Is it possible for someone known for being evil personified to have a shot at redemption or an opportunity for a shot at sunshine? What would that person do with an opportunity like that? Would they waste it or embrace it? That’s part of the premise behind Fox’s new show “Lucifer,” which followed the title character given the opportunity to explore his humanity without completely abandoning his unique personality. Sure, the show could use some room for improvement, but it offered an interesting premise nonetheless.
“Lucifer” followed Lucifer Morningstar (Tom Ellis) who tired of living in Hell and was eager for a change of pace. He decides to move to Los Angeles for a life of utter hedonistic chaos. That all changes when a friend of his was murdered right next to him in a shootout that left him as the only survivor, and the only one eager for justice early on. Lucifer decided that his life as a seemingly charming club owner needed some purpose, so he inserted himself into the murder investigation that allowed him to cross paths with Chloe (Lauren German), the detective assigned to the case. She was the only person who appeared to not succumb to Lucifer’s charm at getting people to reveal their darkest desires to him. She was a cop with something to prove that included acting in a movie that she would love to forget and a professional blunder that she hasn’t been able to live down. Chloe’s daughter (Scarlett Estevez) liked Lucifer and how he came to her defense after she was bullied by a girl at school. Unfortunately, Lucifer also rubbed Chloe’s colleague and ex Dan (Kevin Alejandro) the wrong way, which could come back to haunt him later on now that he was going to be a full time consultant with the LAPD. Lucifer also had to contend with Amenadiel (D.B. Woodside) who was looking to start a war with his rival in the worst way. Amenadiel was a angel who visited Los Angeles to tell Lucifer to go back to where he came from to restore order to the underworld. He also sensed that Lucifer could change in a way that might affect everything else as well. Luckily, he had allies in his bartender (Lesley-Ann Brandt) and his easily manipulated therapist Linda (Rachael Harris) to help put things into perspective for him. Will he listen to their somewhat helpful advice or ignore everything entirely? That remained to be seen.
In terms of answering questions, the biggest one involved whether this show had the ability to last past the first season. The shows that seem to have promise early on had a tendency to fade away rather quickly and never fully recovering. Fox was also one of a few networks that tended to cancel shows a lot earlier than they should have been, while letting some linger on for far too long. The show’s main premise tried to mix supernatural elements with routine cop show plots that can be seen on other programs on a regular basis. Luckily, the show’s saving grace was that the generic murder of the week case a secondary plot that allowed Ellis’ Lucifer to behave like a kid in a candy store as he plotted to draw unexpected truths out of potential murder suspects that no mortal person could do without numerous hours in an interrogation room. The series premiere also focused on the prickly interplay between Ellis and German that mixed insults and minor bouts of flirtation that should remain casual for a while; unless the show’s writers make a mistake by turning Lucifer and Chloe’s partnership into a romantic one. That idea would be a mistake and also a somewhat doomed relationship, since one of them is immortal and the other isn’t. The writers needs to keep them as platonic sparring partners for the foreseeable future. Despite the strong rapport between the two leads, the show needs to work up on building up the supporting characters in a way that viewers won’t forget about them. Estevez’s character was the one that represented Chloe’s vulnerability and an opportunity to examine her complicated relationship with Dan. Future episodes also need to examine the brewing tension between Amenadiel and Lucifer by maybe a few fights, or a few flashbacks, to showcase the tension. It would also be interesting to see how Woodside and Ellis would do in a supernatural sparring match, and who would come out on top. Only time will tell as to who the victor would be in that case.
As for breakout performances, Ellis and German led the pack since they were the driving force during the series premiere. Ellis’s Lucifer was designed to be a charmingly flawed demon who wanted to be more than the sum of his past and present misdeeds. Ellis might also have an opportunity to explore his character’s humor and dark side in a forum that he didn’t have a chance to on the now-defunct “Rush.” That show was distined for cancellation because it was trying to be too many things at the same time and wasn’t right show to launch Ellis into leading man status. He made the somewhat silly premise of Satan moving to the city of angels sound interesting and worth watching again. Let’s just hope that the show allows Ellis’s Lucifer to not reform too quickly, because Ellis excelled best when his character was being downright naughty even when he was being kind. His strongest scene came when he found the truth about his friend’s murder and went to confront the killer. He was both ruthless and partially caring when someone became collateral damage in the process. He also had a strong chemistry with German that allowed them to verbally spar with each other in just about every scene they were in. They could even give each other dirty looks and make that fascinating to watch. German, on the other hand, had the challenging task of portraying the straight woman to Ellis’s wild card character. She managed to give Chloe layers as the series premiere examined her personal and professional pasts that indicated that there was more to her character than met the eye. Hopefully, she will get the chance to explore her character’s own dark side in a way that won’t compromise her for too long. Her best scene came when Chloe was explaining to Lucifer what her true desire was and why she worked so far at her job, because it explained a lot and also left a few questions unanswered. It’s too early to tell how soon those questions will be answered, but the journey should still be an interesting one all the same.
“Lucifer” premiered on January 25th and airs Mondays at 9:00 pm on Fox.
Verdict: Ellis and German proved to be strong leads, but the supporting cast needs to be fleshed out a little in order to stand out each week.
TV Score: 2.5 out of 5 stars
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)