Neil Gaiman’s comic character Lucifer to come to Prime Time in 2016… or will it?
Fans of comic television and of Neil Gaiman’s Vertigo character shouldn’t get too excited at the news that the British-accented Lucifer Morningstar will get a television series, because the gay hating, ultra-conservative Mississippi based One Million Moms is out to give Hell to Fox’s new Lucifer show, and they have organized a campaign to stop the show’s production because they are upset (of course they are), saying the program “mischaracterizes” Satan and “mocks the Bible.”
Lucifer originally filmed a put-pilot for Fox back in September and the episode was screened in July at the 2015 San Diego Comic-Con, which was met favorably by the viewers. It was also recently leaked on torrent sites along with Blindspot and Minority Report. The pilot has been developed by Tom Kapinos, the creator of Showtime’s Californication, who will serve as the showrunner, and will be directed by Len Wiseman (Underworld / Sleepy Hollow) that is if Fox greenlights a full season and doesn’t cave into the pressure from right-wing Christian fundamentalists.
Gaiman originally modeled his character after David Bowie, and was introduced in his Sandman series back in 1989, and after appearing in that book for over 10 years, Lucifer received his own graphic series, which ran from 2000 to 2006. The premise of the pilot is close to that of the comic, in which the Prince of Darkness has tired of the prejudices that mortals hold towards him, and dissatisfied overall with his existence, has given up control of Hell and retired to Los Angeles to run a bar called Lux. As for that leaked pilot, I wonder if it was meant as a marketing strategy and preemptive strike against those “Moms.” What better way than to get bloggers, writers and comic fans to talk and write about what they think of the pilot, and perhaps show Fox that should go ahead with a full season of Lucifer?
Here is my opinion on the pilot:
In the pilot episode we find Lucifer Morningstar (Tom Ellis) at his club, when he gets a visit from the Archangel Amenadiel (D.B. Woodside), who has come to give commandment from their Father for his return to Hell — which Lucifer replies, as he checks his cellphone calendar, “The seventh of never through the fifteenth of ain’t going to happen. How’s that for you guys?” Later he consoles a pop singer, who repeatedly has issues with dating the wrong man. Escorting her from his club (Lucifer is a gentleman), she is gun downed in his arms by a drug dealer. Detective Chloe Dancer (Lauren German) is assigned the case, and discovers it is not a simple case of a low-level drug dealer killing someone over money but maybe a possible hit. When Dancer refuses to let Lucifer help in the murder investigation, Lucifer decides to find who ordered the murder on his own. He wants to make those responsible suffer for what they did. His meddling in the case puts him at odds with Dancer at first, but later manages to convince her he can help with the investigation, since he has a talent for getting people to reveal things.
In general, I dislike comic based television, and those programs of late have certainly disappointed me right from the get-go — with two exceptions, Netflix’s Daredevil and Constantine, which NBC cancelled after one season. As for Neil Gaiman, I never read Sandman or Lucifer but have been a fan of his novel and screenwriting; especially his work on the BBC television show Doctor Who.
I had hopes for this show because Neil Gaiman helped to pen the pilot, but was I also had reservations Gaiman’s character being brought to television due to my previous disappointments with most of the other comic based shows I’ve viewed. My hopes became reality after watching. From start to finish the show is delightfully funny, smartly written and refreshingly entertaining.
Most of the main casting is spot on, with the devilishly good-looking and sophisticated, and oft times arrogant and dickish, Lucifer Morningstar aptly cast with the impressively good-looking Tom Ellis, who is impressive and believable in the role. Lauren German (Chicago Fire / Hawaii Five-O) cast as Detective Chloe Dancer brings toughness and an unassuming sexiness to her role. There is chemistry between German and Ellis, which gives an appealing dynamic between Lucifer and Dancer, though the detective is not bedazzled by his charms. Speaking of charming, Scarlett Estevez has been cast as Detective Dancer’s daughter Trixie, who gets some devilishly cute scenes with the Prince of Darkness, adding a unique dynamic to the show.
Lucifer is not without need of a little fine tuning. There has been some complaints that the character of Archangel Amenadiel, too closely resembles that of angel Manny (Harold Perrineau) from the series Constantine. I understand the parallel drawn between the two, but unfortunately it is misplaced. Both actors are African-American, and fine actors in their own right, but this has nothing to do with characters themselves, who are completely different. As for D.B. Woodside’s portrayal, I felt it was over-the-top with the big and bad and too one-dimensional. Yes, we get that Amenadiel is God’s emissary and is demanding that Lucifer obey their Lord’s will and return to Hell or else, but perhaps more subtlety and less large of presence would translate into a more menacing character. Another uninteresting character is Maze. Lesley-Ann Brandt got the role after Lina Esco (Heroes: Destiny) was replaced after the table read. However, Brandt brought nothing to the table for me. Nicholas Gonzalez (Sleepy Hollow) plays Detective Dan Estevez, Chloe’s ex in this episode. However, Gonzalez has been replaced by Kevin Alejandro (The Return), which is a shame because Gonzalez is just unlikable enough in this role to be convincing as the egotistical and assoholic detective, who Lucifer seems to enjoy poking and you’ll want to dislike.
Overall this is a funny and enjoyable pilot with the possibility of a great new series. The writing and tone of the episode are strong, as is most of the cast. Hopefully the series will get picked up for a full 24 episode season.
If you want to see a full season of Lucifer — and of course give 1MM a flip of the old bird, then sign the petition at Change.org and let Fox TV know how you feel.