It seems there is no end in sight for comic book properties being bought and turned into movies or television series. Lucifer is one of the newest additions getting the television treatment, and personally this was a title I was looking forward to. With Tom Kapinos (Californication and Dawson’s Creek) at the helm, this seemed like it would be a good fit, though one thing did nag at me. When you have a show called Lucifer, and it is about the devil taking a vacation on Earth, is standard television really the proper outlet for broadcast? As a fan of Californication, I was excited to see what Kapinos would do with the material, and for the most part the show doesn’t disappoint.
When we first meet Lucifer Morningstar (Tom Ellis), he’s already been vacationing on Earth for a few years with no real desire to go back home. He’s a ladies’ man who runs one of the hottest nightclubs in Los Angeles; who can blame him for not wanting to return home? Amenadiel (D.B. Woodside) is an angel that has been tasked by God to not only look after Lucifer but to bring him back to his rightful place in Hell. This is a struggle that stretches throughout the first season but sadly doesn’t seem to carry any weight till later on in the season as we see the two get their hands dirty as they squabble.
If you were hoping for a show that likes to dwell in the demonic or the occult, or anything similar to Preacher, well, you’re going to be disappointed. Instead Lucifer plays out more as a police procedural, murder-of-the-week series. After Lucifer survives a drive by shooting that kills a celebrity, he sets off to solve the crime with homicide detective Chloe Decker (Lauren German) following close behind. How does this even work? Well, Lucifer has a few unique skill sets that come along with being the Prince of Darkness, one of which is getting people to confess their innermost desires or anything Lucifer would like to know about them. Another little trick he has up his sleeve is that he is impervious to most weapons. Unfortunately for Lucifer, for some reason his powers don’t work on Chloe, but this only makes her more of a fun challenge for him to figure out.
My problem with the show (at least the first season) is that it really takes a while before the show really delves into the dark side of Lucifer. Even when things get bad and demons finally make an appearance, too much time is spent defending Lucifer, and we never get to really see him be the devil. Mostly he’s just charming and uses his smooth-talking ways or sex appeal to get what he wants. For a figure who’s punished people in vile ways for thousands of years, he’s kind of a pushover in the show. This is a guy who has ruled the underworld for so long but is easily swayed by the mere mortals who walk the streets, and I just have a hard time buying this.
What it boils down to is this is mostly just your standard procedural that doesn’t get interesting until someone steals a storage unit that happens to contain Lucifer’s angel wings. It’s also at this time when Lucifer discovers his mortality is in jeopardy, and for the first time he has to face the prospect of actually having to face death.
Season 1 for Lucifer somewhat lags a bit from the start as it takes some time introducing some characters. Rachel Harris plays Lucifer’s shrink, Linda Martin; this is one of those opportunities that had such a great setup but simply fell apart as the season progressed. I’d love to see some more couch time between Ellis and Harris; after all, the notion of the devil receiving therapy just seems like such a rich source of material waiting to be plundered. With only 13 episodes in the first season, it feels like the season could have been trimmed down, but hopefully with Season 2 about to start, we’ll get to see each episode step up a little, because this is a show with a lot of potential that just hasn’t seemed to have been tapped just yet.