THE FLASH / CONSTANTINE [Reviews]: Blazing Hell.
***The Flash review has been reposted today, since we last reviewed it back on July 2nd.***
Who knew. GodHatesGeeks is slowly turning into a mecca for all things EXCLUSIVE. It all began way back when with NBA 2K13, when it was practically Travis Moody and a handful of bartenders– and, somehow, our Monsignor beat every Game Informer to the punch. Now that our congregation is rolling deeper than drunk hookers off the Titanic (32 clergygeeks, at least at press time), we were one of the first 3 to review Transformers: Age of Extinction. Then came a pair of FX shows via the ATX Festival, The Strain and The Bridge, covered by the One and Only Divine.. well, One.
So, don’t worry about too many spoilers — or really any, kid — we’re just gearing you up for 3 of the Fall season’s most-talked about shows on TV. Zoom!
The long-awaited and much-touted series pilot for CW’s The Flash comes rollicking onto screens in October – but thanks to some divine providence, we here at GHG have seen it…. and we saw that it was good (Gen1:31 I think). Adding DC legend Geoff Johns to the mix of the Arrow writing/production team of Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg, The Flash carries the viewer further into CW’s burgeoning DC universe; injecting more sci-fi and fantasy beats into the mix than its streetwise predecessor ever allowed for – army of enhanced Deathstroke soldiers notwithstanding. Masterfully helmed by sci-fi and TV pilot wunderkind David Nutter (X-Files, Millennium, Band of Brothers, The Sopranos, Smallville, Arrow, etc,etc), the pilot delivers an easter egg-laden thrill-ride that more than met this disciple’s expectations.
Firstly, I will try to keep this spoiler-free. I will even refrain from name-dropping all of the many, many DC characters hinted at by: the character names; the dialogue; the locales, etc. *cough VIBE cough cough GRODD cough cough ahem, pardon me please.
Eschewing the darker tone and very murdery (it’s a word, I swear) violence of Arrow for a lighter and brighter take on the DC superhero mythos, it still packs an emotional and dramatic punch that should keep more discerning viewers engaged. From his brief appearance on Season 2 of Arrow, Grant Gustin (Glee) left some pundits out in Internet Land wondering whether he had the acting chops and charisma to carry a show; or to portray the much-beloved character of Barry Allen.
Well, the pilot episode shows he’s more than up to the challenge, imbuing the role with the same hopeful innocence and self-depreciating humor that will be sure to make CW’s The Flash not just a fan-favorite, but a family favorite too.
Ably backed by well chosen cast-mates (though Jesse L. Martin riffing on his previous police procedural roles is no real surprise here), The Flash kicks into action just as quickly as Arrow did; however with the absence of all those awkward Gossip Girl-like scenes in rooms of rich mahogany that tainted Arrow‘s first-two seasons, The Flash seems to balance drama and action more confidently than anything that began in Starling City. Indeed, the confidence must be high – the CG effects are some of the best to grace to the small screen, the costumes and sets all look immaculate, and the cast and dialogue verily crackle with energy, Flash-style.
It’s bold, it’s brash; it really is everything The Flash‘s latest tv show should be. If the pilot for The Flash is anything to go by, the coming season of comics-inspired tv fare is going to be like mana from geek heaven.
CW’s The Flash will premiere on October 8.
The all-powerful Gods responsible for TV shows are being exceptionally kind to the comic fiends of the world at the moment, with the stellar Arrow and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D already on our screens; the very promising The Flash series on the way; and now we here at GHG have gotten our first glimpse of NBC’s Constantine. Expanding the premise of the much-beloved Vertigo and DC comics character – a chap most mainstream audiences first met in the guise of the better-than-average Keanu Reeves vehicle a few years back – the pilot introduces self-proclaimed exorcist John Constantine (played artfully by Layer Cake‘s Matt Ryan) and dumps the viewer headlong into a world brimming with demons, angels, spirits, spells, and curses.
Directed by acclaimed horror aficionado Neil Marshall (Dog Soldiers, The Descent) and scripted by former Dexter showrunner Daniel Cerone and Dark City/Nolan’s Batman/Man of Steel scribe David Goyer, this first episode rattles along at action-cinema pace, with plenty of shocks and nastiness along the way.
The supporting cast acquitting themselves against this twisted world in believable fashion; with Lucy Griffiths and Charles Halford playing Constantine’s “team” of spiritual medium Liv Aberdine and cab driver of few words Chas Chandler; and capped off with the always exceptional Harold Perrineau (OZ, The Matrix, Romeo + Juliet, Lost) as the angel Manny, it’s a classy piece of work; bereft of the cheap schlock and cheesiness of some other network horror offerings (not pointing any fingers, you all know who you are).
The CG effects are tempered by enough old-fashioned work so as to never lose the gritty sense of realism established by the really quite disturbing opening scene; offering some pretty memorable vehicular violence along the route. Ryan in the lead role gives us the very embodiment of Alan Moore’s classic character – albeit with some minor cosmetic changes (no smoking? HERESY! pronounced “Constan-teen? BLASPHEMY!) – and seems right at home with the doomed and damned denizens of John Constantine’s world.
All in all, this Hierophant was pleased; the show offering some more adult thrills (and language) than its Marvel and CW counterparts, and firmly plants the edgy Vertigo flag on TV, we can hopefully expect this high quality and inventiveness to continue – the only risk being the cliched “monster of the week” format it has the potential to devolve into (although the possibly inevitable parallels with Doctor Who or Supernatural surely won’t hurt the shows audience numbers).
NBC’s Constantine will premiere on October 24 at 10/9c.