Tonight, Fox treated us to the premiere of Lucifer. Lucifer is the second DC Comics property for Fox (following Gotham) and the third Vertigo property to make an appearance on network television (the cancelled Constantine being the first and the highly entertaining iZombie being the second). Let’s talk a bit about Lucifer, his background (in the comic world at least) and his new foray into television.
Lucifer was introduced into the comic realm through Neil Gaiman’s Sandman stories. In the early 90’s, a seven-part story appeared in Sandman called Season of Mists. This story sees Lucifer expelling souls from Hell, abdicating as ruler and having his wings cut-off. From there, he opens a nightclub. And the stage is set for spin-off comic titled Lucifer.
Neil Gaiman has said:
Lucifer needed his own comic. It seemed obvious, at least to me. He was arrogant, funny, manipulative, cold, brilliant, powerful, and the former Lord of Hell, who resigned because he was done. Heaven wouldn’t trust him, Hell would hate him, but anyone who needed a dirty job done would approach Lucifer to do it.
And eventually, Neil Gaiman’s desire to see Lucifer with his own series came to fruition. For 75 issues, Mike Carey told Lucifer’s story which revolved primarily around the issue of free-will as opposed to God’s predestination. Lucifer’s story is also about family drama, between a father (God) and a son (Lucifer). But it is important to note that in this story “Lucifer can only be God’s son in the absence of that other son, whose story had already been expanded on elsewhere.”
The pilot episode makes very quick work of following up on these themes and establishes Lucifer (Tom Ellis) as “arrogant, funny, manipulative, cold, brilliant, and powerful.” The episode begins with Lucifer driving a sports car with no regard for the speed limit while blasting Cage the Elephant’s “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked.” The music in this pilot sets the tone brilliantly (or maybe it’s just because it made use of fabulous alternative songs that I love). Besides Cage the Elephant, we are treated to the Black Keys and even some Skrillex. After Lucifer’s run-in with the police officer, he drives to his club, Lux. Walking in to Lux we are treated to David Bowie’s “Fame.” This is relevant on so many levels and actually ends up hurting the hurt a bit when the murder at the heart of this episode is solved.
It turns out, Lucifer aided a young woman who became a starlet. When she comes back to talk to Lucifer, she ends up being murdered. This ever so neatly frames the mis-matched partnership which will guide more of the season. Detective Chloe Decker is a cop trying to prove herself. She also happens to be immune to Lucifer’s powers.
People like to tell me things. Those deep dark naughty little desires that are on their mind. It’s a gift. Must be something about this face…
This proves intriguing to Lucifer and becomes highly entertaining when Chloe witnesses the way other people (woman especially) behave. Watching Dr. Linda Martin (Rachael Harris) try to resist Lucifer’s powers, and fail, made me laugh out loud. Several subtle (LOL!), innuendoes also had me chuckling. Overall, these sexual comments further helped to solidify Lucifer’s image as a confident, arrogant ass… which is exactly what this character should be. I suggest you keep that in mind as you watch.
One disparaging review I read about the premiere managed to very clearly scream “I have no idea about the background of this character.” It criticized Lucifer as a “smug twerp who delights in humiliating many perfectly nice, ordinary people, as well as the bad guys.” Reality check: Lucifer is the devil. He’s arrogant, and loves to push peoples’ buttons. Of course he is going to be nasty to everyone, good and bad alike. He likes to cause trouble, hence resigning from Hell in the first place. Watching his struggle between who he is, who others think he is, who he is predestined to be, and who he wants to be, is what will make this show devilishly interesting.
I should note that while the pilot does hint at the themes that were the driving force behind the comic, it also makes clear that this show is not likely to follow the comic (it’d be tough to show the bloody and violent depravity, the void, and the new universe in a network television show.) Instead, it appears this show will follow the tried and true (and quite honestly tired) pattern of a mis-matched partnership solving crimes. Let’s hope Lucifer eventually branches out a bit from crime of the week to truly represent the battle between Lucifer and The Host.
That said, I enjoyed the show though admittedly, most of the enjoyment comes from watching Tom Ellis deliver the snark and innuendo (hearing him say ‘douche’ was very amusing). I have high hopes and look forward to the coming episodes.
Let us know what yout thought in a comment! Will you keep watching? #LuciferIsHere