I didn’t spoil either Arrow or Constantine. The blueprints are in the comics. Just saying.
I didn’t spoil either Arrow or Constantine. The blueprints are in the comics. Just saying.
I still say Constantine needs a home on cable. Every week, I wonder how Constantine will do on a channel that won’t fucking neuter it. The Flash, Arrow, and Gotham are natural fits for network television – characters that are familiar to audiences from prior TV adaptations, appeal to the 18-to-34-year-old demographic (which I am still in), and play to as wide an audience as possible. Constantine, being a former Vertigo title with a prior film adaptation, plays to a more “grown-up” niche audience. Obviously, the best home for a show like Constantine is a broadcast network whose top-flight prime-time offerings are Football Night in America and The Voice. I worry for Fox’s prospective Lucifer pilot.
The only way Constantine survives is if DC Entertainment eats most of the costs of a second season, and/or if a streaming service like Netflix feels DC Entertainment is a safe enough risk to defray Constantine’s budget. I’m not saying the show is dead after one season, but get Constantine off NBC. Hellblazer ran for 300 issues, and most of that run was under the aegis of an imprint that worked outside of the Comics Code Authority. Think about it.
To be honest, Constantine is improving, albeit not enough for NBC to order the back nine episodes for its first season. Most likely, Constantine won’t return for a second season, which isn’t surprising for a nerfed version of Hellblazer in a Friday night death slot.
It’s a shame, as Constantine is actually the DC live-action show most faithful to the comics it adapts storylines from. Whereas Gotham hinges on the end result that Bruce Wayne becomes Batman, and Berlanti’s shows attempt a live-action version of the Timm/Diniverse, Constantine draws from the early years of Hellblazer. Adaptations of funnybook storylines – what an odd concept.
Is Constantine what it could be? Hell no; broadcast television is not a good fit for the chain-smoking, profane con artist. That point was texted before the NBC upfront. At the same time, I believe showrunners Daniel Cerone and David S. Goyer want to make as good a version of Constantine as network and budget constraints allow. Episodes four through six are the best so far in the show’s run, yet that might not be enough to give Constantine a second-season renewal. Frankly, Constantine needs cable.
At least Constantine doesn’t have The Flash (2014)’s current problem of saying “OUR SUPERHERO LEARNS HOW TO DO THIS THING!” every week, while Harrison Wells is MYSTERIOUS! and possibly connected to the New Gods, and Cisco names a villain also connected to the New Gods, as he’s Vibe. Barry Allen will eventually beat up science. John Constantine will rabbit-punch the back of your head, in the moments when he actually wins a fight. I like The Flash, yet it doesn’t have Constantine’s more pragmatic worldview.
My big worry for Constantine is that it has a more fun tone than The Flash (2014) right now. How does that even work? I realize The Flash is in his share of more ‘dramatic’ stories, but when The Flash (2014) is more weighty (and angsty – it’s not a Berlanti series if it lacks suitable soul-scraping) than a television show based on Hellblazer, that’s just odd. It’s like Shazam wanting to grow up as quickly as possible, and Dr. Sivana becoming a muscular gu…wait. DC likes to screw with its properties sometimes.
In my opinion, the current DC live-action television universe has its share of problems. The chief culprit is the shows blending into a well-made, if largely surprise-free, whole. I still prefer this scenario to the early 1990s, when shows based on DC Comics characters went for an episodic low-budget feel (aside from, weirdly enough, the 1990-91 version of The Flash), while the comics ran the gamut from typical 1990s fare to well-written Vertigo series. Right now, Constantine needs to differentiate itself from Supernatural, Grimm and Doctor Who; I’m not sure if it will accomplish that feat right now, given how American network television works. Constantine could be cancelled before it really cooks.
Constantine is the only current DC Entertainment live-action television adaptation with the main character not created in the Golden Age (John Constantine first appeared in the June 1984 issue of The Saga of the Swamp Thing), so ironically, he’s less old-hat than a man based on Robin Hood, a man who runs really fast, and a young version of the character that defined Detective Comics. Just saying.
Working the Engels’ Nielsen viewership on NBC first dipped below two million on July 31, 2014; the viewing figures are consistent with Working the Engels’ Canadian performance on Global, as the show suffered through similarly weak ratings above the 49th parallel. NBC cancels Working the Engels after five episodes; the show was preempted August 14, 2014 by the eighth-season finale of Last Comic Standing.
As Working the Engels’ future hinged on its NBC performance after the weak Global run, this is about as cut-and-dried a cancellation as one gets in Canadian television. Regardless of Working the Engels’ perceived quality, relatively few viewers watched the show in the two countries where its performance most mattered. This doesn’t end Shaw Media and NBCUniversal’s co-development partnership – Variety’s Shelli Weinstein mentions Halfire Entertainment police procedural Rope, with Rookie Blue and Flashpoint executive producer Tassie Cameron attached to the project.
As a result of Working the Engels’ NBC cancellation, Welcome to Sweden airs two episodes on NBC August 21, 2014, assuming Working the Engels’ Thursday timeslot for the time being.
Five Canadian shows compete for viewers in this summer silly season. The viewing averages for the five Canadian shows – if you want to be pedantic, four Canadian shows, and a co-production led by CBS Television Studios – are as follows:
12. Rookie Blue, ABC (6,665,000; original airing on Global)
49. Working the Engels, NBC (2,389,000; original airing on Global)
59. Beauty and the Beast, The CW (1,280,000; Canadian airing on Showcase)
61. Seed, The CW (497,000; original airing on City)
62. Backpackers, The CW (471,000; repackaged form of CTV Extend online series)
Rookie Blue is a durable workhorse for both Global and ABC. It’s the sixth-highest-rated scripted show on American network television this summer, and ABC’s highest-rated summer scripted show. There’s no news on Rookie Blue’s future beyond its current 22-episode order, as the order is split into two separate seasons.
With sixty-three episodes in the can, and eleven more to air in 2015, Rookie Blue can afford to go into reruns. ABC Entertainment president Paul Lee mentioned that ABC might want to wind Rookie Blue up. If ABC wants to end its association with Rookie Blue, it will be a financial and/or aesthetic decision; the ratings for the fifth season were great in Canada, and the most consistently high since Rookie Blue’s first season on Global. Airing episodes a month ahead of ABC worked in Global’s favour. Rookie Blue knows its audience, and retains that audience.
Working the Engels is in direct competition with Rookie Blue, Fox’s Gang Related, and Big Brother in America. As the worst-performing new show on NBC’s summer 2014 schedule, coupled with its anemic Global performance earlier this year, Working the Engels’ future is based on whether NBC and/or Shaw Media want to bite the financial bullet for a second season. Its lead-in, Welcome to Sweden, was recently renewed by NBC for a second season, so Working the Engels has a chance.
Beauty and the Beast has already been renewed by The CW for a third season; this is just a burnoff of new episodes after The CW pulled Beauty and the Beast off its schedule in March 2014. Given BatB’s soft ratings in its second season on The CW, it’s lucky to get a third. BatB is only listed here due to Take 5 Productions and Whizbang Films’ involvement with the show; with this and Reign, Take 5 and Whizbang have a respectable presence on The CW.
Seed and Backpackers were both mercy-killed by The CW after two low-rated episodes. Even though The CW is not an American program service on par with the Big Four (ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox), Seed and Backpackers’ numbers would be mediocre performances on Canada’s Big Four (CBC, CTV, Global, City). Even CBC’s 18 to Life was given three weeks on The CW, and The CW aired two episodes of that sitcom per week.
Backpackers is a “digital series” (read: broadcast-ready webseries) that hasn’t aired on Canadian television in a half-hour form. It got to play on an American broadcast program service; that’s something “traditional” sitcoms like Mr. D and Spun Out can’t currently say. At the same time, Seed and Backpackers shat the bed ratings-wise. Even for acquisitions, Backpackers shedding 240,000 viewers in a week means Backpackers won’t get to the six shows meant for broadcast first-run.
Rogers Media’s involvement with Mr. D, coupled with the announcement of Bruce McCulloch’s Young Drunk Punk, means Seed might not make it to a third season. It’s up to Rogers Media to renew Seed for a third season, but after its disastrous run on The CW, I don’t think it will happen.
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