The Golden Age of comic book shows on TV may have hit an unexpected bump. While shows like Arrow, The Flash and Gotham have been flying high, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been enjoying a much improved second season, we get the sad news today that Constantine, based on the long-running Vertigo book about the exorcist and master of the dark arts John Constantine, will be capped at just 13 episodes for its first season. But unlike the recent NBC’s recent decision to not order anymore episodes of the comedies Bad Judge and A To Z, the network is not framing this as a defacto cancellation.
Deadline reported this weekend that NBC is calling it a season for Constantine once production ends on its first 13 episodes. Normally, that’s a bad sign because the broadcast TV season runs for 22-23 episodes, with new shows getting a “back nine” episode order if deemed worthy by the success of their first 13. So while the initial news that Constantine will not be greelit for a “back nine” may taken as bad news for the series, there’s a caveat in this instance.
Basically, the late October premiere of Constantine didn’t give NBC enough lead time to know how well the show might do over the long term. Although Constantine hasn’t been a breakout hit, and in fact has been building its audience week-to-week with last Friday’s fifth episode (featuring the first appearance of future Spectre Jim Corrigan played by Emmett Scanlan) improving by 38 per cent over the week before. The network still had to make a call, and that call was to make it a short season.
However, that’s not to say that NBC has no faith in the show. In fact, a Constantine marathon has been run on the Peacock’s cable cousin Sy-Fy, and some of the stars of Constantine will appear during this Thursday’s broadcast of the Macy Thanksgiving Day parade. Combined with the strong DVR numbers and the increase in audience during the live-broadcast and there’s still a lot for NBC to be enthusiastic about regarding Constantine, at least so far as the show getting a second season is concerned.
That’s good news for Constantine fans, and that’s good news for fans of comic book shows on TV. The other two DC Comics-based series that premiered this fall, Gotham and The Flash, have already been picked up for a full season; iZombie will debut later this season and Supergirl looks like it will be part of the TV landscape next fall. But the good news doesn’t stop there. The short season for Constantine may mean a premiere date will soon be set for Hannibal season three, which ran in Constantine’s time slot last winter after the Olympics.
Constantine airs Fridays at 10 pm on NBC.
Source: Bleeding Cool