Following close on the heels of The Flash pilot leak, NBC’s Constantine pilot has made its way online. The episode is shaky, with some embarrassing special effects and stilted line delivery, but these are errors that could be ironed out as the series progresses – or so I hear. I haven’t seen it, obviously. Fans can expect lines and characters lifted straight from the pages of the comic but should be prepared for some changes, such as a shift in John’s motivation for engaging with the occult (allegedly). New characters like angel Manny and potential-sidekick Liv show a lot of potential, they say, but the show isn’t shying away from familiar names either. It has been reported, by people other than me, that Liv acts as a useful audience proxy and balances frightened curiosity with a strong desire to help people using her supernatural gifts. I am told that Chas Chandler is American and seems to be involved in the occult, but he still drives an incongruous yellow taxi and acts as John’s errand boy. It is felt that despite the lack of Silk Cuts, the creators are giving us a Constantine closer to the Vertigo Comics version than has been put on film before. The leaked pilot isn’t perfect, but it exceeded my expectations, and I’m optimistic about the rest of the series – or so I would say, if I had seen it. Which I haven’t.
Wait – it doesn’t even matter if you’ve seen the pilot or not since it won’t tell us much: Liv is being written out of the series to bring in psychic Zed, who enters John’s life in the early issues of Hellblazer (I guess we can’t have more than one girl in the show at once.) Some speculate that the pilot was leaked on purpose to gauge fan reaction, and this development – announced a week after the leak – lends credence to that theory. Most of the response to Liv I’ve seen has been positive, but it’s hard to object to the writers bringing in more characters from the comics. Hopefully Liv will be gracefully written out of the show, or just abandoned without comment. Either would be better than the horribly violent death that awaits most people who associate with Constantine.