Mix one pinch Reaper into a hefty dose of Remington Steele, and you have Lucifer, a throwback show that just saw its fourth season debut on Netflix after it was unceremoniously canceled by Fox last year.
Tom Ellis stars as the titular character—the devil—who has made his way to earth for an extended vacation. He owns a night club, lives his days in debauchery, and has little interest in going back to overseeing demons and lost souls in hell. Additionally, he has managed to become a
civilian consultant with L.A.P.D., where he finds a strange kinship with his assigned partner, Detective Chloe Decker (Lauren German).
It’s a procedural with a twist, and the similarities between Remington Steele and Lucifer are uncanny. It ranges from the basic premise—a female law enforcement professional teaming up with a mysterious, suave civilian—to character traits, like the formal ways the male anti-protagonists refer to their more competent partners: Steele,
Ms. Holt; Lucifer,
Detective. There are even comparable gimmicks, with Brosnan’s old movie references paralleling Ellis’s devilish
now tell me… what is it that you truly desire? interrogation line.
And let it be said, Ellis makes an excellent Lucifer Morningstar. His character is charming and self-centered, and keen on pointing out that he is not evil. His job and curse are to oversee doomed souls in hell, but that, in his mind, does not make him the bad guy. That’s the core of the character, a fallen angel who is butthurt he has gotten the reputation of being a villain. It’s a very different take from what Ray Wise delivered in Reaper.
The rest of the cast holds an equally high standard, and particularly Lesley-Ann Brandt delivers an excellent performance as Lucifer’s demon ally, Mazikeen.
It might not be the most profound meditation on the Bible, but Lucifer is an entertaining procedural, and it utilizes old testament lore to great effect. Giving a character in any show an overbearing brother is one thing; making the brother an angel with daddy issues adds some well-suited twists.
More than anything, Lucifer marries the best of the lighter eighties crime fare with the current trend of working with darker mythology. It is a well-balanced show, and it brings its own je ne sais quoi to the table. Kudos to the Netflix for taking a chance on saving Lucifer. It wasn’t a huge hit on Fox, but the fanbase was rabid enough to make it worth the streaming giant’s while, and we’re all better off because of it.
Throw Lucifer in with Sabrina, and Netflix has quite the run of devil based shows going right now.