Taking an adult themed comic and developing it as a television show for a mass audience was never going to be an easy feat. NBC’s Constantine has proved to be one such challenge, and the character’s fans have been filled with anxiety over just how close Matt Ryan’s TV persona will get to the source material. Going by the pilot alone – which was a slightly muddled affair – but offered some nice touches, it didn’t seem like the fans were going to be getting the John Constantine they know and love – the chain-smoking bisexual demon killer. However, it turns out he’ll be at least two of these things, with more possibly coming later.
Initially, we came to believe that NBC would be hesitant on the chain-smoking, it turns out that’s not entirely true (although cautionary measures will be taken). Executive producer and developer Daniel Cerone had this to say: “Is he chain-smoking? Absolutely. We’re limited by what we can show. We just hope comic book fans understand that. Instead of decrying the fact that they don’t see him with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth in every scene, we’re hoping they will actually give us credit for really trying to stay true to the character.”
It seems as if they are trying to cut a happy medium between the network and the fans with Cerone insinuating that liberties will be taken probably along the lines of showing him putting out cigarettes when scenes start, and lighting them when scenes are done. Perhaps even bigger liberties will be taken with the prop department just having a bunch of cigarette packs lying around the place. Either way, it seems that this is a much better step in the right direction than changing the character’s main traits. We don’t in any way advocate smoking, but this is a major characteristic that Constantine is well known for.
Cerone then goes on to talk about Constantine’s sexuality, being a little more hesitant and ambiguous on the subject: “I would take issue with the presentation of Constantine through the run of the comics as a chain-smoking bisexual. He’s been chain-smoking without a doubt, but this curious character aspect of him was revealed very late in the run. It might have been followed up once. It just wasn’t a defining part of who he is. Could that exist in our universe? Sure. Look, we are following the course of the comic. I don’t mean this as a cop-out at all. The comic ran for a very long time, presenting a character and building out this character, who was different with many passions and conflicts and torments and tragedies. That’s what we’re hanging our stories on.”
Seems like Cerone is not immediately ruling out the possibility that this “curious character aspect” will be introduced. Just don’t expect Constantine to have a line of hot male lovers throughout the series and future seasons. There will no doubt be passing comments made on his frivolous libido, and there is an offering of solace in the fact that they aren’t against the idea. Maybe not a victory per se, but at least they are thinking about the fans, which is surely something!
It’s a tough one all right, and if people choose not to watch Constantine due to network-specific behavioral changes then so be it, but at least the team behind the show are trying. So, hating on it because it’s a poorly written show that doesn’t deliver seems more understandable than minor changes that had to be made. Shout off in the comments section.
NBC recently gave Constantine an extended episode order, which means the network is already impressed with the content, even without the ratings numbers to back it up. Find it when it debuts on Friday, October 24.