There is talk between DC Comics and the CW in bringing Constantine back for a Season 2. Nothing has been confirmed yet, but given the CW’s propensity to acquire DC themed shows like Supergirl, it’s just a matter of time. Also given the first season of Constantine is now on the CW’s streaming site, the show’s return seems probable.
DC’s bad boy magician, John Constantine, dabbler in black magic, chain-smoking, cockney con-man slash hero, met his end on NBC when they decided not to renew the show due to mediocre ratings. While this made barely a blip to people who have not watched the show, DC fans were crushed.
John Constantine has been a fan favorite since Alan Moore introduced him in the pages of the Swamp Thing. From 1988 to 2013, his title, Hellblazer, was on comic book shelves with Constantine and Constantine: The Hellblazer as one of DC/Vertigo’s most successful and longest running series. The show, which brought to life many of his comic book adventures, failed to find his fan base on the small screen.
“Through the efforts of Steven Amell, star of the CW’s Arrow, and the Twitter campaign, #SaveConstantine, the CW worked with the show’s producers at NBC to negotiate a one-time crossover to bring Matt Ryan as John Constantine for Arrow’s episode “Haunted”.
The character brought a new energy to the cast. For this episode, Constantine was called in as an occult specialist to assist in retrieving Sarah Lance’s soul from the Lazarus pit and to bring her back from complete savagery. As the show works also with flashback sequences of Ollie’s life on Star Island, we are shown how the two met when Constantine retrieved a powerful occult item hidden on the island. The show itself got generally positive reviews and Constantine’s return showed that fans wanted to see more of him.
Why it’s good
What Marvel is doing for the big screen, DC is working with the CW for television. The CW is currently the most DC-centric network on television with Arrow, The Flash, DC’s Legend’s of Tomorrow, Vertigo’s iZombie and, beginning with Season 2, Supergirl. The second network is Fox with Gotham and Lucifer.
Following Smallville’s ten year run, DC filled the CW’s niche with Arrow, after struggling with the planned release of an Aquaman pilot which got passed on shortly after the merge of the CW and UPN. With the premiere of Arrow, the CW began development on The Flash and from those two series created Legends of Tomorrow starring DC favorites like the Atom, Firestorm, Hawkgirl, Captain Cold, Heatwave, and Rip Hunter.
The producers have taken a page from Stan Lee’s PR handbook and found that crossovers between corresponding shows work. After doing a cross-network television show team up between Arrow and NBC’s Constantine, the CW did it a second time with The Flash to CBS’s Supergirl. As the CW already had plans to acquire Supergirl for their network, the show brings the characters of Superman and The Martian Manhunter with it. With Constantine joining DC/Vertigo’s lineup, the CW is opening the entire mystical branch of the DCU which will provide awesome story telling combined with spine-tingling horror and new characters.
From a comic book geek’s point of view, this can work out perfectly considering the current story arc of The Flash. The end of season 2’s story arc was building towards The Flashpoint Paradox, which will, in effect, reboot the entire DCU with a new alternate history where Superman and Supergirl could be part of the DCU with the Flash (contrary to how it is on CBS’s Supergirl), Green Arrow, and the entire super team currently in Legends of Tomorrow.
The timing could not be better.
Why it’s Risky
While many fans are celebrating the probable return of Constantine, there is a possibility that it still won’t work. However, given the current trend of shows on the CW, that’s not likely. Vertigo, DC’s adult line (the same flagship line launching Fox’s Lucifer from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series) has its roots in iZombie working in the lineup.
iZombie is currently in its third season with no signs of it slowing down.
While thrilling horror shows like Hannibal and Constantine floundered within the NBC line up, it is more likely that those shows were not in keeping with the audience’s flavor normally associated with the CW’s programming.
Constantine’s demonic horror theme is the perfect marriage between shows like The Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow, to the other CW shows like Supernatural, iZombie, Reign, and The Vampire Diaries.
All of it depends on how high the bar is for the CW and where the breakeven point for ratings is with the show. If they’re looking to expand their horror line up, Constantine would be a great set up to Supernatural’s action packed demon hunting stories. If they’re looking to expand on their superhero show lineup, the blend between Constantine’s horror and Arrow’s semi-mystical story arcs is a good marriage as well.
All we really know is that the new stories have to keep the viewers riveted and get them talking much like the audiences of Penny Dreadful.
What We Might See
Fans of John Constantine know that much of what happens in his stories is on the spiritual plane. Much of the conversions he has are between himself and someone who has already died. Think of The Ghost Whisperer but remodeled after the rocker, Sting, who smokes, drinks, lies, and screws a lot – then make him into a trickster.
Constantine’s personality comes out when he’s with his peer magicians and with his elemental allies like the Swamp Thing. In that setting, audiences can see the robust personality he brings from the comic book world.
Potential guest characters who might be seen within the series are Alec Holland (The Swamp Thing), Zatanna, Doctor Fate (Nabu’s helmet was an Easter egg in Season One), Ragman, The Enchantress, The Spectre (Jim Corrigan has made an appearance), Zauriel, Doctor 13, Doctor Occult, Cain, Abel, Lord Andrew Bennett, and a host of DC’s other supernatural characters.
As the producers of Arrow have already opened the door within the DCU for supernatural antagonists, getting any one of Constantine’s allies is now possible. However, before the writers even go into any new storylines, there are still over a hundred stories from the comics that still can be adapted for the small screen.