Lucifer – Season 1 Episode 1
Lucifer is a new show based on the DC comic of the same name. I won’t be able to compare this version of the character to the comic book as it’s not something that I have ever read so I’ll just cover it on its merits as a show without any references to the source material. I may read it at some stage but for now I’m pretty blind. That’s fine because first and foremost a TV show has to stand on its own merits and work as a stand-alone work so I’ll be able to judge it as such.
On the surface this show might seem like a frustrating idea as there are countless buddy procedural detective shows with some kind of hook. Limitless is a recent example of this and there are many others that I haven’t watched. I was drawn to this one because I saw a trailer and wanted to give it a shot.
So far I’m pretty impressed with what I see. The idea of the Biblical Lucifer (Tom Ellis) being bored of his role as the ultimate evil and taking some time off to walk the Earth is something that really appeals to me and this show has a lot of fun with it. It definitely demands to be taken as almost completely tongue in cheek and works well as a result.
Tom Ellis is a really good choice for Lucifer. Again, I don’t know how the character compares to the comic version but I like the way he is presented here. Ellis plays him as a supremely arrogant and apparently carefree individual with a playful edge who really delights in observing human behaviour. Despite his arrogance he is always likable and his attitude of near constant amusement is a lot of fun to watch. He will lead this show well.
When people are around Lucifer they tend to show their true selves which usually translates to a confession of their darkest desires. With the show being set in Los Angeles there’s no shortage of human depravity for him to sift through and I find this interesting with a lot of possibilities. This episode leans on it a little too heavily but there’s nothing wrong with the concept.
Very early on it’s established that he isn’t evil but he isn’t especially good either. He is above morality as we understand it in many ways but has defined ideas of what he considers acceptable and unacceptable. It’s unclear how long he has been on Earth but since he owns a club I’m guessing it’s a significant number of years.
In that time he has forged relationships with some humans and regards them highly. One example is the pop star Delilah (AnnaLynne McCord) who used to work in his club and was introduced by Lucifer to the influential people that she needed to kickstart her career.
They only share one scene together but it shows that he cares about her in a very tangible way and is devastated when she is gunned down. He sees himself as somewhat responsible for her death and takes it upon himself to find out who is responsible.
Enter Chloe Dancer (Lauren German), a homicide detective with a chip on her shoulder because apparently there’s no other kind in these sorts of shows. She is fighting an uphill battle to be taken seriously as people still judge her for her past as an actress who did a nude scene. Like Lucifer she is on a quest to be redeemed in the eyes of others but neither of them will easily admit it.
She and Lucifer work together on the case and it remains compelling without. Each person questioned reveals a little but more about Lucifer to some really entertaining results such as getting a woman to admit the real reason she’s marrying someone or a discussion he has with a hip hop artist about how much he detests his music. It even manages to diffuse the race issue by him making it clear that it’s a vendetta against his music personally and has nothing to do with race.
Chloe is more of the partner in the case but enough insight is given about her to keep her interesting. She doesn’t feel compelled to confess everything about herself to him and only does so when she actually wants to do it. Lucifer is fascinated by her complexity as a human being and is motivated to keep working with her to learn more about her. For him it’s more fun to spend time finding out what makes someone tick rather than them offering it up immediately.
I did find her agreeing to let him work with her to be a little too convenient as she goes from being dismissive of him to accepting his help a little too quickly. I didn’t quite believe how pleasant she acted towards him by the end even if she had been shot and saved by him. It’s also disappointing that she knows about his immortality so soon, I would have liked the show to play with her being ignorant of that fact for a while longer.
Further intrigue is added for Lucifer when he meets the therapist Linda Martin (Rachael Harris) who visibly surprises him by her level of insight. It’s clear that it’s something that he was unaware of and he really wants to explore that. Having him confess how he feels to a human should be interesting over the course of the season.
This is a fairly brief overview but as pilots go it’s pretty simple. It seems that the bulk of the focus will be on Lucifer and Chloe which works for me as it’s an engaging dynamic so far. It definitely feels like a fairly standard procedural on the surface but I like the gimmick of the Devil solving crimes and the fact that people confess their darkest desires to him easily. It leaves plenty of scope for some really funny scenes as people admit things they have never admitted to anyone.
I also like that he is visited by an Angel named Amenadiel (D.B. Woodside) who passes on God’s disapproval of what Lucifer is doing. There’s a sense that Amenadiel has a darker purpose as he talks about wanting a War. It’s not a perfect start but the show definitely has potential.