Lucifer: The Complete First Season
I had fun binge rewatching the first season of Lucifer. In large part that was due to the lead character, as played by Tom Ellis. His devil is ballsy and funny in his lack of restraint. He’s an irrepressible, dapper British gent in a suit who loves sex and is good at it. He isn’t hiding anything but is disturbingly obvious about his drives and wants and expects others to be the same. It’s a twisted kind of honesty, which makes the character and the show a hoot to watch.
His “superpower”, such as it is, is to evoked from people what their true desires are. I’ve talked before about what I like about the show, but watching the first season, 13 episodes all at once (it was a nice amount of weekend viewing) gave me some new observations.
In case you missed the series description, Lucifer has left Hell and gone for a vacation in Los Angeles, where he runs a club named Lux, accompanied by a demon named Mazikeen (Lesley-Ann Brandt), who tends bar and serves as bodyguard and protector. His brother, the angel Amenadiel (DB Woodside) has been sent to convince him to take back his ruler role.
It’s loosely based on the Vertigo comic written by Mike Carey, but only in general premise. The comic series was about mythological themes and fantasy horror, while the TV show is a crime procedural (and many of the producers formerly worked on CSI). Lucifer meets up with police detective Chloe Decker (Lauren German) and starts helping her solve murders. She doesn’t believe he’s really a fallen angel, while he wants to enact a Biblical sense of justice. Killing the murderer isn’t enough, he wants him to be punished and suffer.
As the series continues, he’s seduced by the loss of control the detective brings into his life, how he can’t predict what comes next when she’s around because she’s immune to him and her presence makes him literally vulnerable. Plus, he starts going to therapy (how LA!), working out a deal with Dr. Linda (Rachel Harris) where she gets to have sex with him in return for listening to him. The devil in psychotherapy is both a clever way to sum up the show so far and highly amusing.
The supporting cast is my favorite, between Dr. Linda and Chloe’s daughter Trixie (Scarlett Estevez). I still find Decker too visually reminiscent of a CW teen show, too skinny and whiny and single-expressioned and looking like she just graduated high school. And her ex-husband, Dan (Kevin Alejandro), needs a lot more presence to make up for his lack of charisma and range.
The first few episodes have villains that are very modern-day California entertainment culture: an exploitative music producer, an overly competitive paparazzo, a manipulative sports agent, an ambitious identity thief, and the leader of a seminar for pick-up artists.
Episode 5, “Sweet Kicks”, starts building the show’s mythology. We find out why the other cops hate Decker and see Lucifer’s first proof of vulnerability around her when she shoots him in the leg. Plus, Mazikeen and Amenadiel first meet up to plot Lucifer’s return to Hell. Lucifer maneuvers things to become a civilian consultant to the LAPD, but by the next episode, he’s complaining that police work is boring. Episode 6, “Favorite Son”, is also the one where his amputated wings become a plot device, with someone stealing them.
From that point on, the various storylines continue to intertwine, as Amenadiel enlists a disgraced cop in his plans and Decker dives further into what happened in that previous case. (Bad summing up because it’s my least favorite part of the show.)
Episode 10, “Pops”, is a high point, as Trixie runs away from a conflict between Chloe and her mother, played by Rebecca De Mornay, and winds up at the bar making friends with Mazikeen. Maze pours them each a whiskey, and when Trixie asks if that’s a Shirley Temple, Maze drops a cherry in it and says, “Sure.” Trixie also earlier summed up the politics of desire, when she says Lucifer told her, “If you really want to do something, you should.”
The set extras are the most basic bits you can get these days. I love having this set, but it’s clear that no one’s thinking hard about providing new insights into the series.
The gag reel is six minutes of the usual cracking up, cursing at blown lines, and misbehaving props. The character profiles of Amenadiel, Linda, Chloe, and Dan are about a minute each of electronic press release material. The two “featurettes”, “Devilish Duo” and “Lucifer Morningstar”, are only slightly longer but similar in style.
There’s 13 minutes of the Lucifer panel from the 2015 Comic-Con. It was a pre-release pilot sneak peek, so this is the post-viewing introduction of cast and producers. My favorite moment was when Ellis describes his take on the character as Mick Jagger having had sex with Noel Coward.
The deleted scenes (or unaired scenes, as they’re referred to in the booklet) are cutting room floor scraps. None reveals anything new. On disc 1, there’s a bit more than a minute’s worth of two alternate meetings between Maze and Amenadiel. The second disc has two minutes in three scenes, and the third four in less than three minutes.
The season is also available on Blu-ray through the Warner Archive. (The studio provided a review copy.)
Mick Jagger by way of Noel Coward is a spot on description of the character, and the performance.