Happiness is a Warm TV

FALL TV: ‘Constantine’ isn’t the hero we need

Matt Ryan as John Constantine in NBC’s “Constantine.”
Matt Ryan as John Constantine in NBC’s “Constantine.” Quantrell Colbert/NBC

New show: Constantine

When: 10 p.m. Fridays, NBC

Cast: Matt Ryan, Harold Perrineau, Charles Halford

Premise: John Constantine (Ryan) is a demon hunter and master (well, he declines that ranking) of the occult with a dry sense of humor. When we meet him, he’s retired, having committed himself to an asylum. But evil follows him there so he returns to his day job of fighting evil, despite the fact, as we learn from his guardian angel Manny (Perrineau), that his soul is damned to hell. But there might be a way out…

That’s pretty much the premise of this show based on the DC Comics “Hellblazer” series (of which I’m not an aficionada). What I do know is that this premiere episode doesn’t work, and that’s because we don’t get to know enough about Constantine to invest in his story. The writers have chosen to give us hints about his past, hints that presumably will play out over episodes.

Sorry, we need to know now. As Tina Turner sang, we don’t need another hero. Yet to be successful, “Constantine” should have made us believe we do.