Heading into the fall TV season, one of the most buzzed about new shows was NBC’s Constantine, an adaptation of the classic Hellblazer comic books. While the network’s decision to largely ignore Constantine’s signature smoking habit was met with fan derision, many other aspects of the show drew praise, including the seemingly spot-on casting of Welsh actor Matt Ryan in the title role.
One element that it seemed folks could take or leave was Lucy Griffiths’ Liv, a character invented for TV that seemed designed to serve as a sort of audience surrogate. As it turned out, Constantine’s creators came to share this attitude, as they ultimately chose to write Liv out of the story after the pilot episode and replace her with new female lead Zed Martin (Angélica Celaya), a character that originated in the source material.
While the consensus among Constantine viewers seems to be that Zed is indeed a more worthwhile character than Liv, it’s hard to ignore the part Liv played in shaping the initial tone of the show and our first televised meeting with Matt Ryan’s sarcastic occult detective. For their part, Constantine executive producers David Goyer and Daniel Cerone recognize that fact, and have not fully closed the door on bringing Liv back into the mix.
Cerone offered the following comments during a recent conference call:
In terms of whether she’ll be back, she’s part of the foundation of the show. As we dig deeper into the season, as we start talking about possible arcs for next season, there’s an opening there. If there’s an organic reason to bring her back into the story, we’d love to.
Of course, Cerone might be engaging in wishful thinking there, as Constantine’s season 2 renewal is hardly a certainty. The pilot episode did fairly well in the ratings, but episode 2 saw Constantine’s numbers tumble down below the 1.0 mark. Episode 3 moved slightly upward, but that doesn’t change the reality that Constantine is currently drawing Hannibal-like numbers.
NBC can afford to keep Hannibal around at those levels, due to that series being a really cheap to license international co-production. Constantine is an American show, produced by NBC, on a normal Hollywood budget. Does that mean Constantine’s demise is a certainty? Absolutely not, but it’s a factor worth considering.
Returning to the topic of Liv, it’s been known for a while that the character was written out of the show due to producers’ collective unhappiness with Constantine’s overall creative direction. During the aforementioned conference call, Goyer made clear to put the onus for Liv’s removal on his and Cerone’s shoulders, and stressed that the casting change had little to do with Griffiths.
The character was flawed in its conception, and obviously we’re to blame for that.
It’s important to note that Liv was by no means universally hated by viewers, and there were some people who were upset when she was abruptly chucked from Constantine’s storyline. Even if Cerone and Goyer never intend to make her a series regular again, it might be wise to at least bring Liv back for a short multi-episode arc at some point, if for nothing else than to provide closure to her character.
TV viewers tend to hate loose ends that never get tied up, and Liv basically getting “put on a bus” at the end of Constantine’s pilot was not exactly a satisfying way to write out a character that was put front and center for almost that entire hour.
What do you think? Should Constantine bring Liv back?
Constantine airs Fridays @10pm on NBC.