Constantine drops us in the middle of the story, which is something that’s missing from a lot of this year’s new shows, and I like the move. We do get a lot of exposition, mostly from the angel Manny (played by Harold Perrineau of Lost fame). In fact, Manny feeds us so much exposition with his dialogue that it’s safe to call him the Archangel of Exposition. Still, he’s a likable character, and I dig his wings.
Matt Ryan does a great job as John Constantine. It makes sense that the hellblazing, conman/occult detective would have an English accent. Sure, he has some hackneyed dialogue, but he pulls off the character well enough because we see him as flawed, and that’s always more interesting than someone who has their act together. And we see enough of the character in action to get a sense of what makes him effective—complete with a few instances of fast talking, quick thinking, and swindling.
My only real issues with the Constantine character so far is that he’s supposed to be a smoker, but television doesn’t allow smoking on a primetime show, so this really isn’t an indictment of the show.
But Constantine still carries a cigarette lighter. I guess he keeps it handy so he can set things on fire. I just hope they don’t use the John Constantine has lung cancer story arc. It won’t make any sense. John does drink like a fish. Perhaps they’ll make him contract liver disease. Oh, and I don’t get why Constantine would need a business card for what he does except to spawn more exposition about who he is and what he does.
The rest of the supporting cast does a fine, if not a bit shaky, job. Charles Halford as Chas is solid, but Lucy Griffiths slips into her British accent from time to time as Liv Aberdine, when Liv is supposed to be from Atlanta.
And I’m not as sure of Atlanta as the setting. Constantine travels the world, so most locations make sense and I can see why you wouldn’t want to set the show in London (there’s a long line), New York (too many shows), or Los Angeles (it’s all about the Benjamins), but I can’t help but think that they chose Atlanta because The Walking Dead has done well in Georgia so far, so let’s do what they’re doing. Still, the setting works for the most part.
The pilot works for the most part. It’s enjoyable. Unlike The Flash, Constantine’s flashbacks are smoother. The special effects are top notch—but we expected that—and I love the Easter eggs throughout the show. Minor spoiler: we get a hint at Dr. Fate. Constantine bought my attention for the foreseeable future.
Verdict: A solid pilot for a show that exhibits promise.
I was skeptical of the new season of Grimm given how last season ended, but they pulled off an okay show. Nick (played by David Giuntoli) actually had to use some detective skills. He didn’t do as much in this arena as I would’ve liked, but he did concoct a way to work around his lack of Grimm abilities. But I loved how Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch) drew attention to the fact that Nick used to be a good detective and he needed to get back to doing what he did best.
Trubel (pronounced trouble and played by Jacqueline Toboni) is the only Grimm in town, and she isn’t as annoying as I’d thought she’d be this season as the substitute Grimm, but I still don’t think she’s long for the show. As soon as Nick gets his Grimm on, she’s out the door or the cell.
I had forgotten that Captain Renard (Sasha Roiz) was shot last season. His character had been relegated to window dressing and as soon as the royal story arc ends, I’m not sure he continues with the show. And I got a lot of “he or she won’t be on the show much longer” in this episode, so I fear that the creative team will shake up things with a dreaded line-up change after a less than stellar season last year.
And speaking of last than stellar, I’m not buying a lot of things in this episode. Sergeant Wu’s (Reggie Lee) story arc about him learning about the supernatural doesn’t interest me. There are far too many characters who already know about this “other” world, and Wu hasn’t been the same character since they took him from the realm of comic relief to a brooding police officer. I get why Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) and Rosalee (Bree Turner) would cancel their honeymoon, but the entire exchange felt forced, and I don’t know how to gauge Juliette’s response to Nick sleeping with Adalind (Claire Coffee). Again, I could see how she would, but there was a least one moment when I though Juliette was actually Adalind in disguise.
There was a new wesen this week, but I appreciate what they did with the octopus man, a dude with an octopus for a face. His power to suck memories from people actually comes with a price. After dining on a male victim, sapping his memories from him, the male victim’s girlfriend enters the house. Octodude tells the woman that she shouldn’t have been back from her vacation yet, and he looked upset that he’d have to take her life; so apparently, Octodude gained more than his victim’s memories. He gained fondness for the man’s girlfriend as result of the memories he took.
It was an uneven show that posed more questions than answers, but Grimm did cut out a lot of soap opera elements that dragged down last season. We’ll have to see what’s in store next week.
Verdict: Off to a rocky but interesting start.