As comic-book adaptations go, Lucifer is looser than a pair of ten-year-old pants. If you were hoping for the Lucifer of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman (and Mike Carey’s self-titled spin-off) then you will be disappointed. But that feeling won’t last long, because this take on Lucifer is, appropriately enough, a real guilty pleasure.
Sure, the plot is a bit daft, and the show never really makes its central premise work. It’s entirely believable that the Devil (Tom Ellis) would quit his day job and open up a bar in LA, but it’s rather more difficult to understand why he would then team up with detective Chloe Decker (Lauren German) to solve crimes.
But it’s best if you just ignore that leap in character logic and go with it. Once Lucifer and Decker are on the case – she determined to do everything by the book, he cheerfully smoking evidence on the sidelines – the show is enormously fun.
Whenever the Devil appears in a show he’s usually the best thing in it, and Lucifer is no exception. Ellis’s Prince of Darkness is a cheerily debauched serpent in the garden, utterly delighted whenever someone gives in to their darker desires. But he’s also not particularly evil – his (former) job, the show reminds us, is to punish evil-doers. Ellis has enormous fun with the role, and is endlessly watchable.
The supporting characters trail in his wake. German’s Decker is trapped in the ‘humourless love interest’ role, but others fare better, including DB Woodside’s angel Amenadiel (almost as charmingly sinister as his brother) and Lesley-Ann Brandt’s curiously sympathetic demon Maze.
The show really sings whenever it dives headfirst into the mythology. The murder-of-the-week mysteries are often clumsily handled and shamelessly symbolic, and the storyline regarding Lucifer’s feelings for Decker is just a little too schmaltzy, and it keeps the show in boringly safe – albeit slickly shot and very funny – territory.
Hopefully Season 2 will be able to get just a little bit more dangerous. It is a show about the Devil, after all.