Have you ever seen something which resembles a thing you like very much, but the details are all slightly wrong, and it makes you dislike the thing? When I was a kid, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away (also known as the 1970s), I wanted a black leather jacket just like the one worn by The Fonz. I asked for it as a Christmas present. My parents got me a brown faux-leather jacket in a sportscoat style rather than the black motorcycle jacket Fonzie wore. “It’s just as good,” they said. While it was a very good brown faux-leather sportscoat style jacket, quite stylish and durable, it was not a black jacket like Fonzie wore, and I was never able to forget that while wearing it.
“Constantine” is very close to its source material, “Hellblazer.” They did get some of the surface details right (the trenchcoat, Newcastle, dislike of angels). Of course, they had to change things, tone it down in many ways, due to it being on a broadcast network rather than HBO or Showtime or one of those channels (the smoking, the swearing, the amorality). As for the pilot story, it didn’t end the way I thought it should end, based on my reading of the comic books, and that was the most glaring problem of all, for me.
“Constantine” is not “Hellblazer” but it’s just as good … as long as you can forget the original while watching it.