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What the Constantine Writers did before.

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he seems to understand how important the character is to the fans. that's way more than anyone else associated with anything beyond the comic has even attempted since pre-pro for that awful film began.

 

Fair fucks to Frank Cappello, aka TearsInRain, he made an effort to come on here and chat with us, when the actual tangible benefit to his film would've been about $200 in tickets, tops, and showed some knowledge of the comic to boot. The actual film wasn't much cop, and by the sounds of it a lot of the 'Hellblazery' stuff got shaved off in rewrites, but I can't fault him as a person.

 

I'll give Ryan props. I'm still not sold on the show yet--to me it could be a lot like Denise Mina's run on the book - John's great but what if the situations they put him in are stupid or not interesting? Bless her heart, she really knew her main character but had no clue what to do with him. I have that same fear about the show. Maybe it's unfounded, I just look at the history of what's been done to the character out side the comic, and it's all shit. So the track record is what's fucking me up. But I go back and forth. The international trailer had good and bad things in it the first trailer didn't have, so who knows?

 

I think Mina's problem was inexperience with the medium and a weak editor, rather than a lack of ideas.

 

The comic should hopefully provide fertile soil for the new creative team, and there's no reason why any of them couldn't have as many great concepts, characters and stories as any of Hellblazer's best writers.

 

Actually, let's see who's signed up so far. Disclaimer: for the most part I can't be bothered to see which specific episodes they've written, so this isn't necessarily indicative of their individual strengths. But the shows they've worked on before may indicate their own preferences for tone or style. Also, a few of these guys have producer credits on other shows, but I don't know how that shakes down in relation to the writing dynamic on Constantine.

 

Carly Wray

Writing credits: Mad Men, nothing else in TV or film, according to IMDB.

I'm not a fan of the show, but it suggests to me that she's probably capable of writing strong, nuanced characters engaging in real, human drama.

 

Christine Boylan

Writing credits: Leverage, Castle, Once Upon a Time, Off the Map.

Never heard of Off the Map, but Leverage and Castle are both very fun shows with a decent balance of humour and drama (leaning more towards the former, most of the time). Leverage is all about con men, so that's a good pedigree, and Castle gets the 'sexy couple with a fun supporting cast' vibe down. All I can say about Once Upon a Time is that I saw it on TV in a cafe once and the direction and FX were so poor I assumed it was some terrible low-budget 90s genre show.

 

Mark Verheiden

Writing credits: Timecop (TV show), Smallville, Heroes, Battlestar Galactica, Hemlock Grove

Old hand at comics and TV; apparently did a Phantom run in 1989 that played on social and political issues, so that's promising. Less promising is the Heroes and Smallville connection (he was a producer on the latter). But I'm hoping that the Battlestar Galactica connection (also producer) cancels that out. Never seen Hemlock Grove. High probability that he's familiar with the comics, given that he's been involved in that industry since the 80s, and has done stuff for DC. Has plenty of experience, at the very least.

 

Davita Scarlett

No writing credits, just a second AD credit on a short film. But what a fantastic name!

 

Daniel Cerone

Writing credits: Charmed, Dexter, The Mentalist, Motive

One of the two main producers behind the show. Worth pointing out that his Dexter credits are all from the first two seasons, back before it became an embarassing, shambling mess of a show. He also exec-produced the second (excellent) and third (less than excellent) seasons, but that's a vague job description, so who knows how much he influenced them? Charmed was awful, but given the remit of 'like Buffy, but with bigger tits' and all the behind-the-scenes catfighting I'm not sure anyone could have hoped for anything else. The Mentalist, which he also produces, is like merangue - light and enjoyable, but lacking in weight. And Motive (again, producer) seems to be a (slightly) more character-led police procedural.

 

So he's got episodic action, black humour and (light) fantasy down - I just hope he understands that Constantine doesn't have to be too formulaic, episodic or bound to its status quo, as Charmed, Dexter and The Mentalist all have been, to a greater or - um - even greater extent. Hopefully the rest of the writing team will bring some weight to the story.

 

I assume he wrote the pilot, but the webrip has no credits. In which case it's about in line with what I'd expect from him - though surprisingly lumpy and lacking in finesse.

 

David S Goyer

Writing credits: Scripting and co-scripting (and often production) duties on Dark City, Blade, The Dark Knight, FlashForward, Ghost Rider 2, Da Vinci's Demons, The Man of Steel

I don't know whether he's doing much writing, or even much hands-on production work - according to IMDB he has 10 projects in pre-production and another three in active production so I assume he's busy, busy, busy - but he's one of the big two producers alongside Cerone, so we'll see. I see him as basically a journeyman writer who's had the benefit of being paired up with superior co-writers and directors, though I've heard largely good things about Da Vinci's Demons.

 

On the plus side, if he does have one outstanding trait, it's the ability to successfully place the outlandish and supernatural in a plausible, down-to-earth context, which is a trait found in a good many of my favourite Hellblazer stories (though it's not really evident in the Constantine pilot, which goes heavy on the comic book spookiness from the get-go). He's also generally pretty adept at cannibalising other people's ideas for adaptation, which is a useful skill to have with so much source material. I do wonder a bit whether he's responsible for the spot-on Constantine seen in the pilot.

 

Hmm. Dark City was amazing. What's Alex Proyas doing these days? Piss-awful B-movies, it looks like. Get him on board for a bit, too.

 

 

In conclusion

Fucking hell, are you still reading? Basically it's hard to call. I wouldn't say that anyone here - based on my obviously limited knowledge - looks like a perfect, all-round fit for a Hellblazer adaptation. Cerone's done some good work on some good shows, but I worry that he trends too much towards episodic series and formulaic procedurals. The latter's perhaps less serious a problem, since the pilot sets up a number of possible ongoing threads, but I do hope there's a desire to see through longer emotional arcs and actually allow for some character progression - something that's always been limited in his previous shows but has no reason to be here.

 

Granted, Hellblazer always pushed the reset button itself, but usually only when a head writer left after three or four years, and in any case TV viewers these days - particularly, I think, ones watching genre drama shows - expect more forward progression from their characters. Even Parks & Rec has masses of character and interpersonal development, and that's a mainstream sitcom!

 

The reliance on procedure and formula is a bit more of a concern, especially as the pilot sets up a very formula-friendly demon-huntin' concept. They're getting rid of Liv, so perhaps that'll give them the opportunity to change up how the series progresses, but I do hope they take some time out to do plenty of stories about - I dunno, a haunted photograph or a man possessed by a conjoined twin or anything other than 'Hey, this is a fire/water/air/electricity/dream/fear pokemon demon! We need a special amulet!' every week.

 

Mark Verheiden and Carly Wray have both worked on shows with strong ongoing story arcs, so that's promising, but it remains to be seen what Cerone wants the show to be.

 

And, like the rest of the writers, Cerone, Wray and Verheiden's past history doesn't scream 'Hellblazer' at me. There're a lot of very light, goofy shows there, and not a great deal of horror. The first couple of seasons of Dexter struck a very nice balance between black humour and queasy wrongness, and it would be nice to see that side of Cerone come out, rather than the bright, colourful and charming Mentalist side (and in terms of visuals and tone, the pilot was more along the latter - very comic-booky). I do hope there's room here to do both big-budget, less threatening 'horror' as seen in the pilot (think Insidious-style spectacle and jump-scares) and more creepy, memorable horror too.

 

In its prime, Supernatural managed to do ridiculously goofy comedy, visceral gore and genuinely eerie horror back-to-back. But that show's base line was angst, doom and a muted colour palette, and I think it's probably easier to start there and go light than to start at goofy and colourful and then swing into darkness.

 

But at this point there's everything to play for, and the pilot gets so much about the comic right that I really hope it's a case of fine-tuning the show towards the comic and away from the more conventional, shiny US pilot-isms. It depends a lot on how capable the writers are, what Cerone's vision of the show is, and how open the writers' room is to collaboration and mutual development.

 

Uh. So. In conclusion: I don't know. Fuck. That was a waste of time.

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Uh. So. In conclusion: I don't know. Fuck. That was a waste of time.

 

holy shit, try reading it!

 

no, you make some good points actually. but i should get you to pad my resume! :icon_wink:

 

tumblr_n9c5mtAQFN1tbf8g8o1_500.jpg

 

do you believe!?

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I disagree with some of your key negatives, but then you do have lots of good points in there.

Maybe if you bullet pointed the good and bad in summary at the end, we'd not have to read the rest?

 

As you suggest, a lot of the time, it's not easy to pick what these folks are going to be good at, none of them are what I'd call show-running auteur types.

 

I have enjoyed the fun of Charmed (which you might not have watched much of since it was awful in your opinion).

It had several series long arcs, and was actually "Charlie's Angels, but with witches".

 

I presume you fear Heroes and Smallville because of superhero universe crossover potential?

With the Corrigan reference, and pending JL: Dark movies, I reckon that battle is lost, but at least they appear to be going down the road of subtle introduction. Zatanna is in the Smallville universe, so that may mean she's out of the reckoning. Madame Xanadu would be my prime pick from the children's comic that DC are currently shitting out into the void.

 

There is way more darkness in some episodes of The Mentalist than you seem aware and the series before last was the one that made me quite pleased to see Cerone on Hellblazer. A dark, conflicted quest against an ongoing villain that has been teased for several series, with the lead being an anti-hero AND ending up tricking friends and enemies alike. Granted, the humor (sic) is a tad full on for Hellblazer.

 

OMG, they should totally do the Family Man and Red John meeting up at a "Cereal Convention".

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Is it this Off The Map ?

http://uk.eonline.com/news/563082/shannen-doherty-and-holly-marie-combs-are-going-on-a-reality-tv-road-trip

That far off the map ???

 

:-)

 

Your mention of Proyas, the Orson Welles of Dystopian Noir, got me thinking they should keep getting in guest directors for some episodes.

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maybe as like a springboard for young horror directors into the mainstream?

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I know Mark Verheden. Wasn't he involved with one of the original RoboCop movies?

I've read most of his comic work. He had a series called The American for Dark Horse, that had some nice political commentary about the Reagan years and patriotism.

His Phantom had nice plots, although I found the writing kind of clumsy.

He was also the original writer on the Alien comic book, back when an Alien comic book wasn't a bad read.

 

I wouldn't mind seeing Madame Xanadu used, at all. She can be used very subtly, without needing to reference the DC Universe.

Plus, I think she looks a lot like my girlfriend, so I like Xanadu.

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Daniel Cerone

Writing credits: Charmed, Dexter, The Mentalist, Motive

One of the two main producers behind the show. Worth pointing out that his Dexter credits are all from the first two seasons, back before it became an embarassing, shambling mess of a show.

 

As someone who read the book, three years or so before it became a show. I did not like dexter as an adaption at all. But that maybe the curse of a bookreader and of someone who has seen it first with synchronized german voice acting (god those guys are bad sometimes). So I have mixed feelings about Cerone, as he is on to adapt another thing I like.

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this from the constantine writers twitter. a good sign, to be sure!

 

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that's All His Engines, innit? :sherlock:

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