Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and its success must have competitor DC Comics (and parent company Warner Bros.) on the defensive, because last night saw the announcement of their third comic book-based series in development as Deadline.com broke the news that NBC has purchased (with penalty) a drama based on everyone’s favorite chain-smoking, whiskey drinking con man turned demon killer, John Constantine.
Following the announcement of a CW series about The Flash earlier in the summer and the recent news that Fox is developing a Gotham City based police drama with pre-Commissioner Gordon, it’s no surprise that NBC has decided to add a comic-based property to its development slate. It is written/executive produced by The Mentalist executive producer Daniel Cerone and the much-debated mind behind the much-debated Man of Steel, David S. Goyer.
While Cerone has had much success both critically and with fans for The Mentalist, Goyer’s track record is a hot-topic for debate amongst fans. On the one hand, he’s responsible for such beloved franchises as the Blade series, as well as being Christopher Nolan’s writing partner throughout his run with the Batman franchise, but he’s also the man responsible for aforementioned Man of Steel and his last TV show, the Lost knockoff Flash Forward, was cancelled after only one season.
For our money, Constantine is an excellent choice for an ongoing series, but the creators behind the show would do wise to avoid rehashing the 2005 film version of the character, which saw Keanu “Whoa” Reeves take on the titular role, interpreting the character more as an action hero than the sly con artist he’s meant to be. In fact, perhaps the best place for them to start is with a loose adaptation of 100 Bullets creator Brian Azzerello’s run on the series (which, if you haven’t read, you need to go and do right now… issues #146-174), which followed the character from a short prison stay to uncovering a pornography ring, catching a serial killer, fighting some Neo Nazis, and finally confronting the man responsible for his initial incarceration. It would make for several excellent seasons of TV and truly showcase all the subtle and complex elements that make up this one-of-a-kind character.