Public Service Announcement 18 of 2018: Lucifer

Once the Catholic in me had come to terms with watching a procedural drama called Lucifer, in which the Prince of Darkness himself is the sort-of-hero, I enjoyed it: actually, I thought it improved as the first season went on, with one or two episodes which were really very good indeed. So I’m delighted that the second season – which has been available in the UK on Amazon – is now making its way to broadcast TV, even if that pleasure is tempered by the recent announcement that the show has been cancelled after its third year. Won’t stop me watching, though. And shipping (tonight, 9pm, FOX UK).

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Lucifer s1 ep 3

First things first. We have to deal with the hornèd, cloven-footed elephant in the room, and it’s that this cradle Catholic has a qualm or two about saying anything approving with reference to a show which (a) is named Lucifer and (b) features Lucifer as a appealing and good-looking bad boy. So every time I text CJ to say something like “I really like Lucifer”, or “Thursday night is Lucifer night”, or “YOU TOTALLY NEED TO GET LUCIFER INTO YOUR LIFE!!!!!111!”, there’s a hard-wired part of me seeking absolution. And so – even though if there is a God, He knows, by definition, that it’s an American network procedural I’m talking about – I want to make it clear to Him that this is all about Lucifer-the-show, not Lucifer-the-Prince-of-Darkness.

Anyway. How does Lucifer stack up so far? Pretty… well, I guess? The ludicrous premise is that Lucifer Morningstar (a camply charming Tom Ellis) has got bored of the underworld – although there have been a few allusions to some sort of political dispute in Hell, in which I am not very interested – and has instead, as one does, pitched up in Los Angeles, where he owns a nightclub. In the first episode a pop star of Lucifer’s acquaintance is murdered. The investigation is helmed by the razor-sharp-cheekboned Detective Chloe Decker (Lauren German, late of H50), single mom and ex-actor, and Lucifer – obviously – muscles into the investigation, helping to to solve the crime because he thinks that people who have done bad things should be punished for them, while he and Chloe bicker. This pattern is followed in episodes 2 (film star’s son killed) and 3 (American footballer’s hookup killed).

I suppose you could argue that this third episode showed some signs of Luciferian personal development, because he feels responsible for the footballer being arrested, but that apart the plotting is from the procedural playbook: with the tried-and-tested combination of smart, snarky female cop and wisecracking male freelancer with Special Powers, it’s nothing we haven’t seen before. It’s Castle without the writer, or The Mentalist with the devil; The Satanist, if you will. It isn’t even as if Lucifer is hiding his true identity: there’s the name, the black car, the dark clothing, and his free admission that he can persuade people to reveal their darkest desires because he’s, well, Lucifer, safe in the knowledge that no-one will believe him anyway.

It’s all pretty good fun, with the very evident potential to become better, and there isn’t really much more that I want from a procedural. (I also approve of Linda, the nerdy-hot psychiatrist who is Lucifer’s confidant and occasional sexytimes partner.) As well as a readymade ship – and, yes, I am shipping them – the Lucifer/Chloe dynamic benefits from her inscrutability: Lucifer’s powers don’t work on her, and he wants to know why. And there’s the occasional hint of out-and-out nastiness rounding things off: every now and again Lucifer manifests himself as a demon rather than an English-accented smoothie, which of course terrorises those who see it. The end of the second episode, where Chloe visits the baddie from the first episode, now hospitalised because he’s maintaining that the man who caught him is the Devil, was proper shivers-down-the-spine stuff: he’s in a state of terror, but is assumed to be delusional. Oh no he isn’t.

So. No weekly reviews, because it’s total nonsense, but yes: I’m into Lucifer. The show. THE SHOW.