Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

Well, DC seems to be taking a stab at dominating primetime television the way Marvel has dominated the box office. I’ve already touched on the good things that are happening on Arrow and possibly Gotham in the future. I’ll tell you the show I hope manages to stick around for more than a season: Constantine.

You heard me right--there’s a John ‘Hellblazer’ Constantine show in the works.

It’s kind of funny to me that the Keanu Reeves film based on the character seems a bit panned in hindsight by Constantine fans. I actually thought it was a pretty solid, fun film that really got what Constantine was about. So I hope that any show with this character sort of captures what I thought was cool about the film.

I was a little surprised recently to learn that John had kind of been shuffled back into the mainstream DC universe. So he’s in there along with Batman, Superman and all that lot these days. I do think that’s interesting although I think Constantine is a very obvious example of the kind of thing I talk about here all the time: he’s a character that works best in the pages of his own comic and world. And that’s a world where angelic and demonic forces struggle against one another for the hearts and minds of the human race everyday. And what’s most tragic about it? It’s a world where many people don’t even believe enough in a higher power to even be aware that it's going on.

Of course, ultimately, Constantine walks on the side of the angels, but what makes him a great character is not that John is a man of faith but a man who struggles WITH faith. He’s more human than saintly. He smokes, he swears, he’s jaded…and sometimes John knows the rules of the game that God and the Devil are playing. That is, he understands what holy incantation will produce what effect when fighting a certain demon and so on. But see, just knowing that God exists isn’t the same thing as having faith in God. Believing that God does have a plan.

For that matter, even angels and men of religious faith have trouble seeing the right path and some of the most compelling stories involve Constantine striving and fighting for a more humble and human approach than the forces of heaven might use when interpreting God’s will. At least, that’s the most compelling angle for Constantine. Stories that demonstrate complexity in regards to spirituality. Constantine also tends to go up against spooks, spectors and anything else that goes bump in the night. And this show might sort of just have a lot of fighting vampires and werewolves than conversations about the nature of faith and the universe with angels and demons.

My fear is that this show isn’t going to be given a fair shake. It might nto have the fanbase to keep it going long enough to evolve into the kind of show that could be stellar. You know, Firefly syndrome, canceled after a season. Call me jaded, but I’m already getting ready in advance to steel myself for disappointment if it doesn’t catch on. But I hope the best for it really because I think there’d be a lot of potential here.


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