7. A Whole World Out There - Constantine
In theory, Constantine was a horror show. The titular Liverpudlian occult detective has been feeding DC Comics fans’ darkest proclivities for decades in Hellblazer and Justice League Dark. Try the Haunted or Son of Man arcs for unpleasant dreams.
Alas, Constantine made the same mistakes as Keanu’s painfully American PG-13 film, favoring Buffy/Supernatural quips and jumpscares over the real red krovvy. Like the film, the show suffered for it, receiving low ratings, mixed reviews and unceremonious cancellation after 1 season.
In 13 episodes, Constantine managed one (1) proper horror story. A Whole World Out There was a tight, vicious paranormal slasher despite TV runtime and pre-watershed gore.
Acting was never Constantine’s problem. Matt Ryan, Angelica Celaya and the standout Charles Halford all delivered, and Jeremy Davies dropped in for a typically excellent guest performance between winning an Emmy for Justified and back-to-back godhood as Jesus Prime in American Gods and the BAFTA-winning Baldur in God of War.
The laurels, however, go to William Mapother as Jacob Shaw. Dear God. Mapother is a confirmed That Guy of American TV, specializing in white-collar Walter Peck assholes and sad sack criminals. None of his previous work suggested anything like Jacob Shaw, a sadistic wizard torturing teens in his own private universe. Mapother’s performance – horror blasphemy time – out-Pinheads Pinhead, replacing Doug Bradley’s cerebral Cenobite with a pure suburban nightmare, the man next door with the too-wide smile and all those tools that look so very sharp. He’ll have you triple-checking your locks for days.