NBC have released a trailer for their new supernatural drama CONSTANTINE, based on the Vertigo comic-book series Hellblazer—which was previously adapted into a 2005 movie starring Keanu Reeves (which wasn't terrible, but frustrated fans because the title character didn't resemble the chain-smoking British hero in the slightest). NBC appear to have corrected that mistake, by casting Welsh actor Matt Ryan as the occult specialist with a fondness for tan-coloured coats and permanent five o'clock shadow.
Based on the trailer above (which perhaps shows too much*), this is certainly a promising first look at the show's tone, style, production values, humour, and special effects. The pilot has been directed by Neil Marshall (The Descent, Game of Thrones), so naturally it looks very cinematic and redolent of the earlier 2005 film in some ways. Ryan probably won't be allowed to puff his way through many cancer sticks on an mainstream TV show, but he's ruggedly handsome and has a Northern swagger that suits the role well. (Purists may grumble that John Constantine still isn't a mouthy Scouser from Liverpool, but clearly America's not ready for that yet. Eh-eh-eh?) It's actually refreshing to see an Englishman on US TV who isn't upper-class or a cockney. Maybe Game of Thrones is having a positive effect introducing the USA to other regional accents from across Britain?
Also fun to see Lucy Griffiths (Robin Hood, True Blood) in the role occupied by Rachel Weisz in the earlier film, as she certainly resembles that actress at a cursory glance; while Harold Perrineau (Lost) looks impressive and intimidating as an angel/demon called Manny.
This series comes from producers David Goyer (Blade, Batman Begins) and Daniel Cerone (Dexter, The Mentalist), so that's a pretty decent combination to channel their talents into a project like this. The trailer doesn't give me too many concerns, even if Hellblazer's edges have obviously been smoothed over to make this play more to the Supernatural audience. But hey, concessions have to be made in this game. For the most part this looks like a hit in the making...
What does everyone else thing?
* People forget that these late-spring trailers are primarily geared towards advertisers considering buying space during the commercial breaks of new shows, not audiences exactly. This is why they tend to almost tell the entire pilot's storyline in less than four minutes, because most advertisers won't be watching the pilots before making their business decisions.