Matt Ryan's 'Constantine' Was Not as Good as You Might Think

Matt Ryan's 'Constantine' Was Not as Good as You Might Think
Image credit: Legion-Media

Matt Ryan was the perfect comic-accurate casting, but was the NBC show just as perfect?

In 2014, fans of comic John Constantine rejoiced as Matt Ryan was cast as the blonde, trench coat-rocking, British iconic exorcist, with NBC launching 'Constantine' as a solo TV show supposed to finally do justice to the character and his storyline.

However, the show did not end up as a success: after just one season, the network canceled it, even though the first chapter ended with a cliffhanger that was setting up the stage for the story to continue. Despite Matt Ryan fans currently fuming over the show's cancellation and calling for the actor to return to the role amid the Keanu Reeves-led movie sequel announcement, NBC's series was not actually as perfect as one might think it was.

There were several issues with the show, and specifically with how it handled the character. Despite the comic-accurate casting, NBC prohibited using cigarettes in the series – a decision that raised many eyebrows since smoking is one of John Constantine's signature features.

Besides, the show has never addressed another important thing about John – his bisexuality. According to the comics, the exorcist loved both men and women, but the show only offers some chemistry with a woman named Zed, who ends up being John's companion as they embark on the journey to save the world from the looming darkness and possibly save John's soul in the process.

Last but not least, the show has failed to appeal to its direct audience by making John less of a detective and more of an exorcist – something way too supernatural for NBC. However, when it came to attracting a new audience, it was also quite a failure, because the niche of trench-coated heroes fighting demons had already been occupied by The CW's 'Supernatural'.

'Constantine' had never been a hit when it came to ratings, especially compared to successful projects like 'Grimm'. After the first season wrapped up, the network has not immediately ordered new episodes, prompting a massive fan campaign to "save Constantine". However, despite fan efforts, the series ended up being shelved – and there is little hope for it to be revived any time soon in the wake of the announced movie sequel and JJ Abrams' show's death.

After the cancellation of NBC's solo show, Matt Ryan's John Constantine migrated to the Arrowverse in The CW's 'City of Demons', and later joined DC's 'Legends of Tomorrow' starting from season 3. Season 4 had him return as a regular, and later the show even addressed the events of the NBC story. However, 'Legends of Tomorrow' was also canceled in April 2022.