Christopher M. Enis
Last week began the second season of what I like to call Friday Night Frights on NBC. It began last year with the veteran series Grimm, a half-season of Dracula, and the stylish gore fest Hannibal. This season, Grimm and Hannibal return (Dracula does not), and are joined by the new series Constantine.
Grimm enters its fourth season with the story of Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli): a homicide detective who discovers that he is descended from a supernatural “guardians” known as Grimms. They act as defenders against the Wesen (pronounced “vessin”: the German word for “creature”). The Wesen might be the modern day Boogeyman: they look human, and can only be seen in their true forms without their consent by Grimms.
Grimm comes from the minds of co-creators David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf (of Buffy and Angel fame). It’s a supernatural police procedural that has found a nice balance between both worlds, without being insulting to either.
Constantine is based on the DC Comics/Vertigo series Hellblazer.
John Constantine (Matt Ryan) is a con artist turned reluctant detective of the Occult. He’s also got some major personal issues (tortured by his sins and such). Constantine is tasked with defending humanity against the ever growing forces of darkness. His Crusade companions include his oldest friend Chas Chandler (Charles Halford) and Manny (Harold Perrineau) an angel with a chip on his…wing… who’s been assigned to watch over Constantine. Other main characters (also from the comic series) are the voodoo king, Papa Midnight (Michael James Shaw), Mary ‘Zed’ Martin (Angélica Celaya) and The Spectre (Emmett Scanlan).
Daniel Cerone and David Goyer developed the show for television, and Neil Marshall directed the pilot. The good news is, the series is closer to the source material than the 2005 movie (starring Keanu Reeves). But due to the mostly R-rated nature of the source, we won’t get a full translation on network television.
Overall, Constantine is a nice addition to the live action DC Comics TV Universe (CW’s Arrow, The Flash and Fox’s Gotham). With time, there’s a good chance that it’ll become a permanent part of the Friday Night Frights on NBC.