CBTVB: CONSTANTINE UNDERGOES MAJOR ROSTER SHAKE UP

With only a few months to go before its premiere, NBC’s upcoming WB/DC/Vertigo Comics adaptation of Hellblazer, Constantine, will make a major change to its regular cast.

Constantine says “not so fast”…

Lucy Griffiths has been fired from Constantine according to the producers of NBC’s upcoming supernatural thriller.  Constantine executive producer Daniel Cerone says that the show is replacing the wet-behind-the-ears Liv Aberdine (Griffiths) with the more experienced and feisty Zed to give its main demon hunter a more effective partner/foil. “When you put a wide-eyed innocent into that world, she’s just very reactive,” he told EW. The character of Liv Aberdine will not continue with the show. Liv, who has the power to see otherwordly things, was introduced in the pilot as the daughter of one of Constantine’s deceased friends. Constantine (Matt Ryan) takes her under his wing when she is hunted by a demon.

Zed

Zed

Mary ‘Zed’ Martin is an artist, who meets Constantine in a London alleyway. She is recruited by the ‘Resurrection Crusade’, an extremist Christian group to bear the second coming, but Constantine stopped this from happening. She then helps stop the Fear Machine, and later assists John in finding out about his twin. Her first appearance was in Hellblazer #4.

According to the report from EW, additional characters will be introduced from Hellblazer and the occult DC Comics universe over the course of the series, which premieres Oct. 24 and is also executive-produced by David Goyer.

We will like learn more about their decision when Arrow star Stephen Amell serves as master of ceremonies when Warner Bros. Television Presents A Night of DC Entertainment on Saturday night, July 26, at Comic-Con 2014.

As previously announced, WBTV and DC Entertainment are teaming up for a three-hour (8:00–11:00 p.m.) special event in Hall H designed for DC Comics fans and featuring some of DC Comics’ greatest characters. Amell will preside over the world premiere screening of Gotham and the complete pilot screening of The Flash, and will give fans a look at footage from the Constantine pilot and a sneak peek at season three of Arrow. He will also introduce select stars and producers from each of the four series.

Having seen the pilot for Constantine myself, this is no major loss, as Liv was completely reactive to this new experience, but I’m not sure why this would require the producers to change characters altogether. I probably would have recast just because she has an awful American accent. However, her reactions would be purely a function of the writing, in my opinion. “Liv looks scared for her life”, “Liv cannot understand what she see”, “Liv does not approve of John’s decision”.

For the pilot, her disposition is necessary because we see things through her eyes. It would seem like the writers could have just as easily turned Liv into a more formidable mage on her own rather than change characters.

The pilot is solid, but would probably work better in a cable context as they could be a bit more “adult”. We don’t see Constantine put a cigarette to his lips in the show! We don’t see much blood, but the effects are good at conveying the graphic nature of the magic and evil involved.

I wondered out loud when I watched it whether it would tie into some of the other DC shows on TV. For one, Constantine travels to Ivy University in the pilot to visit his old friend played by the essential Jeremy Davies. Ivy University happens to be the same place where Ray Palmer works as a professor. One-time Superman, Brandon Routh, was just cast as a guest starring role as Ray Palmer for The Flash series on The CW.

Another reason to question a connection is that Constantine introduces himself in the pilot in a very similar way to how Oliver Queen does at the beginning of Arrow, not to mention that Barry Allen does the same thing at the beginning of The Flash pilot, which I have also seen (its good!). DC could be playing a very long game that sees these shows connected in a larger way, as we argued in an earlier piece on the site.

Despite the larger consideration of this show, the real question for me about this show is how do you move Constantine beyond a “monster of the week” (procedural) like a X-Files with magic. Let’s hope that Cerone and Goyer get creative enough to build an intriguing world.

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