The Devil, You Know
“Lucifer” on FOX
Comic book-based TV shows are becoming so common that even loyal fans can be forgiven for failing to notice when one lands on the airwaves these days. Having doled out most of their big names, Marvel and DC are left with a bunch of relatively obscure properties, most of which wouldn’t even be recognized as comic book-inspired by the general public. Take, for example, FOX’ new supernatural series “Lucifer.” It’s based on the DC/Vertigo series from the ’90s. The book was itself a spin-off of Neil Gaiman’s mega-popular Sandman series. (Speaking of which: How bizarre is it that we have a Sandman spin-off on TV and not the original source material?) Popular as the property might be in certain circles, this is no Superman. Or even Supergirl.
The series follows the adventures of Lucifer Morningstar (British charmer Tom Ellis from “EastEnders” and “Merlin”). Seems that old Satan has gotten a wee bit sick of life in Hell, so he’s opted to take a little “vacation.” When we meet him, he’s moved to Los Angeles and opened a nightclub. So far, it’s fairly close to the comic book series. But since this is on television, producers were forced to play by certain rules. By law now, at least 25 percent of characters on TV must be magical crimesolvers. So, naturally, the ruler of Hell has come to Earth to solve crimes on a weekly basis. He’s teamed up with a hard-nosed (but sexy) female detective (Lauren German from “Hawaii Five-O” and “Chicago Fire”) who also happens to be a single mother to the world’s most adorable little moppet. Producers are leaving absolutely no cliché unturned in their quest to replicate “Castle,” “Bones,” “The Mentalist,” “Elementary,” “Limitless,” “Blindspot,” “iZombie” and every other show that pairs a hunky guy and a sexy girl—one of whom is a hard-nosed cop, one of whom has an uncanny technological or supernatural ability to solve crimes.
“Lucifer” is the work of writer/creator Tom Kapinos (“Californication”), and it’s produced by Jerry Bruckheimer (Pirates of the Caribbean, “CSI”) and Len Wiseman (Underworld, “Sleepy Hollow”). That’s some impressive talent behind the camera, and it’s that level of Hollywood gloss that keeps “Lucifer” from falling into the darkest pits of TV Hell. Cliché setup aside, “Lucifer” is actually wicked good fun. There are the usual flippant jokes, but our anti-hero’s quips have a darker more sexual edge than the usual primetime quips. Seems that Lucifer has the ability to (literally) charm the pants off of any woman. Plus, humans can’t help but spill their deepest, darkest secrets to him. This makes the solving of crimes ridiculously easy. But “Lucifer” seems to be using the cops and robbers stuff as a mere excuse to wander around the lower depths of Los Angeles with a sexy devil. Also, there are hints of a brewing war between Lucifer and the demons he abandoned back home in Hell—which could lead to some richer storylines than the average “crime of the week.”
Cursed with a canned premise, but gifted with some charismatic actors, a slick look and a great big sandbox in which to play, “Lucifer” could become something of a sinful, supernatural pleasure.