The best time to catch up on shows is when you’re sick and I had that unfortunate luxury a few weeks back when I got taken out by a weird virus/sinus infection combo. Naturally Lucifer was the first show that caught my eye. For some reason I have always been fascinated by media portrayals of Judeo-Christian figures. While I never ended up a fan of Supernatural, I did love Reaper during its limited run and I thought that Lucifer might carry some of the same eclectic charm as Reaper did so long ago.
I was not wrong and I was not disappointed. I was, however, surprised. I always am when a show manages to take a relatively outlandish idea and spin it into something altogether believable. While Lucifer does require some obvious suspension of disbelief, it handles the potentially scandalous underlying story line like a champ. Sometimes I forget it is meant to be a weekly procedural because the writers do such a fantastic job of pulling in over-arching stories into the case-of-the-week.
With that in mind, here are the five reasons why you should consider adding Lucifer to your weekly television intake.
Lucifer as the actual devil is always funny.
Coming into the show I expected to get tired of the joke. Ha ha ha, so funny, we get it, he is really the devil and people are not going to actually believe him. How long can this go on without it becoming exhausting? The answer: good writing. One of the show’s biggest assets is its ability to own the zany plot line.
In the universe we see on the screen, which is very much like our own, Lucifer is really the devil. Angels and demons exist. Hell is a place you can go. God is real. These are indisputable facts to the point that people’s disbelief does not somehow make the story line unbelievable. It does not matter if Detective Decker does not seem to understand it. The show doesn’t need her to for reality to be what it is. To top it off, the writers manage to blend it so well with a reality any viewer can recognize that it does not take much to convince us that, “Ah, yes, Lucifer is the devil.”
The shtick never gets old because it isn’t a shtick. So simple, but not every show is as willing to own it quite as completely as Lucifer.
Surprisingly, I really like Lucifer.
Not only did the writing team set up the universe in such a way that it is believable, but Lucifer is actually likeable. Infuriating at times, sure. There are many moments where, for all he claims to understand about humanity, he just does not seem to get it. Yet at the end of the day there is a true character there lying beneath the title of Ruler of Hell. It is clear from the beginning that he is a punisher, a reluctant guardian of the souls who get sent to Hell, and a being that often questions his own purpose.
Yet despite all of that he constantly demonstrates a surprising amount of love for the creation he initially claimed to despise when he rebelled and was cast out of the heavens. He is protective. One of the most poignant scenes was after an angelic blade had been used by a young woman on a man who had, at one point, assaulted her. Instead of letting her get pulled in for murder he stepped in and claimed she acted in self defense. She had been hurt enough by the man she had killed. Justice had been served.
All of this points to a departure from the usual depictions of the devil in both historic and modern media. Lucifer is not a being who delights in evil deeds (though he does enjoy a bit of sin every now and again) but rather has a strong sense of right and wrong and is quick to act against those who have done wrong.
The love story works.
One of the key story lines from episode one is that which unfolds between Lucifer and Detective Chloe Decker. She is essentially the infamous “one that got away” except she is continually getting away, over and over again, because she is impervious to Lucifer’s charm. Later in the series it becomes clear why that is, but the constant building up and letting down between the two of them is intoxicating.
I am not often a fan of the “popular ship” finally getting together in the end. I am also not a fan of needless baiting. The way the Lucifer writers handle the story manages to overcome both of these reservations. The audience is “baited,” sure, but in that “will they, won’t they, can’t we just smash them together and call it good?” sort of way. It is handled similarly to how Parks and Recreation dealt with Ben and Leslie’s relationship.
The writing defies the odds. It does right by the nature of relationships. There is drama, but it makes sense given the reality the two of them are embedded in. For once, I actually want the two main characters to get together and that has not happen since the aforementioned Parks and Recreation Ben/Leslie romance. I’m impressed.
The show is about more than just the main characters.
No one on Lucifer is a throw-away character (except his mom, who I would like to throw into a pit of fire most of the time). Give me a show that fleshes out all of the reoccurring characters and I will always be a happy camper. After all, no man is an island. Everyone is embedded in a community and Lucifer goes to great lengths to show it.
Whether we’re following the development of Lucifer’s older brother, his demon companion, or Aimee Garcia’s adorable Ella, there is always room to grow and more to be revealed. It is rare in television to find a cast that appears to jive so well together on screen and it comes out in their character’s relationships. The best part is the dynamics which play out between everyone as they figure out what their position on earth means, what friendship is, and what it takes to make friends into a family.
Most impressive to me about the secondary characters is Rachel Harris’ performance as Dr. Linda Martin, therapist extraordinaire. Though she steps outside of professional boundaries a bit more often than she should, her one-on-one sessions with Lucifer are some of the truest portrayals of therapy I have ever seen on television. This includes Lucifer’s constant misinterpretation of Dr. Martin’s reflections which, as a practitioner myself, really make me laugh because of how often it really happens.
It is already renewed for season three.
This is probably the best reason to catch up on Lucifer: there is more to come. Your investment will be worthwhile. Lucifer’s first season was a typical 13 episodes but the second season came roaring back with a vengeance and was promoted to a whopping 22 episodes (recently trimmed back to 18, with the remaining four episodes airing in the fall). Season three promises to continue the successful trend and put out a full 22+ episode season chock full of wonderful stories.
I know I like to have more to come before I get invested in a show.
All in all, Lucifer is a witty, charming, and utterly delightful procedural-slash-supernatural-drama. I am extremely impressed with the work of the cast, writers, and crew to produce a heartfelt show that explores genuine relationships. It is one-of-a-kind, and I am looking forward to finishing out season two and diving into season three.