DC Comics’ disheveled wizard John Constantine is no stranger to liminal spaces. He’s stood on every metaphysical border possible in his 30-year history: life and death, heaven and hell, saint and sinner. But now, Constantine stands on the cusp of the most important threshold of all: the one between being on TV and not being on it anymore.
In a possibly ill omen for the show’s continued future, NBC has decided not to extend Constantine’s first season, instead halting production on the show after it completes its initial order of 13 episodes. (By contrast, Constantine’s Friday night lead-in, the popular supernatural drama Grimm, will air a full 22 episodes). NBC gave a similar non-renewal kiss of death to Thursday night comedies Bad Judge and A To Z, neither of which are expected to return next year.
Still, it’s never a good idea to count DC’s chain-smoking, bisexual con man sorcerer out (even if this version of the character isn’t allowed to smoke or have sex with men). Due to NBC’s Friday night block debuting later than the rest of its programming, the network was forced to make its decision on whether to continue production on Constantine on the strength of only four episodes’ worth of ratings. Constantine could still surprise everyone and earn a second season with a strong ratings surge—and, according to Deadline, the show saw a 38-percent ratings bump for the episode that aired immediately after the non-extension decision was made.
NBC is apparently still game to promote the show, too: It recently ran a marathon of the series on Syfy, and Constantine cast members are scheduled to appear on the network’s broadcast of Macy’s Thanksgiving parade. We’re going to pretend that means there’ll be a giant, smoke-belching John Constantine balloon floating down 6th Avenue on Thursday, instead of an awkward, fake smiling interview where series star Matt Ryan tells everyone what he’s thankful for—presumably, still being on TV. For now.