For months now, fans of the show Constantine have been waiting to a response as to whether the show will be picked up again by NBC Universal for a second season. Today, the answer was given and lo the nerds wept as news of an official cancellation was delivered. While this would be a death sentence for television programming a few years ago, the possibility of having it be picked up by another channel or a digital streaming service like Hulu or Netflix is still at least symbolically high. It’s happened before with other programs but famous examples like Arrested Development taking a few years between it’s cancellation and return or Community returning immediately but with a lot less of the original cast means that saving Constantine might not be in the way the populace desires it.
Full disclosure, I’m not the biggest fan of Constantine the show or the character (we don’t talk about Keanu Reeves movie). As an academic who focuses on serialization this entire event fascinates me. Publication/continuation of a program is a decision based on financial sustainability and gain. NBC, who carried the show for its first season, decided to no longer have the program serialized but the fans are using social media to be part of the conversation to #SaveConstantine. If the movement got an even more ridiculously large following the choice of the show’s continuation is NBC’s as they currently still have the rights to the character for television distribution. DC Comics, who technically owns the character (and yes Constantine is part of the DC Universe and could theoretically show up in the eventual Justice League movie but probably not) is a nonfactor unless NBC lets the rights expire. There’s a small chance that NBC retains the rights for a while, Constantine stays in a void of publication within the television medium, and DC eventually lets someone else take a crack at the show but probably as a reboot with different characters.
What will probably end up happening is closer down the line of NBC selling the show to another channel that will capitalize upon the good faith of the #SaveConstatine movement to get a good fanbase going from the start. Technically anyone could get it but the main ones that seem to be in the running are Syfy (aka SciFi, aka the Science Fiction netowrk) and Netflix. Both have probably obtained several heartfelt forms of communication begging to rescue the apparently damned program. As I said before, I am not a fanboy but I do believe I have a legit argument for either of these two great channels to save Constantine for at least more season. I’m not sure if either one will read this but if I don’t write then it will never have a chance so here goes.
Let’s face it, everyone is jumping on the DC and Marvel bandwagon to get some kind of superhero program. Constantine is more supernatural and paranormal to technically fall under the science fiction umbrella but it have a nice home within your protection. Booster Gold or if you are super lucky Green Lantern would be a better fit but let’s be practical and accept that those franchises are off the table. What you would get is a cross between Supernatural and American Horror Story and both of those programs continue finding an audience. The story of John Constantine may seem complicated: a detective/master of the dark arts travelling the countryside solving murders while putting spirits at ease and maybe saving the world from the eventual uprising of Hell. But ultimately it boils down to something much simpler and relatable. A man faces his biggest regret and tries to find redemption little by little. Once you take away the magic and the religious forces it’s a narrative about coping with mistakes and making things right even as everything else is against you.
Syfy, I have seen Sharknado and other monster movies and I know you have the technology and the imagination to make the fiercest creatures come to life to terrorize John Constantine’s life (and our dreams). I’m sure you would rather have the heroes face aliens or demented scientists but you have some good writers that can use the forces of Hell to drive the story forward. The character has a pretty interesting past in the comic books so you have a lot of material to start with. Plus, from a business standpoint it makes sense. I know for a fact that next year you lose WWE Smackdown as it heads to USA. If only there were another show with a fanbase fluent and vibrant in social media with similar demographics that can take that primetime slot? You get that and more if you take the leap and Save Constantine.
You already have the rights to upcoming Marvel series premiering soon that tie nicely into Phase 3 of the MCU so you must be wondering why you should even take the chance on Constantine? Well diversifying your hero portfolio to include DC sounds like a sound investment should their stocks continue to rise once their movies hit. And even the films aren’t a huge success, Flash and Arrow among others show that there is a TV audience out there for DC characters. You have a lot of down to earth characters right now especially with Daredevil (you can read my review/love letter to it here) but you need someone that goes beyond walking down the streets of New York City and beating up mob bosses. What you need is a touch of magic and the supernatural to really round up your lineup and John Constantine can do that for you. Now’s your chance to debut that you can handle some CGI and special effects for your original programming as Hell comes alive to face our chain smoking protagonist (and yes, please let him actually smoke). You can get your foot in the door for DC as well as Marvel for your available shows and keep cornering the market on awesome stuff. Let’s be honest, Netflix doesn’t exactly NEED more positive publicity but if you guys save Constantine you might get away with raising monthly prices by like a quarter with no trouble at all.
Well that’s it for me. Only so much the fanship can do. But hey if you can keep sharing this blog post maybe some that can make that decision will read it.