Lucifer: the devil's charismatic but the show is predictable as hell

Based on a much-loved comic book character from Neil Gaiman’s comic The Sandman, Lucifer is a derivative drama with a satanic twist

What’s the name of this show? Lucifer

The devil from the Bible? Not quite. Lucifer Morningstar is a charismatic nightclub owner created by Neil Gaiman in the Sandman comics, which is sort of like the Bible for comics fans. He also had his own comic book series written by Mike Carey. Tom Kapinos, who created Californication, writes this show.

What’s the difference between Lucifer and the devil? Lucifer (Tom Ellis) lives in Los Angeles – which the devil might well do too. Lucifer is immortal, yes, and he can miraculously get himself out of a pair of handcuffs or get people to confess their deepest desires, but he can’t like grant wishes and make the fire in the fireplace burn brighter like Al Pacino does in The Devil’s Advocate. Oh, also he solves crimes.

When does this show premiere? Monday 25 January at 9pm on Fox.

What happens in the first episode? Lucifer is a little bored of living the good life, so when his favorite drug dealer turns up dead, he starts investigating her murder with steely cop Chloe Dancer (Lauren German). He’s also being implored to return to hell by a crafty demon (DB Woodside).

Is this a comic book show? Not really. Comic book shows are dominated by the Marvel and DC superheroes you can’t swing a remote without hitting. Yes, this is based on a comic, but it’s more of a procedural, where Lucifer uses his gifts and relationship with Chloe to solve a crime every week.

Is it good? It’s enjoyable but sticks to a path more well-trodden than the road to hell. It’s yet another show about a difficult but charismatic man with superpowers, helped by a female law enforcement officer. Chloe, naturally, is a single mother looking out for her cute daughter. Inevitably she works with her ex and of course he is also a cop who is jealous of Lucifer. Naturally, the only person Lucifer’s powers don’t work on is Chloe. It’s like True Blood with more badges and fewer abs. Come to that, it’s also a lot like The Mentalist, Castle, Elementary and plenty of other shows too. But that’s the nature of TV today.

We get it, it’s derivative, but does that make it bad? It just makes it rather dull, as if you’ve already figured out exactly what is going to happen on this show, right down to the episode where Lucifer and Chloe finally get it on. (Season three, winter finale I reckon.) That said, Ellis is devilishly watchable in the title role. The show looks slick and expensive, even the other-worldly special effects, which in some shows can look like something an art student would make in a computer animation class (I’m looking at you, Once Upon a Time). The plot chugs along making the exact number of twists it should at exactly the right times.

With a character like this and an actor as good as Ellis, couldn’t it be something more? Something darker, funnier, and about 237 degrees more twisted? This guy is the devil, for goodness sake, let’s have a little bit of fun with it. I assume as the show progresses we’ll learn a lot more about him and his mythology, which will be fun, but the phyla of demons might become silly and burdensome.

Should I watch this show? If you love the comic and have room in your DVR, this is the perfect thing to half-watch while you try to defeat level 372 of Candy Crush (that damn chocolate!) but most people already have a show so much like it that they love and don’t need another. Of course they do.


Brian Moylan

The GuardianTramp

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