Here is a simple question. What happens when Satan decides he’s bored with running Hell and decides he wants a vacation on Earth? The answer is simple. You have the TV show Lucifer.
Adapted from a DC Vertigo comic by Neil Gaiman, this series stars Tom Ellis as the fallen angel, Lucifer Morningstar, as he has chosen to vacation in one of the most decadent cities (at least as told in the series) ever, that being Los Angeles. He has abandoned Hell, started a successful nightclub, has an amazing apartment, drives a phenomenal hotrod of a sports car, and is surrounded by the most amazingly beautiful women. He even manages to seduce the occasional hot guy. Is it any wonder? And yet with all of that Lucifer is still somewhat bored until he stumbles across a murder and suddenly finds himself partnered with a police detective named Chloe Decker (Lauren German), who has become something of a curiosity to him. Lucifer still has quite a few scary powers, especially a talent to find out what people truly desire, but that doesn’t work on the detective. He is absolutely fascinated by her “immunity” to him, thus begins his journey in police work, as well as some romantic feelings on his part for Decker. This is only complicated by the fact that her estranged husband is also in the same precinct, and she is raising a daughter. However, Lucifer isn’t entirely alone either. One of his chief demons, one very scary lady named Mazikeen (Lesley-Ann Brandt), works for Lucifer and is even willing to do things he won’t. Apparently he’s a devil with a set of personal guidelines, which is where Maze (as Lucifer likes to refer to her) comes in and does much of his especially dirty work.
As the series progresses we are introduced to some other interesting people, the first being Lucifer’s brother, the angel Amenadiel (D.B. Woodside), who is initially sent to convince Lucifer to resume his position in Hell. Naturally that doesn’t go anywhere. There is also Lucifer’s psycho-therapist/part-time lover in Dr. Linda Martin (Rachael Harris), and it is with her that much of the series, and Lucifer’s development as a person, revolves. Her role is so crucial she is actually the first mortal who learns of his secret, which after showing some initial trauma, recovers and handles the news surprisingly well. The series took a very interesting turn when Lucifer, during his own version of a near-death experience, finds himself temporarily back in hell, compliments of “dear old dad” (I don’t have to specify who that is) for the purposes of showing him something important. Once revived and mended Lucifer reveals to his brother that the most dangerous soul in all of Hell has managed to break free during his absence, and that the both of them need to be very much worried and on their guard. Yes, they are about to be visited by their mother! Played by Tricia Helfer, mum’s spirit inhabits the body of a high rolling attorney in Los Angeles, which sends the spirit of the attorney down to Hell since she’s not been a very nice person. Most of this part of the story is sort of played for laughs, but reaches a boiling point when it becomes clear that Mum can’t stay because her spirit is literally splitting the seams of the body she’s wearing. Mum is cast off into another dimension and the spirit of Charlotte returns, just in time for someone else in Lucifer’s past to come a knockin’ on his door to cause trouble, only this time it’s the world’s first murderer. Cain (Tom Welling) has come to Los Angeles, and is the new chief of the precinct that Chloe works at. He’s there for a reason. He wants to die, but cannot because of the curse that God placed on him. Lucifer, on the other hand, would love to see Cain dead only because he just detests the guy. The season, and sadly it seems the series as well, ended with a couple of deaths, and a cliffhanger that has fans ready to raise Hell if they don’t get something more to bring about a resolution to this story.
This series went through a very peculiar evolution. In the beginning it was almost a bit of a satire on the human condition, with Lucifer as humanity’s chief indictor. He had a somewhat negative perspective when it came to humanity, and that viewpoint served him well when he initially started working with Detective Decker. His understanding of people, in conjunction with his power to tempt the truth of people’s desires out of them, made him a formidable character for Decker to work with. Unfortunately, while that particular talent does come off as interesting when the series began, it is something that can be overplayed, and such was the case here. The writers wisely took Lucifer’s character in another direction, and in doing so, also altered that of Amenadiel. The series then began to oddly enough mirror the relationship between mortals and the Gods out of Greek Mythology, showing how the Greek Gods were actually much more flawed than mere mortals. Perhaps that’s part of the statement that showrunners wanted for this series, to show that being brought into the universe as an immortal, “cosmic being,” already lands you with disadvantages when it comes to understanding yourself and the world around you, while mortals, because of the limited amount of time and understanding they possess, are continually striving for self-improvement. Lucifer doesn’t desire any of this initially, although whenever he feels that he’s not relating to Decker he would consult with Dr. Martin, and as she would try to give him sage advice to help him grow, he would turn it around and make it all about himself thereby driving home the point that Lucifer, in spite of all his power and understanding of Heaven and Hell, is actually a complete idiot. Even when Decker is being pursued by a potential suitor (You’ll have to watch the series to see who it is, and how it plays out.) all Lucifer can think about how to eliminate the competition instead of finding the strength to tell Decker how he feels about her. As much as I enjoyed the series as a whole, I found this characteristic in Lucifer to be irritating. I understood that he couldn’t have all the answers all the time because we would then have a deus ex machina type of situation here, but for the series to take the extreme opposite position took something out of the character. He became too nice and likable. It was also the same with Mazikeen, who out of jealous anger and an insatiable desire to return to Hell, had temporarily become a ruthless person bent on killing whoever was needed if it got what she wanted, and it was through her friendship with Dr. Martin that she too finds some redemption.
This last season posed the idea that we are who we are because of who we choose to be, and it’s those choices that can either limit us or liberate us. This is a very compelling idea, coupled with some of the redeeming aspects of the show that started to take the series into a potentially very exciting direction. Sadly, right before the series aired its final episode, with one of the best cliffhangers ever, the news came down that the series had been cancelled. It was especially shocking for all concerned with this series only because the showrunners deliberately ended the year with that cliffhanger with the firm belief that the Fox Network would then be obliged to renew it. Unfortunately that didn’t work out. I can only wonder if the person who made the final decision to not renew Lucifer did so only because “the devil made him do it.”
However, all is not entirely lost. While no announcement has been made regarding Lucifer’s future, Tom Ellis was at a convention in London recently and said that because of the enormous fan outcry that there is now some type of conversation going on about finishing the story. He was being deliberately vague on the subject, except to say that there was “some talking” going on. Regardless of whatever happens, Lucifer was an exciting series to watch, even with its shortcomings, because of the controversial risk it was taking in telling these stories. Having a series that features the Devil on Earth, who is not only charming and handsome, but essentially a good guy as well, was certainly bound to irritate a nice chunk of the TV watching public. Nonetheless, by doing so it allowed for some interesting questions to be asked from time to time, with Lucifer as being that mirror in which we could examine those questions. Lucifer very well may have gone before its time, but it definitely left a mark in fantasy TV programming, and will continue to resonate for some time.
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