A supernatural Moonlighting mixed with a police procedural
That's not entirely fair though. Lucifer does have a few things going for it, first and foremost Tom Ellis, who plays the titular Lucifer Morningstar: a suave, self-absorbed walking charm bomb. The Lord of Hell--a son of God and a fallen angel--has come to Earth and is living in Los Angeles, running a social club called Lux. But aside from the presence of a few characters, like Lucifer's brother Amenadiel (D.B. Woodside) and his servant Mazikeen (Lesley-Ann Brandt), and Lucifer's motivation (boredom and an interest in free will) that's about where the source material's influence ends. Instead of the heady, reality-bending world of the comic series, this Lucifer is a CSI-like procedural. Lucifer decides to pitch in and help the police, driven by his role in punishing the evil and his fascination with Detective Chloe Decker (Lauren German), a former actress turned cop who is the only woman capable of denying his advances. (A point that, unless it was subtle, is never explained.)
For most of the season, each episode revolves around that week's case, with the renegade Lucifer (unbound by the law or any kind of decency) and the respect-craving Chloe seeking to solve the mystery at hand. These are never particularly challenging tasks for them, since Lucifer can essentially do anything he wants to solve the case. At least, until he starts to become mortal for some unknown reason, part of the series' mythology, which is crafted around the police work. The more serialized elements include Amenadiel's attempts to return his brother to Hell, Mazikeen's frustration with Lucifer's interest in humanity, the burgeoning will-they-won't-they between Lucifer and Chloe (complicated by the presence of her young daughter and fellow-cop/separated husband) and Lucifer's exploration of philosophy and purpose, aided by his shrink Dr. Martin (Rachael Harris, one of the other great things about the show.)
The serial storyline comes to take over the show in later episodes, as a controversial case from the past involving Chloe and Dan draws all the characters in, building to the season finale. These plots become repetitive though, and make the series drag to the first season finish, making the CSI: Hell episodes more appealing, as there was something to differentiate one from another. The whole issue that no one seems to have a problem with the fact that a man openly claims he's the devil (ignoring Lucifer's ability to bend women's wills) is just symptomatic of a show with questionable character motivation. While it's clear that Lucifer is struggling with something akin to humanity, and his inconsistent personality due to that makes sense from that perspective, no one else seems to have any kind of core identity. Though it's set up like a procedural, it plays out like a mix of a soap opera and a sitcom, with hokey plots like Chloe's mother coming to visit or the relationship drama between Chloe and her husband. It just feels like something is off, and the show fails to really get in gear because of it.
The cast is fine at portraying the characters they are given, with Ellis and Harris being the standouts. Without Ellis, this show would be dead on arrival, as he plays the debonair devil with the proper bemusement, but can summon evil when necessary. One can imagine what he could do if this show gave his character the kind of story to work with that the comic series did. Harris, meanwhile, offers a solid balance of desirous and concerned as Lucifer's confidant, and their sessions tend to be a highlight of many episodes. As for the rest of the cast, they don't get a great deal to do of much interest, but no one is problematic either.
The show looks quite nice, with some good, limited effects work and some stylish camerawork, but something that really stands out is the sound--and not for a good reason. The show utilizes a soundtrack heavy in songs that reference the devil, which is just way too on the nose. It actually becomes distracting, to the point where, if they use a song that's just the right fit tonally, you start trying to figure out the devilish reference. The show needs to trust that people get that Lucifer is the devil and not bang the viewer over the head with it.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks in this set are most obvious in the delivery of the show's soundtrack, as the songs are powerful thanks to support from the surrounds and bass pick-up in the low-end. Otherwise, the dialogue comes off clean and crisp, and enjoys good separation from the sound effects and music, with the side and rear speakers carries some atmospheric effects.
A quartet of character profiles, for Amenadiel (1:08), Chloe (1:13), Linda (1:22) and Dan (1:03), feature clips and interviews with the actors (with Ellis popping in) as an introduction to the four characters. If you've watched the season, there's nothing really revealing about these pieces.
The final extra is the show's 2015 Comic Con panel from San Diego, in which producer/writer Joe Henderson, Wiseman, Ellis, German, Brandt, Woodside and Modrovich promote their then-upcoming series by answering a few questions during a short 13:04 sit-down (producer Jonathan Littman is present, but silent). The discussion doesn't get too deep (only the pilot had been shot at the time) but you get some insight into the thought process behind the series (and hear Chloe's original last name used, if you didn't know it.)
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