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Why Constantine is one of the best new shows of 2014

I’m going to ask for a couple of minutes of your time for one very singular purpose. I’d like you to let me convince you to watch NBC’s new series, Constantine. If you’re already watching the show, you are most welcome to read along, but this is definitely targeted to those of you out there who aren’t currently watching.

I’ll admit to a selfish reason for writing this. Constantine currently has a total of 13 episodes in the first season, and a second season is far from guaranteed. I want that second season, as do many fans, so I’m doing my part to help build interest in the show.

So, unless you fall into certain categories, I think you should start watching Constantine.

Before you think I’m singling people out, let me explain my categorical caveat. See, Constantine is about a man named John Constantine, who calls himself a Master of the Dark Arts and who, quite literally, fights demons. Which means that if you have a problem with subject matter that delves into the occult, or covers and give credence to multiple religions, or if (just for example) you might be bothered by the idea of a child being possessed and killing her parents, Constantine may not be the show for you.

However, if you’re someone like me, who likes shows such as Supernatural, Hannibal, Arrow, and the entire lineup of Investigation Discovery, Constantine is way more up your alley than you may realize.

There is one more thing I should disclose. I haven’t read the Hellblazer comics (it’s on my list, I promise), so I don’t have all of that backstory to go on. That said, I know enough about the comics and I’ve heard some of the concerns fans of the comics have about the new show, so I hope you’ll read this as well.

Okay, I think I have all my bases covered, preface-wise, so let me get into this.

Here’s Constantine‘s basic premise: John Constantine is an asshole. He’s British, but definitely more Johnny Rotten than Hugh Grant.

He smokes, he drinks, he sleeps around, he’s got no time for pleasantries, and he’s got no problem with putting other people in danger if it helps him get done whatever he needs to get done.

He also makes his living by helping people and saving the world.

Basically, he’s the last guy you’d think would care about anyone, and he’s out there putting his life on the line because, well, someone has to do it.

If you’re a fan of the Hellblazer comics, I’m sure all the above sounds familiar. The creative team behind NBC’s Constantine are fans as well, and they’re definitely working to make John much more true to the comics than, say, certain film adaptations.

But even if you’re not familiar with the comics at all, you have to admit that the description I gave you sounds kind of cool, right?

Of course, a premise can be amazing and the show could fail due to poor execution. We’ve all seen it happen. However, in the case of Constantine, the execution is what makes this show so worth watching.

Matt Ryan seems to have been born to play John Constantine. It’s not just the look—it’s everything, from the way he embodies the role to his dedication to getting Constantine right. Ryan recently said in an interview that he’s “not done with the role yet,” and having seen what he’s done with the first eight episodes, I can’t wait to see what he would do with another couple of seasons. His level of research, the time he’s put into the incantations he has to perform, the way he’s looked to immerse himself; all of that has made his Constantine feel real. I know it may sound artsy-fartsy, but when your entire show is based on things that (we hope) don’t exist, feeling the reality in your main character is crucial.


Speaking of things that don’t exist: There’s a definite challenge in making people believe in a world where demons and voodoo rituals that raise the dead are just things that happen. The production design on this show is seriously amazing. The Mill House, which is John’s base of operations, may be one of the coolest sets I’ve ever seen. That same attention to detail goes into all the sets (which is super-creepy when you’re talking about someone hanging human heads on chains for a haunted house. TOO REAL, GUYS!), the creatures, and the special effects. I know this might sound silly, but I’ve worried more than once that the people making this show are a little too real, and I’m just waiting for them to actually conjure something nasty.

The biggest draw for me, however, is the story and the way it’s being written. We’re not going to get any fast answers with this show. I’ll admit, up until the last episode, I was still wondering just what Zed was bringing to the party. Boy, am I eating those words now. Nope; now I’m planning to go back through the first seven episodes again to see if there were clues I missed.

And maybe it’s this, more than anything, that makes me think you should watch the show. If you’re not watching, or if you watched once and decided it wasn’t for you, you’re missing something. There’s a story to be told and revelations to be seen, and they need someone to be told to and seen by.

Constantine may be rough around the edges, and maybe it’s still trying to find its feet, but it’s definitely got its heart in the right place. Besides, nothing worthwhile ever came easy, did it?

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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