Well, the second episode of NBC’s Hellblazer adaptation was at least marginally better than the first. More X-Filesy than Hellblazerish, with a slight touch of American Gothic, I was surprised to see the rating bumped down from TV-14 to TV-PG. (The John Constantine I’m familiar with is hardly a ‘PG’ sort of character.)
Chas’s accent continues to rub me the wrong way — it’s just hard to imagine ol’ Chas as anything other than a bloody Londoner — and Constantine’s is a horror in its own right. Though Constantine is originally supposed to be from Liverpool, the actor who plays him (Matt Ryan) is Welsh, so I more or less expected him to adapt a sort of hybrid Northern accent. Instead it’s like some bizarre fucking “Taste of the UK” tour — he sounds as if he’s gargling marbles as he test drives close to half a dozen different accents. He even does Irish. I swear, I am not making this up.
I wasn’t a fan of comic-book Zed beyond her initial story arc, but this one was just painful to watch. I take back what I said about the first female victim lead being axed as an act of mercy — this one was like watching Kristin Stewart make funny faces in front of her bathroom mirror. Now, I understand the American Prime Time mentality of substituting talent for a pretty face, but in all frankness, this woman is about as sexy as Maria from Sesame Street. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if half her lines were dubbed over by Maria from Sesame Street.
Hell, I think giving John Constantine some legitimate screen time is an awesome idea. Unlike other Vertigo titles (e.g. Sandman or Lucifer), Hellblazer is just the sort of title that could thrive as a television series — I just don’t think the clowns over at NBC have the cojones to get it right.
Just watched NBC’s Constantine pilot and I have to say, the decision to axe the female lead (who couldn’t play the role to save her soul) after the first episode was an act of outright mercy. The possessed humans were unoriginal and unconvincing, both in appearance and in mannerism. (WTF were they supposed to be, deadites?) Constantine wasn’t enough of a bastard, and Chas’s American accent just fucked with my head.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: “mature” comics do NOT translate well into regular network television, and this couldn’t be more true of titles featuring a chain-smoking, lecherous exorcism junkie who unintentionally brings death and destruction down upon anyone unlucky enough to be acquainted with him.
Oh, and they totally fucked up Newcastle.
On the bright side, my assumption that it would be exceedingly better than the 2005 Keanu Reeves flick proved correct. Then again, watching a caged monkey eat its own excrement would prove exceedingly better than the Constantine movie. Watching vultures tear out my own liver would be preferable as well.
Fifteen years later, I am still waiting on Ennis and Silvestri to team up for a Preacher / Darkness crossover. I can just see it now: Herr Starr, seeking revenge against Jesse Custer for making his head look like a giant penis, decides the Grail will do better to find itself a new messiah… in one Jackie Estacado.
ESTACADO: “…the hell are you supposed to be, Sonatine’s Kraut cousin?”
DARKLING #1: “Or what’s left of him!”
ESTACADO: “No, fuck this secret-society bullshit. I’ve got enough of my own problems to worry about without getting dragged into the Second Coming.”
DARKLING #2: “Hey boss, does this guy’s head kinda remind you of something?”
[DARKLING #3 gets ahold of the special “device” contained within Herr Starr’s briefcase.]
DARKLING #3: “Yo, Jackie! Look at me — I’m a unicorn!”