A devil in search of an im­age makeover

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Viewscreen - Dave Golder

UK Broad­cast Ama­zon Prime In­stant Video, fin­ished US Broad­cast Fox, fin­ished Episodes Re­viewed 1.01-1.12

Wel­come to the horni­est lit­tle devil since Daryl Van Horne in The Witches Of East­wick. Tom El­lis plays Lu­cifer Morn­ingstar, the cus­to­dian of hell who’s grown tired of an eter­nity tor­tur­ing souls and get­ting a bad rap for it. So he de­cides to take a va­ca­tion, be­come a night­club owner in Los An­ge­les and set about a ma­jor im­age makeover, one sex­ual con­quest at a time. Or of­ten, three sex­ual con­quests at a time.

Loosely based on a Ver­tigo comic char­ac­ter cre­ated by Neil Gaiman, Lu­cifer quickly re­cov­ers from a shaky first few episodes to be­come a fluffily en­ter­tain­ing com­edy drama. Em­pha­sis on com­edy. Its main prob­lem is a de­ci­sion to turn it into a po­lice pro­ce­dural show. When a mur­der is com­mit­ted out­side Lu­cifer’s night­club the cop who’s sent to in­ves­ti­gate, Chloe (Lau­ren Ger­man), is sin­gu­larly re­sis­tant to his charm; ev­ery other woman he wants, he gets. This re­sis­tance fas­ci­nates Lu­cifer and hey presto, TV’s new crime­bust­ing duo: the devil and the cop.

The pro­ce­dural el­e­ment is the weak­est thing about the show. Luck­ily, the crimes aren’t that im­por­tant. In­stead a pair of arc plots – one about Lu­cifer’s angel brother Ame­nadiel com­ing to take him back to hell, an­other about one of Chloe’s un­solved crimes rear­ing its head again – dove­tail in clever and un­ex­pected ways. An­other part of the fun is Lu­cifer’s con­tin­u­ing quest to “learn what it is to be hu­man” – he’s like a highly sexed Data with a smutty school­boy hu­mour.

It’s silly, very funny at times and yet knows when to get se­ri­ous. Your en­joy­ment of it may de­pend on your tol­er­ance for El­lis’s highly man­nered per­for­mance – part Carry On Ma­tron, part James Bond, part Draco Mal­foy. There’s also the concern that the show never ad­dresses the fact that Lu­cifer is Ro­hyp­nol in­car­nate: Chloe’s the only woman he wants that he doesn’t get so there must be some­thing su­per­nat­u­ral about his charm. You re­ally want to see a few women wake up go­ing, “Hang on – what did you do to me?” Maybe that’s his les­son in hu­man­ity for sea­son two.

“All ready for your close-up, Miss Smith? Miss Smith…?”

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