DC fans are in for a treat this fall, when four different TV shows based on DC characters will all be airing at various times of the week. On The CW there's the third season of Arrow and spin-off series The Flash, Fox has Batman prequel/police procedural Gotham, and NBC is premiering Constantine, an adaptation of the Hellblazer comics from DC's Vertigo imprint.
Whereas Arrow and Gotham largely deal with human villains and The Flash has more of a sci-fi spin, Constantine is a dark fantasy series that seems to be more along the lines of Supernatural. Protagonist John Constantine, a "petty dabbler" in the dark arts, is released from a psychiatric facility where he was being treated for trauma after accidentally sending a young girl to hell. Not long after his release, Constantine becomes drawn into a whole new supernatural mess that seems be part of a larger pattern.
The pilot episode of the show also stars Lucy Griffiths as Liv, a woman with psychic abilities whom Constantine offers aid to, as well as season regulars Charles Halford and Harold Perrineau. Angélica Celaya is set to join the show in the second episode, and Constantine himself is played by Matt Ryan, who recently voiced the lead character in Ubisoft's pirate adventure game Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. Ryan, along with showrunners David S. Goyer and Daniel Cerone, is featured in a new sneak preview video that teases what's to come in Constantine's pilot episode.
A self-described "nasty piece of work," Constantine is something of a reluctant hero, but this teaser offers an enticing motivation for him to do good in the world: watchful angel Manny (Perrineau) tells him that there's still a chance for Constantine to save his soul from going to hell after he dies. Considering that he's had a taste of hell in the past, this is probably the kind of fate that Constantine would like to avoid.
Goyer told us earlier this year that it's possible the show will eventually adapt a version of the 'Dangerous Habits' storyline from the comic books, in which Constantine finds out he has lung cancer after years of heavy smoking and tries to find a way to cheat death (the 2005 film Constantine was based on this arc), but the first season of the show will be loosely based on the 'American Gothic' storyline from Swamp Thing, which first introduced Constantine to the DC universe.
NBC's prestige project Hannibal has featured some pretty dark and gory plots, which bodes well for Constantine being able to explore some of the grim corners of its source material. The network is, however, very strict when it comes to sex/nudity and on-screen smoking, the latter of which has been something of a speed bump for Constantine. Still, there's more to the character than his Silk Cuts, and this just might be the Hellblazer adaptation we've been waiting for.
Constantine premieres October 24th, 2014 on NBC.