With a title like Lucifer, you’d be forgiven for thinking Amazon’s latest aquisition would be something quite dark and nasty. After all, the Lord of Hell is hardly known as a fun-loving character by any stretch of the imagination. Yet somehow this new entry into the competitive market of TV twists all your expectations and brings something a lot more intriguing.
Part-dark comedy and part-crime with a sprinkle of horror and fantasy, Lucifer is loosely based on source material originally created by Neil Gaiman - the hugely successful The Sandman and spin-off Lucifer (by Mike Carey). Going in to the TV series without any real knowledge of the original material probably helps as you won’t be picking apart every little change here and there, and in fact it allows for anyone to jump in without worrying about not knowing enough to understand. When they say it is ‘loosely’ based, it really is - it’s barely recognisable to any fans that have read the previous stories, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing here.
Tom Ellis, well known to UK folk for Miranda over the years, manages to pull off Lucifer convincingly as a guy who simply doesn’t care what he does. He sounds selfish - and he is - but in a strangely amusing way that gives the audience a reason to like him and want to follow what he does. It’s a light-hearted approach to a subject matter that could (and perhaps should) be very dark, and it’s almost as if the writing team know how crazy it all is, and so they encourage viewers to just go with the flow and enjoy the ride.
You’ll see many words thrown around to describe the show - from ridiculous and bizarre to insane - and to be honest, they’re all right. Lucifer is horrific and weird, mixed with as much hilarity and stupidity as you can handle. There are the occasional moments where the show hints at a wider debate on religion but when you’re basically watching CSI: Devil, you don’t really expect the writers to go there in much depth. You can’t help but feel that there could have been a very different tone here and an altogether deeper show if they had wanted to pursue that but instead we get an easy-going comedic crime show for the most part. Seeing Lucifer work with the LAPD and running a nightclub certainly isn’t how he’s usually portrayed, but this spin on a well-known character along with his abilities makes for an interesting dynamic.
Once you get beyond the potential disappointment of the premise, Lucifer isn’t a bad show. If you can learn to fall in love with Ellis and his charm then this can be an easy hour a week to add to your no doubt already full schedules. Backed up by familiar faces such as D. B. Woodside (Buffy, 24) and Kevin Alejandro (Southland, Arrow), Ellis has a lot of good material to work with and earns his leading role stripes here. As for the show as a whole, only time will tell as to which direction it chooses to go in and what it becomes. There’s just enough in the pilot to convince you to come back next time and see how Lucifer’s quest to become less bored carries on.
Lucifer is available exclusively on Amazon Prime Video from 26th January.