Monday, October 27, 2014

Television Review: Constantine (Season 1, Episode 1 // NBC)

There were a number of underlying factors that had me watching this first episode of a television show based upon a DC Comics character whom I enjoyed based on said stories as well as the movie for that matter.   I'm not sure why I was watching NBC exactly but I saw a commercial for this show somewhere and was interested up until I realized it airs Fridays at 10pm.   I can barely make it to 10pm on a nightly basis let alone trying to get to 11pm on the night that is the end of the week?   Yeah, it didn't seem very likely.

This past Saturday, the day after the episode premiered, we were out for the day, came home and watched a movie for Halloween ("Monster House" to be precise) as my son fell asleep.    Upon first opening the TV Guide app I saw that "Constantine" replayed at 9pm on NBC and it was something like 8:59pm.    So this wasn't so much planned as me saying that staying up until 10pm on a Friday night was too late so I'd wait for either Netflix or DVD but it was actually a sheer stroke of luck and good timing.

Not knowing whether or not I'd be able to watch subsequent episodes never really played a part in my viewing of this episode.   If it wasn't to replay (and as of right now, TV Guide does not have it listed as coming back in this spot again this Saturday) I don't know if I'd stay up to watch it in its original timeslot no matter how good it might be.     Yet, I did feel like on some level if it was over-the-top good I might have to watch it and somehow stay up late on Friday nights again.

One of the first things that I noticed about this show was the idea that John Constantine's mother died while giving birth and so his quest to fight demons became an obsession to meet his mother which in many ways reminded me of the show "Supernatural" which I kind of stopped watching several seasons ago for no real reason.    But then the funny part is that in this episode we meet a young woman named Liv who seems to almost be the focus point of the episode more than John himself and she seems set to be his sidekick yet at the end goes off and decides not to be for whatever reason.  

While there are behind the scenes reasons why it kind of makes you wonder what to expect from this show that seemingly couldn't get its act together in the first episode.    To seemingly put all of this time and effort into making a first impression on viewers only to at the end of it to kind of say, "Just kidding!  You kind of didn't really need to watch that I guess" seems like something a show shouldn't do if it is to air on NBC but who am I to judge?

Parts of this show are science fiction but it's more into that demon fighting horror side of things like "Supernatural" or even "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", just that whole idea where it can be scary but there are also hints of humor and other subtle mysteries that give it a voice of its own.

For a very long time now I have not watched a television show "in real time".   I've relied on Netflix and DVD because I was too concerned with shows being canceled after any given number of episodes.    However, these days it would seem that shows get to at least run most of their season before being canceled, other networks pick them up more and also Netflix itself has been responsible for helping out shows such as "Apartment 23" and "The Killing".    Still, commercials are a pain to sit through (especially during election time) and getting DVR to fast forward through them seems pointless compared to getting Hulu and having none.  (Or at least a reduced number)

I feel like this first episode of "Constantine" isn't as connected to the rest of the season as it perhaps should be.   It gives you an idea of what is to come, sure, and that all looks good but it doesn't seem as if you need to watch what comes next right away and waiting for DVD (or Netflix) seems highly likely at this point.    In some ways, if I can make a comparison with professional sports here, I feel like as opposed to an actual episode from season one this was more like a pre-season episode in the sense that it kind of counted but not really.

At this point, unless something is to change with my sleeping habits, I'm just waiting this one out until the season is over.   Commercials are a bother but so is waiting a week for the next episode.   I've been too spoiled by DVD and Netflix in the ways that I can crank out more than one episode at a time and have a season that would otherwise take months to watch finished in a weekend.   I'm also currently watching one new series every week "in real time" (More on that at some other time, in what would become a review of the new series "Gotham") and that seems to be enough for me.

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