While there is nothing that’s bad about the pilot — it’s watchable and enjoyable throughout — it can feel rushed at times, or hastily stitched together. I’m hesitant to make a firm judgment on the series, though, not just because pilots sometimes aren’t indicative of what the full series will look like, but also because Constantine in particular is actively trying to figure things out. Liv’s character is set up to be Constantine’s sidekick-slash-protégé, the wide-eyed yet strong woman who is thrust into this new world and helps him on his journey — both his demon-killing and personal journey — while learning some pretty weird stuff about herself. She’s not the strongest aspect of the pilot, especially because, as mentioned, she’s mostly there to ask questions and run from a demon, so she doesn’t get a chance to stand out or come into her own as a character.
Everyone behind Constantine clearly agrees; Liv was written out of the series (she’ll be replaced by another character from the comics: Zed), and the pilot makes it clear that this was a last-minute decision, and is visibly hampered by it. There were two pilots sent out to critics: the original set up Liv to be an ongoing character, while the second, the one that will air tonight, relegates her to guest actress and makes hasty edits to explain the choice. So that makes it hard to really form an opinion on Constantine based on the pilot because it’s certainly going to be different next week. This episode may be a bit muddled at times, and Constantine may be a lighter character than I prefer, but it’s entirely possible that this will all get fixed quickly.
Doing away with the notion of Constantine as a mentor to Liv and instead pairing him with Zed, a character who will act more as his equal, puts the show in a better position to focus on going deep into these fun, eerie, supernatural mysteries without slowing down for Constantine to give lessons to a rookie demon hunter. If Constantine can aim darker and focus more on keeping the literal and figurative demons at bay, it can become one of the breakout hits of the season. If it stays light and confused, it’ll just become another forgotten procedural.