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A Hail Mary for 'Lucifer'
June 24, 2018  | By Monique Nazareth
 

Lucifer has been saved… by Netflix. But was it worth saving?

When news came that Fox had canceled the show, its star, Tom Ellis, tweeted out an apology to the show’s fans. Within a short time, #SaveLucifer started trending, and Ellis embarked on a media campaign to save it. The grassroots effort got more energized after NBC resurrected the FOX sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine following an aggressive effort by its fans. Among those on the #SaveLucifer bandwagon were actor William Shatner and Neil Gaiman, the graphic comic book writer and co-creator of the character Lucifer Morningstar. Gaiman tweeted: I hope LUCIFER finds a better haven.

Mr. Morningstar had his beginnings in Gaiman’s DC comics Vertigo Sandman series in the early 1990s. The character got his own spin-off mini-series in 1999 and a regular series from 2000-2006, written by British comic book artist Mike Carey. Gaiman continued his work on the character through co-writing many of the episodes of the Lucifer TV series which began as a mid-season replacement in January of 2016.

The small screen series kicked off with a devil who was bored and unhappy ruling Hell, so he abandoned it to move to, of all places, Los Angeles, the city of Angels, to open a nightclub called Lux. He has help running the place from his most trusted underworld ally, Mazikeen (Maze for short) an archdemon and a torturer who is also a beautiful woman. He is joined by his brother, as well, the angel Amenadiel, whose mission is to get Lucifer to return to Hell.  Lucifer refuses, as he enjoys the sins of the city. Then a murder investigation puts him in the path of Chloe Decker (right), a former actress turned detective. They are inexplicably drawn to each other, though she is immune to his charm and mystical ways. Chloe offers Lucifer a kind of redemption, and she brings out his humanity and mortality, sometimes to his own detriment. She is both his strength and his weakness.

Season 2 reveals a divine reason for Chloe’s relationship with Lucifer.  The rest of the team includes Chloe’s detective ex-husband and a young daughter (who is perhaps the weakest element of the series). If all this seems a lot to take in, it is for Lucifer too.  So much so, he sees a therapist for his daddy issues and confused feelings à la Tony Soprano. In the midst of all of this, the characters solve a murder mystery every week, and in the process advance the season’s arc.

So was Lucifer was worth resurrecting? My answer is yes. This show works for me not just because of the clever and humorous writing, but primarily because of the excellent casting. The show would have failed immediately had they not found the right actor to portray Lucifer Morningstar.

Gaiman imagined his graphic novel Lucifer as David Bowie-like. Tom Ellis, who is British, is definitely not Bowie-like, but he is devilishly handsome, very charming, and multi-talented. In addition to taking us on the devil’s emotional journey, he plays piano and sings on many of the episodes.

Lauren German as Detective Chloe is beautiful but understated, approachable, smart and vulnerable. 

The diverse cast is filled out by Kevin Alejandro, DB Woodside (right), Lesley-Ann Brandt, Rachel Harris, and Aimee Garcia. DB Woodside was the principal in the last season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Kevin Alejandro is a True Blood alum. 

Season 3, the final season on Fox, found Lucifer needing to fight the Sandman, in this case, Cain who was condemned to immortality after he killed his brother Abel, a kind of Hell on earth; Smallville’s Tom Welling plays the tortured soul.

The finale ended with a cliffhanger. Chloe finally seems to believe Lucifer is exactly who and what he claimed to be. But that’s not where the show left us. Unsure of its future, two bonus episodes were created and aired the week after the season finale. Both were fillers, not tied to any storyline.

The first focused on the character of Ella Lopez, the forensic analyst on the team and her own angelic ties. The second imagined a different future for all the characters, as told by God – and the voice of God was Neil Gaiman. It was Lucifer’s creator as the Creator.

In addition, Chloe became a detective because her policeman father was killed. We were shown an alternate world where he survived, and her trajectory changed. Yet she is was still drawn to police work and to Lucifer. It was an interesting alternate direction to the show, and it could have made for an interesting series finale.

Then Netflix intervened and saved Lucifer, reportedly just before the options on the cast were about to expire. Amazon was also said to have been waiting in the wings had their rival not jumped in first. The producers and actors heaped praises of gratitude on their fans for #saveLucifer. It will be interesting to see where the show goes from here now that it’s free from the confines of network television. Showrunners Joe Henderson and Ildy Modrovich have said Season 4 will have a 10-episode arc. Ellis has his own thoughts as to the direction he’d like to see Lucifer take, telling The Hollywood Reporter he hopes the show goes darker.

“When the show explores the darkness of L.A. and L.A. nightlife, that coupled with the bright humor of the show, I think that’s when it really zings. So to take a few more chances on the darkness of the show next year would be quite fun.”

Give the devil his due on this one.

 
 
 
 
 
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