Wednesday Comments – Constantine Could Be DC’s Buffy

Hellblazer ends today. As someone who jumped on the title roughly halfway through, I’m less than thrilled that it’s coming to an end.

Obviously the end of Hellblazer is the end of an era and you can’t really pin it on one specific thing. I’m sure a dwindling readership and increasing issue number played a factor, just as I’m sure John Constantine’s inclusion in the New 52 played a role. And of course Karen Berger stepping down came into play.

But there’s no point in bemoaning it’s demise. I’m not going to proclaim that I’m boycotting the upcoming Constantine DCU book. Sure I believe Hellblazer is superior to Constantine, but having lived through the “Jason vs Ronnie” on the old DC Boards, I know there’s no reason to get nasty about things.

Instead I’m going to be an optimist. I’m going to look forward and suggest DC capitalize on John’s relative clean slate; give him a tv show.

Yes, I know John had a movie once upon a time. It, distractingly, starred Keanu Reeves as a brunet American John Constantine. If you could get past his hair color and American-ness, it really wasn’t a bad film. It was successful enough that a sequel is still possible (there were rumors a few years ago.)

But DC should nix the thought of a sequel and turn their eyes toward the small screen because Constantine would make for a great television show. What’s more, the concept is flexible enough to fit formats for broadcast, cable or even premium cable outlets.

If you go the premium cable route you get to keep the nudity, language, smoking and probably even his accent, though in all likelihood John would have to transplanted across the pond, probably to NYC. Constantine would be a perfect fit on Showtime; he’d be like Dexter with demons. This would be cool, but it’s not my favorite option.

With regular cable the nudity is gone (but you can have some suggestion of sexual activity) the language has to be toned down, but the smoking and accent could possibly stick around. And I’m betting that black humor would be transformed into a more run of the mill kind. This one is probably my least favorite option.

My favorite option? That’s the broadcast network option.

I’m sure you’re wondering why this one is my favorite. After all, on broadcast network tv nudity and language are out of the question. So is the smoking. And there’s really only a slim shot at getting away with the accent (thanks Elementary!)

Well, this my favorite option for a few reasons, but primarily because DC has been having success with their small screen translations. Smallville literally kept Superman viable for a decade, while Arrow has done the impossible and made me interested in Green Arrow. But Superman is still Superman and Arrow is basically Batman Year One. Since DC has a track record, they need a curveball.

But another reason why I think it’s a good idea is because it’s been done before. Buffy The Vampire Slayer was originally a movie, that became a hugely popular and influential television show and is now a comic book. Granted, Constantine would get the order a bit mixed up, but I think it could be just as successful.

Again, I’d set the show in New York if only because it’s a place that’s got enough history and character really be a part of the story. London is such a huge character in Hellblazer. Also in NYC a cab is a viable way to travel, so you could still have Chas involved.

Also, I enjoyed John’s trip through America when Brian Azzarello was writing the book. Yes, I liked it. It’s how I began collecting the title. And if we’re set up in the U.S. it makes it that much easier for that storyline to take place. It could even take up the thrust of an entire season.

I’d make Constantine a guy in his late 20’s. He’d be British, though he came to the U.S. either to go to college or just to travel about (sort of the way people travel Europe after graduation) and ended up staying here.

But in terms of character he’s be basically the same. He’d be a conman, with a taste of the supernatural. It would be sort of like a mystical Rockford Files.

It works best if his family is still in the U.K., though I could see Gemma popping up to visit after a couple seasons. But apart from that, you’d still get John’s exes and villains.

Plus, think of all of the other Vertigo guest stars that could be worked into the title? You get Tim Hunter, which means you’d also get Mister E, Doctor Occult and Phantom Stranger. You could even work in Deadman, Shade and naturally Swamp Thing.

Just writing about this makes me want to see this show.

I know that Guillermo del Toro is trying to a “dark” DCU film off the ground and I whole-heartedly support it. But I think these two projects could work concurrently.

So…yeah, that’s my idea.

Um, I’m done for the week. It’s Wednesday, go and buy some comic books from your local comic shop. And maybe pick up an issue of Hellblazer or two.

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