Lucifer Leaked Pilot Reviewed
Los Angeles, the city of angels, especially of the fallen variety. This is the world of Lucifer Morningstar. And what a fitting world it is. Nobody would bat an eye at a man proclaiming himself the devil in that city. As Soul Coughing stated in the song "Screenwriter's Blues" - "Los Angeles beckons the teenagers to come to her on buses. Los Angeles loves love." It may seem all beautiful on the surface but something nefarious is cooking. And that's what Lucifer does so well. He is charming, impish, fun and disarms you. But he's bad for you. And that's what the show does well. Just imagine the lord of Hell running a night club and taking an extended vacation in the city. There's a lot of material in that alone. But can it stay away from the trappings of Network television procedural dramas?
Lucifer is based on a comic book, in a world created by Neil Gaiman, a wonderful writer, a man I admire and had to try to forget that he created the world this incarnation of Lucifer lives - not to say it's bad. I just wanted to be sure I didn't judge the show more harshly because it didn't live to my very high Gaiman standards. The show was put together by Tom Kapinos, the man behind Californication. We know he knows a thing or two about the underbelly of L.A. and that made me more comfortable. It's star, Tom Ellis, immediately put me at ease. From the moment you see him on screen speeding through the streets and bribing a police officer you know you're in good hands. And, to top it off, the pilot was directed by Len Wiseman, the man behind Underworld and Total Recall (not the good one). This was the first real misstep.
In fairness, I did not know that Wiseman directed the pilot so I was not judging the directing solely on that. And, even if I knew, I'd still be thinking how the pilot for Sleepy Hollow was well directed. But something about this episode's direction seemed cheap, maybe a little lazy. If it were not for the charm of the actors involved and the decent writing I think I would have been bored with the "Aren't we clever with all the songs in the episode talking about the wicked, souls and Hell?" soundtrack that was pumping through the show. For a moment I actually thought that the series was going to be on MTV.
The good - Lauren German was a good foil for Ellis on the show. She played a cop that had the misfortune of the dealing with Lucifer on a homicide investigation and seems unaffected by his charms. Rachel Harris and D.B. Woodside were unexpected and very welcome. And Lesley-Ann Brandt as his nymphomaniac demon bartender was a lot of fun in her few short scenes. The writing seems fun, just cheeky enough to be self-aware. It's a line Kapinos towed well on Californication.
The bad - Kapinos crafted a fun story to grab our attention early. It was smart, funny and just the right amount of dark. But by introducing German's character will it turn into a series where it's a good cop and the devil teaming up to solve crimes week after week? We don't want to see that. We want to explore the world of the devil, his seeming crisis of conscience, his unwillingness to go home, his therapy sessions. If it's just a new cop show with a "Clever" twist then count me out.
For now I am intrigued. Hell, I'm actually looking forward to seeing episode 2. It was compelling enough for me to want to see more.