What do you do when Hell bores you? You take a vacation. Lucifer is another, but not so typical superhero series, about Lucifer Winterbottom – I mean Morningstar, who spends his days drinking, screwing and driving too fast in Los Angeles. He’s rather smug, but that’s just a side effect of his immortality. It’s not quite clear what his powers are exactly. He has a way of making people tell their deepest desires to him; that seems to be his (god given) gift, but handcuffs don’t bother him neither. Basically, he’s capable of doing just about anything except mind reading; that’s the business of Jedi.
Ranked #2 in our ‘Top 10 Most Promising Fall 2015 Series’, I had great expectations for Lucifer, starring Tom Ellis (Rush, Miranda, Merlin). Cool, funny and fast. To be fair, that’s exactly what we get. The thing is, there’s not much else underneath. Like many comic book adaptations, whether in movies or on television, any kind of substance is a rarity. One of the exceptions is X-Men, which is a story about racism and discrimination. A group of people being shut out and hunted down, because of the way they were born. The movies are still very much about action and shapeshifting, but the themes in there connect the subject matter to the real world. Any minority’s able to identify with the struggle of the ‘mutants’, while the majority – let’s say the caucasian white male – wants nothing more than to be part of a minority.
These kind of themes are big ones, and not every show should have one of those. However, if you don’t have any at all, superhero superficiality lies in wait. And that’s a little the case with Lucifer. On first viewing, this is a show about a dark angel, wreaking havoc on Earth and doing it in style. Slick suit, smug talk, living out everybody’s wildest dreams. Ellis is very enjoyable as the titular character, much more than his portrayal of the smug talking doctor in the short-lived USA series Rush. But who is this guy, really? It’s fun to watch him walk through glass doors, get shot multiple times and live, do his eye trick and make everybody say what they don’t want to say, but there’s not a whole lot of character there. It’s a facade. A cool, look-at-me kind of facade, but still.
The Odd One Out
He fled from Hell, looks for exciting things to do and a murder investigation falls into his lap. He partners up with a cop who appears to be immune to his charms, Chloe Dancer (Lauren German, Happy Town, Chicago Fire, Hawaii Five-O). It’s one of those routines where two partners are each other’s complete opposites. The case brings them to psychologist Linda (the very funny Rachael Harris, Suits, Surviving Jack). Because Lucy Wigglesworth has got some daddy issues (and because he promised her sex), he pays her a visit later. And then, there’s Amenadiel. D.B. Woodside (Suits, 24) has hung up his suit, kissed Jessica goodbye and got himself a set of big black wings. He’s trying to get Lucifer back to the Underworld. They’re all larger than life characters, which makes Chloe look like the odd one out. She pales in comparison, although towards the end of the pilot, when she opens up to Lucy Bencumberdict, we get a glimpse of something more than just a girl in uniform without a sense of humor.
There’s only been the pilot, obviously. Maybe there’s a plan to give the show more gravitas, but pilots usually do make their intentions clear right away. If only to ease the minds of the heads of the network. There has to be something in the story, a starting point, a promise of this is what it’s all about. This is why we’ve created the show in the first place. I’d like to believe that networks make their decision whether or not to pick up a new series, based on the potential shown in the first episode. I don’t see it, yet. Lucy Frankenstruddle just wants to have a good time. That’s not a series, that’s entertainment with the least bit of entertainment value you can think of.