No, not the god awful Keanu Reeves version.
Unlike the terrible film adaptation from 2005, the television series of the same name stayed extremely faithful to the original ‘Hellblazer’ comics. It follows a British magician, not unlike Marvel’s Doctor Strange, who crosses the boundaries of Heaven, Earth, Hell and everything in between. John Constantine is a troubled, chain smoking anti-hero who isn’t afraid to deal with terrifying supernatural forces from beyond the grave in order to defend the realm. John is portrayed by British actor Matt Ryan, who is quite honestly the perfect casting since Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury. He nails Constantines’ sarcastic, devil may care attitude down to the bone.
The series arching storyline focuses on a ‘Rising Darkness’ that is sending demons and spirits of all kinds into the ‘Human plane’, whilst John and his two companions attempt to hold them at bay. To say that the show was based on NBC, it was surprisingly tense and scary in places. The special effects weren’t particularly amazing, but as this was the show’s first season it could be forgiven on that one. The series as a whole did a good job of connecting the characters to the rest of the DC universe without explicitly mentioning other elements and heroes. If you’re already a Hellblazer/JLA Dark/Constantine fan, keep an eye out for numerous Easter Eggs like ‘The Spectre’ and Doctor Fate’s Helmet.
Unfortunately for the show’s fans, NBC cancelled it after one season which is hugely disappointing. The show was getting fairly average ratings, and it’s reviews were mostly positive. The character development of the three leads was fairly extensive, and their back stories were all fleshed out quite well. It’s a shame that the series itself won’t be carrying on as it was… However. There’s clearly been some behind-the-scenes negotiating, as the character of John Constantine will appear on The CW’s crossover series ‘Arrow’, and will be played once again by Matt Ryan. So far, he’s only confirmed for one episode, but it’s very likely he’ll go onto ‘The Flash’ also, due to the already established shared television universe. We’ll cover that topic more extensively in a later post, but for now – go watch Constantine.
With thirteen episodes of a demon hunting, chain smoking anti-hero with the cynicism only a Brit could have… this hidden gem joins the Joss Whedon Graveyard of potentially great shows cancelled before their time.