Read More about Constantine, Ep. 1.01, “Non Est Asylum”: Exposition-heavy pilot has charismatic lead
The opening shot of Constantine is quite rich. It’s a medium shot, straight ahead of the Ravenscar Secure Facility. This is the mental asylum that John Constantine (Matt Ryan) turns himself in to when he inadvertently damns the soul of his friend’s daughter, Astra, to Hell in the Hellblazer comic. Immediately, there is a nod to the source material as well as establishing that our protagonist isn’t right in the head or the ethical department, but there’s a tiny chance he could change. “Non Est Asylum” is all about how John Constantine isn’t at home in Heaven or Hell, but somewhere in between (Even though he is currently damned). He, his best friend and driver Chas (a laconic Charles Halford), and friend’s daughter Liv (Lucy Griffiths) are constantly on the move trying to take on the demon Furcifer, who controls electricity and lightning, and wants to damn Liv because her father angered him a while back. Along with this mobile exorcism plot, writers David Goyer and Daniel Cerone build the world of Constantine, where demonic activity and magic are everywhere. They also dig into Constantine’s sordid back-story. Unfortunately, most of this backstory is spilled out through exposition at the most random times, and it seems like the character of Liv only exists to be told stories about his past. However, she won’t be appearing after this episode, and Constantine more than makes up for it with a charismatic performance by Matt Ryan, who has the bearing of the working class mage, and delivers the snarky dialogue that Constantine is famous for in the comics.