A few months ago, we reported that Fox was developing a television pilot based on DC Comics/Vertigo’s cult classic Lucifer, a comic book series that focused on the eponymous Lord of Hell and his life after discharging himself of his duties. A few days ago, Fox announced that Lucifer had been greenlit for an entire season. Today, Fox released its first trailer for the TV series.
Maybe I’m in the minority and I’m judging too rashly without seeing the full pilot, but, as a fan of the character in both Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series and in writer Mike Carey’s 75-issue run on the Morningstar’s own book, I am all sorts of underwhelmed. Sure, there are elements that harken back to the comic book series: Lucifer leaving Hell and living among mortals; his piano bar Lux; frequent comments that the Devil doesn’t make humans do anything; the angel Amenadiel as a thorn in Lucifer’s side. Still, it looks like the drama will be Lucifer in name only, as the show’s creators are shaping it into a police procedural. A police procedural. Here’s the show’s synopsis:
The Devil has come to Los Angeles…Based upon the characters created by Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth and Mike Dringenberg for DC Entertainment’s Vertigo imprint, LUCIFER is the story of the original fallen angel. Bored and unhappy as the Lord of Hell, LUCIFER MORNINGSTAR (Tom Ellis, “Merlin”) has abandoned his throne and retired to L.A., where he owns Lux, an upscale nightclub. Charming, charismatic and devilishly handsome, Lucifer is enjoying his retirement, indulging in a few of his favorite things – wine, women and song – when a beautiful pop star is brutally murdered outside of Lux. For the first time in roughly 10 billion years, he feels something awaken deep within him as a result of this murder. Compassion? Sympathy? The very thought disturbs him – as well as his best friend and confidante, MAZIKEEN aka MAZE (Lesley-Ann Brandt, “The Librarians”), a fierce demon in the form of a beautiful young woman. The murder attracts the attention of LAPD homicide detective CHLOE DANCER (Lauren German, “Chicago Fire”), who initially is dismissive of Lucifer. But she becomes intrigued by his talent for drawing out people’s secrets and his desire to dispense justice, doling out punishment to those who deserve it. As they work together to solve the pop star’s murder, Lucifer is struck by Chloe’s inherent goodness. Accustomed to dealing with the absolute worst of humanity, Lucifer is intrigued by Chloe’s apparent purity and begins to wonder if there’s hope for his own soul yet. At the same time, God’s emissary, the angel AMENADIEL (DB Woodside, “Suits,” “24”), has been sent to Los Angeles to convince Lucifer to return to the underworld…can the Devil incarnate be tempted toward the side of Good, or will his original calling pull him back toward Evil?
Which leads me to another reason I have Spock eyebrow about the whole thing. Aside from the fact that making the show another police procedural veers completely off what the Lucifer comic was about, don’t we have enough of those types of shows? Is Fox trying to ride the Gotham ratings coattails?
I’m not completely oblivious. I realize that adapting a comic book series for mature readers on a network like Fox is a bit problematic. The fact of the matter is that we’re not going to get a true, 100% representation of the comic on the screen under those conditions. However, the showrunners could at least attempt somewhat to stay true to the conceit of the comic book tale. The comic stories that Mike Carey wove about predestination, free will, and clashes with Heaven were elegant and engaging. The trailer seems full of quips and flash. Woo-wee. And why even make the series if you’re going to veer so far from the source material? Again, I might be jumping the gun, but the series description and this new trailer ain’t instilling me with confidence. At all.
Lucifer, starring Tom Ellis as Lucifer, Rachel Harris, DB Woodside, and Lesley-Ann Brandt, will hit Fox next year.