TV Review: LUCIFER (2015) – Season 1 -This Devil Is Damn Interesting
The Fox television network is known for their impatience with good shows. According to that, they’ve also developed a nasty stigma for cancelling shows before they reach their potential. So imagine my cautious approach to one of their newest shows that seemed to grow on me over time. Being worried that if the show was brilliant, Fox would likely cancel it due to low rating or a general sense of ‘not getting it’. But nay! The show survived, and has even been renewed for Season 2.
Let’s find out why in this TV Review of ‘Lucifer‘ Season 1.
‘Lucifer‘ is adapted from a DC Comics character, the biblical Devil, and is about his adventures on Earth, slumming it with humans after he forcefully retires from Hell and becomes a night club owner in Los Angeles, California. Knowing nothing about the comic character, I expected the show to be very much along the lines of ‘Supernatural‘ or last season’s cancelled ‘Constantine‘. But I was glad to find I was wrong.
When involved in a homicide investigation, care-free and hedonistic Lucifer Morningstar (Tom Ellis) who makes absolutely no attempts to hide the fact that he’s the former Devil, comes across the beautiful detective Chloe Decker (Lauren German) who is immune to his supernatural charms. Intrigued, Lucifer manipulates certain situations to be assigned as consultant to her during her investigations, as he realizes that being a part of seeking justice is a far more preferable alternative to his previous job of doling out punishment.
The buddy-cop element is provided by the impulsively relentless nature of Lucifer, an individual devoid of the inhibitions or filters of people in a conventional social society, and his more straight laced female cop in Chloe who never once believes he is truly the Devil, something that is a running gag through the season. I actually like the fact that the show isn’t the Devil and a hot lady-cop going around solving supernatual crimes. It’s more of a straight up crime-drama where the main character is the Devil himself, who’s beginning to develop a conscious… and all the messed up issues that come with it. Best way to describe it is as ‘Castle‘, if the character of Castle was an irresponsible demon who prides himself on taking part in every sin possible with no shame or guilt.
For a procedural network show, ‘Lucifer‘ really takes its time to establish the premise and its own formula, which doesn’t happen until at least 3-4 episodes into the season. On top of which, for a show dealing with Angels and Demons, the religious and supernatural powers aspect of the back story is kept to an intentional minimum; no more significant than back handed references or sarcastic comments. This was a brilliant move by the writers as it allows the characters to develop further, without throwing in gratuitious special effects and other fluff at the audience.
All of Season 1 is almost building up the character of Lucifer with each episode exploring a certain aspect of his psyche. Lucifer then sorts through these emotions with the help of a psychiatrist played by Rachael Harris (‘Suits‘) who he pays with casual sex, of course. During his adventures on Earth, Lucifer is also plagued by his brother Amenadial (D. B. Woodside) who has been assigned by God himself to bring Lucifer back to his righteous place in Hell. These plot points are what make up Season 1, but the stories are much more real world based, instead of being fantastical in nature.
This allows the writers to let the relationships in the show grow organically, allow the the dynamics between each of the characters to develop, and the rare visual effects probably also helps the budget too, keeping things on the happy with Fox. Along with great writing though, ‘Lucifer‘ is a show carried by Tom Ellis and his delightfully charming portrayal of the main character. As with the rest of the show, he takes time to be convincing, but after the first 5 episodes, he is the Devil personified, but isn’t watered down for network purposes. Ellis’ depiction of the Devil is as far as it can go on network television, while still being amusing and funny. At the same time when Ellis flips the switch to become incredibly filled with pathos, it’s a great turn, and he plays the sad clown to perfection. Ellis displays even broader range when he needs to become the vengeful Devil that everyone knows him as.
The show isn’t without flaws; the biggest of which has to be the second lead, actress Lauren German. With expressions that seem solidified through cosmetic surgery, it’s a good thing that German plays the straight character in the show, because her uptight portrayal suits her inability to properly emote. Scenes requiring some display of emotion are cringeworthy and the actress over all is quite stiff in almost every episode. However, with a supporting cast that also features Kevin Alejandro, (‘True Blood‘) she’s bareable.
‘Lucifer‘ may not be must-see television, but for a supernatural comic book adaptation, the series really focuses on the characters and their significance to the stories, rather than using mystical and fantastical concepts as plot devices to push the story forward. ‘Lucifer’s greatness lies in those characters and their internal struggles, more so than the external world that the story is set in. However, that’s not to say that the magic and supernatural isn’t going to be a big part of the series, as so emphatically seen in the last moments of the Season 1 Finale. I, for one, am excited for what the show will be able to do in Season 2.