Premiered January 25th, 2016, ended April 25th, 2016
“Lucifer is a TV show where the devil, the literal devil, solves crimes with an LAPD detective in a buddy-cop procedural crime format.”
When I tell people that, I hear back “really?” or “wow” or “so… is that on Netflix or?” Quite frankly, it’s that ridiculous premise that brought me to the show in the first place, and it’s what kept me around through the end of the season. Lucifer is not an intelligent show. Lucifer is basically the “popcorn movie” of television, something that’s best enjoyed by turning off your brain and trying to enjoy the spectacle of it all. But even with your brain on low-power mode, I suspect you’ll notice that the writing is cringe-worthy, the crimes are like jigsaw puzzles for children (the culprit is always the second or third person you meet), and even the spectacle of having an immortal super-powerful demons and angels as part of the cast is underused.
So, that sounds like a lot of negatives, and I’m far from suggesting the show to anybody without caveats, but here’s why I want to make the case for Lucifer. In the midst of this Golden Age of Television (if I can call it that), where there is no shortage of amazing, critically acclaimed dramas, comedies, thrillers, etc. why would I watch the mediocre, middling Lucifer all the way through? Because I’m overwhelmed by good television. With so many suggestions out there like Better Call Saul, The Americans, Jessica Jones, Master of None, Narcos… not to mention my outstanding series left unfinished like The Wire, House of Cards, The X-Files, Twin Peaks, among others… with so many great, great shows piling up, the easiest choice to make is to begin none of them, and sit back and watch something like Lucifer.
Tom Ellis plays a handsome-enough, charming-enough Lucifer who’s really at his best when he’s playing it as a calm, cool, enraged Lucy, rather than a playboy. Lauren German deserves more credit than she gets for keeping the show alive as detective Chloe Decker, who has Lucifer forced on her as a crime-solving partner. Lucifer is often very whiny, and the ways in which he is portrayed to be “cool” would have been more convincing if I were 8-10 years younger – Chloe Decker helps balance things out, challenging Lucy’s too-cool persona and forcing him to occasionally grow up. With any luck the show’s writers will spend less time in Season Two reminding us that the devil likes to fuck, and more time bringing these two closer together and giving Chloe definitive proof that she’s working with the real devil.
Again, I think part of the reason I’m drawn to Lucifer is because I find the mountain of critically-acclaimed television piling up a paralyzing feat. Choosing one show to start is intimidating, and the thought of falling into a Netflix hole again is not appealing. It’s easier to dedicate one hour a week to this show that doesn’t really require my full attention. And you know what? It’s fun to drop that bomb on people. “I’m watching this show where the devil, the literal devil, is in a buddy-cop crime show.”
“Is it any good?” they may ask.
“Eh. No” I may say, “but it doesn’t really matter. The devil’s a cop and that premise is good enough to keep me watching.”