Fox is going to have a devil of a time trying to get certain factions of the population to watch a show about a self-centered egomaniac who is spending time on Earth as a veritable vacation from the literal Hell he is normally stuck in. Having noted this, Fox’s new series Lucifer is as fun and flashy as its promotions have promised. Just don’t go into this one expecting anything more extraordinary.
Lucifer, as you may have already guessed, follows Lucifer Morningstar (Tom Ellis), who has escaped Hell in order to have a little fun on earth running a nightclub and playing with the lives of mere mortals. He’s apparently been doing this for a while when one of his so-called projects gets murdered, leading him to meet Detective Chloe Dancer (Chicago Fire’s Lauren German). Since Lucifer is the literal devil, he’s great at convincing people to respond to questions they might not normally otherwise be willing to answer. This trickery leads to plenty of light-spirited comedy during the hour-long drama. It also leads Lucifer to become a very helpful police consultant.
The series, created by Tom Kapinos, plays on the notion that Lucifer Morningstar might not be all bad, that God sent him down to Hell as the best option to take care of the souls who reside there. But it’s safe to say that Lucifer has some daddy issues, making him an even more complex character than you would expect from this sort of show. Fox actually does a lot to expand upon the basic procedural elements with Lucifer, introducing characters like psychologist Linda (Suits’ Rachael Harris), who help Lucifer delve into who he is and why he is on Earth.
Another subplot also fills in the blanks a bit more and connects Lucifer with his past and potential future. Unfortunately, it’s the thinnest of the subplots, featuring Lucifer’s Ninja underling Mazikeen (Spartacus’ Lesley-Ann Brandt) doing some dirty work for the Great Creator’s other child Amendial (Suits’ D.B. Woodside), who wants Lucifer to get his butt back in Hell. Maze is a total badass and Amendial is pretty clever, but mostly these additions feel like Fox is trying really valiantly, but not effectively, to avoid a basic procedural. I honestly think Lucifer's skill sets and his unconventional connection to Chloe help the show to stand on its own.
Lucifer is based on a popular Vertigo comic created by Neil Gaiman. Obviously, with the procedural element, it’s vastly different from its comic counterpart. Still, I have to say the procedural element works pretty well, although it may need to expand at some point. So far, in the three cases I was able to witness, Lucifer has had at least one connection with one individual who is somehow involved with each case. I get that he’s not working every case Chloe is working, but Los Angeles is huge. Are you really telling me that Lucifer has meddled with that many human’s lives? Regardless, I will do my best to suspend my disbelief in future weeks and just go along for the ride.
And what a ride this is. I can’t iterate enough how fun Lucifer is. Tom Ellis manages to be smarmy and charming, sometimes in the same breath. Whoever was the casting director on this show also had his or her act together, pulling in a ton of actors who have been fan favorites on other shows and who have the chops to pull off a drama about the devil wreaking a little havoc—and sometimes making amends for havoc wreaked—in Los Angeles. Did I mention True Blood’s Kevin Alejandro is in this? He plays Chloe’s ex and the father of her adorable kid, and his alpha male exchanges with Lucifer are something we can get behind.
Lucifer won’t be a show for everyone. It’s especially not a show for those who want intense and heavy dramas in their TV schedule every night of the week, but it certainly has the potential to be a show for a lot of people. I’ll be recommending it to my mom.
Fox’s Lucifer will appear like a bat outta hell on Monday, January 25 at 9 p.m. ET. In addition, if you’d like to see what else the networks have coming up this winter, take a look at our midseason TV premiere schedule.
Photo courtesy of Fox.