Thoughts from Joe Zettelmaier, one of the hosts of The Devil You Know:
First episodes are a tricky thing. You have to hook your audience, and hook ’em fast. Give them a strong sense of their protagonist (I won’t call them “hero”) and convince them to invest in said protagonist. It gets even trickier with some genre-specific programming…sci-fi, horror, comic-based, etc. You often have to create a world with rules altogether different from what we know as reality. You have to give the audience some sense of these rules, all while getting them to follow the protagonists journey. And the exposition? Don’t get me started on the exposition. So much history to convey, so many clues to lay out…Creating a solid first episode is like juggling cats. It’s not impossible, but blood will likely be drawn.
Tony and I discussed the premiere episode of Constantine a lot. We both came to the same conclusion: a solid B grade. Was it perfect? No. There’s some choppy storytelling, a very passive secondary lead who seems to be there only to ask questions, stuff like that. But we both agree there’s a lot that works too. Matt Ryan has the potential to be a great Constantine. Hard to gauge this early on, but there’s a great world-weariness to him. He gets the snark, he gets the rough edges, and he really shines in the moments where we see how willing he is to sacrifice others. That’s John Constantine. He’s not a great person. He’s that charming friend that always leads you into the worst trouble. You kinda love him, but you also kinda wanna beat him stupid.
Most importantly, Episode 1 did what a first episode should do; it made me really want to see the next episode. I’m invested enough in the characters that I’m genuinely curious to see what happens to them. Questions have been asked that I want answers too. Also, Zed shows up next week. Who’s Zed, you ask? Tune in next week. My gut tells me it’ll absolutely be worth it.
Head over to Feedback at Golden Spiral Media and let us know what you thought! And while you’re at it, check out some of the other great podcasts there.