faith is restored? How unreasonable is it to presume that the divine is broadly accepted? Especially, in this case, because the primary character in question is (I'm assuming) the priest. In the case of Constantine himself, he's never particularly impressed (or has his faith truly restored) despite encounters with the literal agents of "heaven". I feel as if the priest serves to contrast that cynicism. He's a mirror reflecting the main character's darkness, his 'redemption' implying that there's hope even for those who don't believe it.

Or, it could just be that it's an easy bit of character to design and it serves to create a little 'doubt' as to who the real 'villain' of the episode is.

Personally, when it comes to religion in the end-times, my Fallout 3 character still comes to mind. Oscar "The Reverend" Bishop believes in spreading the word of his god with a sawed-off shotgun in one hand and a copy of the good book in the other. Of course, he doesn't believe a word of it anymore, but it did once stop a bullet from piercing his heart so he figures spreading a little hope is better than telling everyone they're going to end up food for mutants.

Attison Graves:

Happyninja42:

My one big gripe with the episode is they used the typical trope of the Hollywood Atheist. This trope annoys me so much on a personal level that it really took away some of the enjoyment for the episode for me.

I feel that personally, given the scenario in which there are literal spirits, demons, and magics present, the ease with which faith can be shaken and restored is forgivable. I think, especially in stories which deal with literal existences of holy/unholy forces, a little leeway has to be afforded, lest the whole thing become unbelievable.

In a world where the allegedly divine exists, how much is it reasonable to require before one's faith is restored? How unreasonable is it to presume that the divine is broadly accepted? Especially, in this case, because the primary character in question is (I'm assuming) the priest. In the case of Constantine himself, he's never particularly impressed (or has his faith truly restored) despite encounters with the literal agents of "heaven". I feel as if the priest serves to contrast that cynicism. He's a mirror reflecting the main character's darkness, his 'redemption' implying that there's hope even for those who don't believe it.

Or, it could just be that it's an easy bit of character to design and it serves to create a little 'doubt' as to who the real 'villain' of the episode is.

Personally, when it comes to religion in the end-times, my Fallout 3 character still comes to mind. Oscar "The Reverend" Bishop believes in spreading the word of his god with a sawed-off shotgun in one hand and a copy of the good book in the other. Of course, he doesn't believe a word of it anymore, but it did once stop a bullet from piercing his heart so he figures spreading a little hope is better than telling everyone they're going to end up food for mutants.

I agree with your points about being in a world with literal divine/demonic figures changes things, my gripe though is from a personal and political/cultural standpoint. It's always the Hollywood Atheist. That is the only atheist you ever see in tv/movies. And it's simply wrong. Sure you might have characters like Cosntantine, who believe, but they don't give a shit for one reason or another. But whenever it's a "there is no god" character, it's always the priest guy. He lost someone he loved, so now he drinks, and he's miserable about everything, and nothing matters anymore, and blah blah blah. And then, he puts his collar back on, puts down the bottle, and finds purpose again, thanks to Buddy Jesus and Papa God! And I'm frankly sick of it.

Yes, it might be unreasonable of me to expect a tv show to have an accurate portrayal of what we atheist's are actually like, and why, but fuck I'm tired of the same stereotype over and over. Because it colors the mindset of those who watch it, where it's what they honestly think causes people to be an atheist. That the only reason is "they must've had some tragedy in their past, and now they're just angry at Gawhd" I've seriously heard this said to me on multiple occasions, and even heard morning radio hosts say as much in their echo chambers.

It's the most inaccurate portrayal of atheism, but also the most prevalent.

So yeah, it annoys me, a lot. And yes, I know it's just a show, but fuck I'm tired of that trope, and I want it to stop. Thus, it annoyed me in the episode.

I want to like this show. And so far I am enjoying it enough to come back. I don't want a Supernatural clone.

Constantine is an enjoyable bastard. And I enjoyed the scene in this one where he performed the water ritual to see the miner spirit. It was a very tribal verbal component of the spell (not Latin for once). It showcased for me that he is a many of a diverse research background. Knowledge is his best weapon.

I groaned at the following:
1. Boulders left elevated in a front loader bucket immediately over some liquid drums.
2. Sneaking around a front loader unnoticed and dumping the boulders. You can lower the bucket without starting the engine, so that was okay.
3. Guard paying more attention to the rocks on the drums than who may have dumped them as Constantine ducks quietly across an unobstructed entryway into the mine.
4. Getting your hands on unsecured explosives in a mine and then using them to blow up said mine completely without anybody noticing or trying to stop you.
5. How did Constantine get out of the mine undetected? Was there a mine cart with some rocks he could spill?
6. The wife coming on to Constantine at the wake.
7. A car is filling up with muddy water to kill the passengers. Why try to pry the door open with a crowbar instead of just smashing a window. Agreed, the driver died below the window elevation, but windows would be your first instinct.
8. Constantine and Zed seemed way too familiar immediately. And he accepted her as a helper way too easily. Can he see the visions himself? Why get Zed involved at all?
9. Zed used a vision to find a cold waterfall to find where the priest is camped? Why not just ask somebody where he lives?

So the writing/direction came off as a little unlikely/sophomoric for this episode. I'm still going to watch this series. I wouldn't mind a Zatanna reference or two. My first thought when I heard her name was that "zed" was meant as the letter. Zatanna is sometimes referred to as "Z" (for short) in the DC universe. But if Zed Martin is a DC character, then it looks like she is not a Zatanna in progress.

Also, I think you meant "anti-climactic" instead of "anti-climatic". Of course, one attempted kill was rising floodwaters. So maybe you were going for the pun. Still, it's a stretch.

Happyninja42:

I agree with your points about being in a world with literal divine/demonic figures changes things, my gripe though is from a personal and political/cultural standpoint. It's always the Hollywood Atheist. That is the only atheist you ever see in tv/movies. And it's simply wrong. Sure you might have characters like Cosntantine, who believe, but they don't give a shit for one reason or another. But whenever it's a "there is no god" character, it's always the priest guy. He lost someone he loved, so now he drinks, and he's miserable about everything, and nothing matters anymore, and blah blah blah. And then, he puts his collar back on, puts down the bottle, and finds purpose again, thanks to Buddy Jesus and Papa God! And I'm frankly sick of it.

Yes, it might be unreasonable of me to expect a tv show to have an accurate portrayal of what we atheist's are actually like, and why, but fuck I'm tired of the same stereotype over and over. Because it colors the mindset of those who watch it, where it's what they honestly think causes people to be an atheist. That the only reason is "they must've had some tragedy in their past, and now they're just angry at Gawhd" I've seriously heard this said to me on multiple occasions, and even heard morning radio hosts say as much in their echo chambers.

It's the most inaccurate portrayal of atheism, but also the most prevalent.

So yeah, it annoys me, a lot. And yes, I know it's just a show, but fuck I'm tired of that trope, and I want it to stop. Thus, it annoyed me in the episode.

I get your point. I'm not saying it's wrong or anything. It's just so much written by rote at this point that I can't find it in me to begrudge yet another depiction of it. Wrong or not, it's familiar enough that audiences will understand it and in the end it's going to be whether audiences can understand and comprehend the messages of the show which keeps it afloat or not. It's a double-edged sword, though, as obviously it will alienate folks like you who react with strong negativity to such glaring inaccuracy. It's a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation.

Except, of course, when you have really awesome writers who can subvert and twist all kinds of interesting narrative devices into a story without making it too deep and complicated for the audience to understand. But that kind of writing is rare, and losing decent shows because decent writers attempted to reach too far beyond their limited competence and ended up making things so dense that the viewers bounced off sucks much more than a show wallowing in mediocrity here and there to me.

I wonder why they replaced clairvoyant chick with different clairvoyant chick.

Rawbeard:
I wonder why they replaced clairvoyant chick with different clairvoyant chick.

From what I heard, the actress they had in the pilot was unavailable/unwilling to return. Also I heard that the test audiences didn't really like their chemistry maybe? *shrugs*

This isn't all that uncommon really for pilots. They are usually done long before the show is officially picked up, which means a lot of real life things can happen between then to change the cast lineup. This was one of those situations, so they wrote in that "here's a map of all the badness going on, now I'm going home" thingy at the end, and introduced the painter woman. Strictly because of actor/actress availability issues.

Attison Graves:

Happyninja42:

snip

I get your point. I'm not saying it's wrong or anything. It's just so much written by rote at this point that I can't find it in me to begrudge yet another depiction of it. Wrong or not, it's familiar enough that audiences will understand it and in the end it's going to be whether audiences can understand and comprehend the messages of the show which keeps it afloat or not. It's a double-edged sword, though, as obviously it will alienate folks like you who react with strong negativity to such glaring inaccuracy. It's a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation.

Except, of course, when you have really awesome writers who can subvert and twist all kinds of interesting narrative devices into a story without making it too deep and complicated for the audience to understand. But that kind of writing is rare, and losing decent shows because decent writers attempted to reach too far beyond their limited competence and ended up making things so dense that the viewers bounced off sucks much more than a show wallowing in mediocrity here and there to me.

Oh I know, I liked the episode overall, I was just pointing out one of the aspects of it I didn't like and why. I hope the show does well, and continues to improve and gain fans, but if they play that atheist card, I'm going to froth at the mouth a bit about it. xD And this is a thread to discuss the episode, so I've contained my rage to an appropriate setting.

not bad but not great either. I really hope its just a slow start for the show.

I really don't think this reviewer is giving this show a fair shake. Especially when I see the more optimistic attitude the Escapist is giving to shows like Gotham and Arrow, which to me come off as absolute garbage, but have more familiar subject-matter. Though there are a few problems with this Constantine show, what is clear to me is that the directing, acting, writing (at least the dialogue bits), and overall production is very good, even for the pilot and 2nd episode. The other two shows I mentioned are way too over-the-top with dreadful writing, cringe-worthy directing and performances, and strikes me as phoned-in. At least this Constantine show seems to be trying.

FiatCelebrity:
I really don't think this reviewer is giving this show a fair shake. Especially when I see the more optimistic attitude the Escapist is giving to shows like Gotham and Arrow, which to me come off as absolute garbage, but have more familiar subject-matter. Though there are a few problems with this Constantine show, what is clear to me is that the directing, acting, writing (at least the dialogue bits), and overall production is very good, even for the pilot and 2nd episode. The other two shows I mentioned are way too over-the-top with dreadful writing, cringe-worthy directing and performances, and strikes me as phoned-in. At least this Constantine show seems to be trying.

Yes, it is trying, but it's stumbling a bit along the way. I like the show, and I plan to keep watching it, but it's got some flaws, flaws that I hope will be ironed out eventually. The risk though, is that the show might not live long enough to find it's feet. So far the show hasn't really shown me anything super impressive or exciting. I didn't have any "Holy shit that was cool!" reactions like I have with other shows. And that's important for a show to pull off when it's first starting. Some shows can get by without those moments, if other aspects of the show are done well and enjoyable. But if every aspect of the show is just "ok", or "average", then it doesn't really make a name for itself.

I'm optimistic though, and feel that they are doing a slow burn kind of cooking for the show, and that it will pay off later. Hopefully the show can stay on the air long enough for that to happen.

 

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