A devil in search of an image makeover
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…?”