Lucifer Season 1 (DVD)
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Review of "Lucifer Season 1 (DVD)"
Journalling more for myself than anything else now, so I don't expect reads or rates!
When bored one weekend I decided to flick around Amazon Prime in order to find something to watch on TV. I’d been intrigued by this show called ‘Lucifer’ since I’d seen it months previously but had never had a chance to watch it. It’s not one that appealed to my fiancé in the slightest… and as it turned out, for rather good reasons. Although he couldn’t have known that in advance and therefore has no right to say ‘I told you so’.
Lucifer is an American (and oh my, how stereotypically American) fantasy based police procedural kind of drama, kind of comedy series that tries to walk the line between real life police work and fantasy and doesn’t quite ever cut it. It actually refers back to a comic book series called the Sandman in which Lucifer Morningstar was a supporting character, eventually leading to his own spin-off series in comic, film and TV. The idea reminded me quite a lot of the book Horns by Joe Hill about a guy turned demon who could get people to spill their deepest desires. And hey, having looked at the dates the book was published in 2010 and the first season of this in 2016… the book is worth reading if you are interested.It focuses on (you guessed it) Lucifer Morningstar, otherwise known as the Devil, who got bored of Hell and so decided to resign his throne of the Underworld and run away to Los Angeles, because hey, why not. And so we meet Lucifer Morningstar as he runs a nightclub, which is originally named Lux, with a demonic friend Mazikeen. Except nightclubs aren’t as interesting as crime cases and Lucifer manages to strong-arm his way into a series of crime cases with a local Detective, Chloe Decker, using his mysterious powers.
Within this Lucifer gets a massive demon crush on Chloe because she seems to be resistant to his powers and there’s a fair amount of resistance from Daddy dearest (aka God) who is most displeased that his son has abandoned Hell. So in between trying to solve cases and possibly woo the Detective and not being too devil like in Los Angeles, Lucifer is also seriously annoying angels who are trying to get him to go back… until of course another family member escapes Hell… because the ramifications of that aren’t going to be huge at all…
Lucifer Morningstar is the devil who bored of Hell has abdicated his throne and run away to Los Angeles. Played by Tom Ellis he has mind powers that mean he can make himself sexually irresistible to women and can make people tell him their hidden desires… along with being impossible to kill and having the whole supernatural speed and strength thing. All in all he is what I would personally dub a ‘slimy salesman’ character and overall I found him more annoying than anything else. Apparently he’s actually partially inspired by David Bowie and the portrayal is meant to be ‘lovechild of Noel Coward and Mick Jagger’. Unfortunately, considering he is the main character, I really didn’t warm to him at all throughout the season. I found him more openly cocky than devilish, without the actual charm, wit or charisma that I would expect Lucifer to bring to bear on the situation. He just reminded me of a used car salesman… not helped by the fact that he isn’t a subtle or clever character at all, instead telling everyone he is the Devil and using his powers willy nilly without any rhyme, reason or sense behind it. I don’t think slimy car salesman is quite the impression they were going for…but that’s all it does for me.
Detective Chloe Decker and her ex-husband Detective Dan Espinoza, played by Lauren German and Keven Alejandro respectively, are the main LAPD homicide detectives who Lucifer rubs shoulders with. Dan is another self important, slimy douchebag (actually referred to as Detective Douche by Lucifer) who thinks he knows best… that is clearly a deliberate impression and the actor carries it well. I wanted to slap him. Chloe is more empathisable and you get to understand some of her backstory within the season and yet, even here I found nothing to really click me into the character. Trixie, their daughter played by Scarlett Estevez, is by far the most entertaining member of the family and unfortunately gets nowhere near as much screen time...From the Heavenly and Hellish side you have Mazikeen, played by Lesley-Ann Brandt, as Lucifers confidante demon, bartender and bodyguard and Amenadiel, played by D.B. Woodside, the eldest of the Heavenly siblings who is trying to encourage Lucifer to get his backside back to hell… without much success. Both characters apparently build more in later seasons, but in this first season they are paper thin and rather wooly. Decently acted, don’t get me wrong, Woodside manages to make an angel look threatening, but there isn’t the background or the scope to make these two interesting in this season.
And then finally you have the cliché of Dr Linda Martin, a psychotherapist who ‘treats’ Lucifer and accepts payment in the form of sex. This apparently goes with him being irresistible but merely made me roll my eyes and groan. There are some attempted comic moments where her advice is misunderstood or misapplied but again I struggled to actually see these as comic. Her character generally strikes me as the worst kind of psycho-treatment person that you run away from fast in the opposite direction as soon as the GP points you at them…
The episodes generally take the form of one mystery or another that Lucifer’s special powers help save the day or something along those lines. The episodes are nowhere near as well scripted as other mystery shows I have really enjoyed like Murdoch Mysteries, instead relying on the supernatural to try to carry it through. That barely manages to carry it through the first episode, let alone any others. But hey, to give you a taster:
- Lucifer convinces a high up football star to lose his virginity and then the girl ends up dead in a pool. All the evidence seems to point to the footballer… but Lucifer suspects foul play.
- A priest asks for Lucifer’s help in stopping a drug ring he believes is being run by a local youth counsellor… except nothing is ever simple and when your chief suspect turns up dead, you have to look elsewhere.
- Lucifer decides to start doing charity work and enjoys it whilst his brother pays someone to kill him and it all gets messy.
- Lucifer gets upset because someone from a Satanist church is killed in his name and his brother is still being a complete nuisance.
All in all, I found the narratives trite and shallow, the basic premises flawed and unbelievable and the character scrips poor and heavy handed. Lucifer isn’t scripted to act like, well, Lucifer and the rest of the characters couldn’t have saved him from that even if everything else was perfect. Which it is not.
In honesty, no, not really. By episode three or four I had recognised that this was an exceptionally shallow and tiresome series but allowed it to play out for the sake of reviewing. Oh, the horrors I put myself through for the sake of reviewing. All in all, I found this stale and unappealing. Lucifer’s character just never quite worked for me and the supernatural things were slammed in so heavily and blatantly without any attempt at subtlety that I just found myself aggravated. That might simply mean it was too American for my tastes. Everything that should have been hinted at was thrown in your face and the characters were utterly one dimensional.
Would I watch the second season? Not on your life. Not even for the sake of reviewing. I wasted enough of my life the this in your face, slimy and jarring series the first time round and I am not masochistic enough to compound my error. I think the only character I really liked was Trixie and that’s because she’s an actual real child, with all of the tempers and the evilness and the sweetness intermingling into one. She at least felt real. My second favourite character would be Amenadiel, Lucifer’s angelic brother, if only because of how often the roles seem to be reversed as Amenadiel gets more and more desperate. But the character isn’t expanded on enough in this season for him to be able to catch me despite everything else.
The pilot was received positively, heaven knows why, but apparently it had ‘great dialogue and flawless delivery’… which I disagree with strenuously. It picked up more criticism for being ‘another crime procedural show’ rather than a shoddily done Lucifer job. I could probably have got on board if it had been crime procedural without the car salesman crap. The season itself received mixed reviews with Rotton Tomatoes giving it 50% with an average rating of 5.2/10 whilst Metacritic gave it 49/100. Nobody was overly impressed.So, essentially the critics agree with me but for different reasons as they seem to be disappointed at the ‘hackneyed cop procedural’ bit whereas I was generally underwhelmed by Lucifer and the ham fisted job they did of the basic premise. Give me a hackneyed cop procedural done well any day over this complete waste of time. NCIS, Murdoch Mysteries, Sherlock, Elementary… all of them are done to a far higher standard than this could even pretend to try and jump on tippy toes to reach.
Do I Recommend?
It may surprise you to learn that no, I am not recommending this particular series. I will not be watching any more of it and I will certainly not be buying or downloading the series for myself. I was utterly underwhelmed by the script, the characterisation, the use of the premise, how ham-fisted everything was and the complete lack of anything resembling wit or subtlety. Nothing about this program stood out to me as being worthwhile other than the basic premise which has been utterly massacred. Maybe I am simply not quite American enough, but if being American means finding this entertaining then I am quite happy being British.
Film only review as this was watched on Prime as noted above.
Product Information : Lucifer Season 1 (DVD)
Manufacturer's product description
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
DVD Region: DVD
Classification: 15 years and over
Actor(s): Tom Ellis, Lauren German, D.B. Woodside
Production Year: 2016
Listed on Ciao since: 22/05/2017