Why I Drink, English Magician Edition: John Constantine Coming to NBC
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Why I Drink, English Magician Edition: John Constantine Coming to NBC

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Trade News | September 30, 2013 | Comments ()


John Constantine is being brought to NBC by David Goyer.


Just don’t touch this NBC. Seriously, you cannot do this show the slightest bit of justice on network television. This is not a criticism of your lineup, though do not take the refusal to criticize as an implied compliment of it either. It’s not. The other networks would be getting this same notice from me: CBS, ABC, Fox. Okay, if it was the CW I’d just get to work finishing that atomic bomb that I’ve been tinkering with in my garage.

Constantine’s story is darker than dark. It might be in comic book form, but let’s be clear: this is horror as dark as horror gets. Would you air “Saw” uncut in primetime, week after week, respected disposable network executives? No? Then you are not prepared to broadcast anything approaching this show.

Don’t get me wrong, “Hannibal” is fantastic, and I am amazed that you were both willing to broadcast such dark content, and renew it despite atrocious ratings. But this show is a step even further. It swims in waters as dark but does not temper them with reluctance, with a protagonist who shares the horror. Its protagonist is a gleeful madman who revels in chaos.

I don’t think I’d even be willing to give the cable networks a shot at this one. It’s a story that shines a light in places that a network is not going to want to stay true to. Pack it up, don’t embarrass yourselves.

And for the love of all that’s unholy, don’t mention fucking Keanu.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Apparently Somebody heard me the other day when I suggested Kiefer Sutherland play John Constantine in a 'Hellblazer' TV show. Now all I have to do is remember that with great power comes great responsibility and remember to use this power for good and not for evil.

  • bastich

    What's your price for suggesting that Kat Dennings should play Emma Frost on an X-Men TV show?

  • I already suggested Kate Beckinsale for the role, but if you like, I can get all Monkey's Paw on your wish and have Kat play Rogue instead, how's that?

  • bastich

    If she's anything like the last actress who played Rogue, then the role will lead her to a future show that features nudity....so yeah, that'll work.

  • Yes, but it will be a show about carnival freaks. And while she will be technically naked, her role as The Bearded Lady will involve all of the bits you're interested in being constantly covered with a long fake beard.

  • bastich


    Curse your Monkey's Paw, and it's ironic sense of wish fulfillment!!!

  • omer3113

    Warren Ellis' HELLBLAZER story "Shoot" is one of the darkest things I've ever read.

  • Milly

    I always liked the idea that Constantine came from Liverpool - the kind of glee I got growing up when Craig Charles was in Red Dwarf on a national telly program - and thinking of a scouser who could play him, I think of Peter Serafinowicz.

  • foolsage

    Eh, I don't completely agree. John's stories aren't overall darker than the stories in Hannibal or Breaking Bad, and John's certainly a considerably more sympathetic character than Hannibal or Walt. Yes, there are some really awful things that happen to John (and even more horrible things that happen to the people close to John), and yes, there's continual tension as John habitually faces off against things vastly out of his weight class, but I don't think the topic is honestly incompatible with modern television. In the hands of a skilled writer, I think a series about Constantine could be quite viable, while being no more gory than the shows mentioned above; there are also strong parallels to Supernatural, obviously. Part of the issue, to me, is that I think television has grown up a bit in the last few years, and viewers are now open to richer and darker subject matter. All the shows I mentioned above have been commercially successful, and two of the three have been critically acclaimed, so there's an audience now for this kind of material that arguably didn't exist in the past.

    John's as much a hero as he is an anti-hero; he opposes Hell and Heaven equally because he generally thinks they're all a bunch of tossers. While not especially likable, John knows almost everyone and has a HUGE wealth of contacts in pretty much every community, which makes for some interesting story possibilities. I'd love to see a serious and adult take on this. But please leave the crucifix guns out, thanks. :)

    I think Goyer has the chops to do this, based largely on Dark City, which was spooky, supernatural, and dark. Obviously his work on Nolan's Batman movies also showed remarkable skill overall.

  • Cody McKee

    Well, this just makes me want to go back and read Hellblazer straight through from the beginning, so... I guess that's something?

  • bastich

    Are you kidding? I would love a CW-produced "Constantine" series!

    It could be centered around chain-gum-chewing Johanna Constantine as the enigmatic new girl at Newcastle High (in LA, of course -- what's a London, amiright?), dealing with her enigmatic powers as she tries to raise her scrappy little brother Chas. Her affections would be split between brooding hunk Bobby Nergal and other brooding hunk Johnny "First of the Fallen" Satan. She'd have a group of pals that would help her solve a groovy mystery each week (one friend killed off per episode). The showrunner/head writer would be Stephanie Meyer, and the soundtrack would be provided by Taylor Swift.

    (Excuse me...I'm gonna go mainline some Everclear now.)

  • Cody McKee

    Bobby Nergal and Johnny Satan do sound awfully brooding...

  • crackblind

    Please, there is no way they'd ever do a story where he served the devil Guinness made from holy water. nuff said

  • Jezzer

    On the plus side, NBC couldn't possibly fuck up John Constantine any more than New 52 already has.

  • Brad Indaskys

    what amazes me is how did they pitch this? what concessions did they make on the character to get it PG(ish) friendly?

  • kirbyjay

    What's the matter with Keanu? Keanu can be dark. Keanu IS dark. Keanu smoked the hell out of that cigarette. Keanu hasn't been Ted " Theodore" Logan in many, many years. You people take your comic books WAY too seriously. I say Keanu as Captain America, Keanu as Iron Man and Keanu as the Hulk ALL AT THE SAME TIME!!!!

  • Drake

    He's aged quite well. I think I would still enjoy fucking Keanu. Oh, different context, never mind.

  • Giroux IA

    "That's my secret. I'm always, whoa!"

  • bastich

    "The Keanuvengers"?

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