Jan 23, 2017

[TV] Lucifer: Season 1

Tom Ellis was rather charming on Miranda as the rather adorkable love interest Gary. There was something about him being all awkward and unsure that made his character so endearing.

So it was a little weird to hear that he had signed on for Lucifer to portray the titular fallen angel. And this wasn't just any random depiction of Lucifer - it was based on the Neil Gaiman character that had initially appeared in his Sandman comics. And so it was a particular version of the character that initially looked a lot like David Bowie at Gaiman's request.

So yeah, it felt like a bit of a jump to go from Gary to Lucifer. But beyond that it also wasn't too clear what direction the show would take since it was obvious that they weren't going to depict his initial story arc in Sandman nor were they going to just adapt the standalone Lucifer comics either.

So instead we got a weird police procedural that wasn't terrible but wasn't all that great either.

Synopsis: Lucifer is an American fantasy drama TV series developed for Fox by Tom Kapinos. The show is generally based on Neil Gaiman's version of the character created for Vertigo Comics.

The show naturally follows Lucifer Morningstar (Tom Ellis), who has resigned his throne in Hell and now lives in Los Angeles. While his primary amusement involves a nightclub he runs with the demon Mazikeen or Maze (Lesley-Ann Brandt), he eventually crosses paths with Detective Chloe Decker (Lauren German), who appears to be immune to Lucifer's powers of persuasion. One thing leads to another and he decides to assist Decker with her investigation, which leads to the larger show format of Lucifer trying to act as an independent consultant on various police cases.

Lucifer's logic here is that helping Decker solve crimes leads to finding criminals to "punish", which is much like his old role in Hell. But in time he realizes that he's changing with his time with Decker including his being invulnerable no longer being quite as reliable. At the same time he's also closely watched by Amenadiel (D.B. Woodside), who is essentially Lucifer's older angelic brother from Heaven. He continues to attempt to get Lucifer to return to his role in Hell without results.

What I Liked: Tom Ellis really worked hard on bringing a particular brand of Lucifer to the screen. While it wasn't quite David Bowie, it was certainly an interesting take on the character that had him doing his best to be sleazy yet charming in every single episode.

The writers also did well to attempt to add some quirky plot twists into the show such as the implied possibility that he might be turning mortal or something. Decker is one big mystery that includes an ex-husband and daughter. Don't expect an immediate explanation as to why she seems to have this effect on Lucifer though - obviously it's something the writers decided early on to save for later on.

What Could Have Been Better: Tom Ellis may work hard on his brand of Lucifer but the overall effect isn't always quite amazing. Throw in the tedium of the police procedural format and a lot of the show quickly becomes something alien and forgettable despite how brilliant the original comic book character was.

And it's a shame since Lucifer is quite the awesome creation. In the end it didn't feel too clear to me what the writers wanted to do with him given his somewhat vague ability to get people to confess their deepest desires and the inconsistent help he could provide to the LAPD. It's not all that clear why Decker continued to humor his efforts to provide assistance in his less than ideal and often unscrupulous manner.

TL;DR: Lucifer is an odd creation that won't make you think about the suave, scheming character Neil Gaiman created. Instead you get something else entirely in a tiring police drama that doesn't quite deliver a solid TV experience. Thus the first season only gets 2 sad attempts to make Lucifer cool out of a possible 5.

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