I wasn’t sure what to expect prior to heading into the San Diego Comic-Con screening of Fox’s Lucifer television show, aside from the fact that the show is about the devil taking up residence in Los Angeles. Before you jump out of your chair and point your angry finger at the computer screen, yes, I do know the show is based on Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series, but I’ve never read it and didn’t know much about it in the first place. While comic book fans are in an angry uproar about the show’s inaccuracy, procedural cop drama formula, and countless other things, I found myself charmed, amused and most importantly entertained throughout the pilot episode.
The show stars Tom Ellis as Lucifer Morningstar, who like the source material, is a charming fallen angel who’s left his role as Lord of Hell for a swanky bar in the heart of Los Angeles. He’s not here alone, however, as fellow Hell Dweller Mazikeen a.k.a. Maze (Lesley-Ann Brandt) has also come along for the ride. Neither she nor the archangel Amenadiel (D.B. Woodside)–who also just so happens to be his brother–are pleased with what Lucifer is up to on Earth.
But, that doesn’t phase the former ruler of the underworld who seems to be having a whole lot of fun using his powers to convince people to reveal their deepest, darkest desires. He even finagles his way out of getting a speeding ticket at the beginning of the episode with his powers of persuasion, which was a cool and comical way to reveal his abilities. Despite his obvious taste for being devious, the superstar Delilah’s reappearance in his life, her sudden death, and his ruthless quest to find out who offed her shows the first hint of Lucifer’s thirst for some sort of redemption.
After witnessing her murder, the suave protagonist is questioned by Homicide Detective Chloe Dancer, (Lauren German) who much to his dismay is immune to his abilities. Both vexed and intrigued by that fact, Lucifer convinces Chloe to let him help with Delilah’s case. Though it’s the perfect set up for a weekly cop drama, creators of the show claim it won’t feature a new case each episode, which is a relief to hear. Whatever the case, the chemistry between Chloe and Lucifer is enough to keep me watching.
One of the interesting features of Ellis’ performance is his constant honesty about what he is. He doesn’t hide it, but relishes in it and the fact that even if he straight up tells people that his full name is Lucifer Morningstar, they wouldn’t believe him anyways. Unless of course he turns to them and glares at them with this frightening look:
It looks corny, but one of the great things about the show is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. I’ll admit, there were bits and pieces of the episode that weren’t that great, and might have seemed out of place for this type of show, but Ellis’ performance more than makes up for it. The mere fact that he keeps having to remind the rest of the world that he’s immortal is hilarious in and of itself.
The writing is also pretty brilliant. In the first episode alone, there are tons of witty one-liners, that for the majority of the screening had the audience in stitches and hanging on Ellis’ every word. It’s hard to say whether his sarcastic remarks will get old, but it was at least entertaining for the time being. Seeing him woo a therapist into succumbing to her desires, as well as getting a super model to admit she was marrying the scumbag record producer for his money were both fun to watch. I also particularly liked watching him interact with Chloe’s daughter despite the fact that he’s repulsed by children.
As Lucifer’s defenses begin to soften and he starts to sympathize with humans, his brother Amenadiel shows up and attempts to force him to come home. If he doesn’t agree, the dark angel makes it very clear he’s willing to start a war with him. Since he could care less, Lucifer refuses, which puts Maze on his bad side as well. Though Maze is friendly with Lucifer, I could easily see her connecting with Amenadiel over their mutual disapproval of the former devil. I’m most curious about this aspect of the story because I’m hoping it doesn’t end up being as melodramatic/soap opera-esque as it comes across.
From what I understand, Lucifer is meant to be a loose interpretation of Neil Gaiman’s story, and on the surface it is an interesting look at what happens when the devil himself seeks redemption. Considering the subject matter, the show will obviously not be everyone’s cup of tea. But, when you look past that, it’s shaping up to be a refreshing, darkly comedic crime drama that I’m tempted to see more of once it premieres next year.
Did you get a chance to check out the show during Comic-Con? Does it sound like something you’d want to watch? Let us know in the comments below.