The Life & Times of an Auteur.

Commentary on Pop Culture, and maybe creating some of my own.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Lucifer - Thoughts, Musings, Opinions


♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫
Lucifer loves the little children
All the children of the world
Red & yellow, black & white
they're precious in his sight
Lucifer loves the little children of the world
♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫

How did this show come about? Anti-hero led television shows are popular. And the Fox Network loves their police procedurals. And comic book adaptations are popular... which is probably the only reason Fox paid for the rights to a comic book they probably wouldn't have needed to buy the rights to at all to make this show. Just drop the names "Amendiel", "Mazikeen", and "Lux" and you have the exact same show without having to pay DC Comics, Warner Bros, Neil Gaiman, and maybe Mike Carey a lot of money. It's not like Gaiman created the character, Lucifer Morningstar is in the public domain.

I probably shouldn't curse in a review that I want to be at least semi-professional, but why does Lucifer give a fuck about these people?  Why does he give a shit about punishing the wicked? To back up slightly, when the show opens, Lucifer is a sex hound who has had a number of affairs (I will admit that it's been a while since I read the comic book, but I do not recall him ever bedding any humans or showing any interest in bedding humans... but hey, what should I expect from the showrunner behind "Californication"?), and a pop star he had a fling with is murdered... Lucifer, feeling sympathy decides to make her killer pay and teams up with a detective in the LAPD played by Lauren German whom is the only human he met impervious to his charms... and he develops a bit of an infatuation, and said detective's seven-year-old daughter comes to love him after Lucifer helps her out with a bully. Meanwhile my eyes and ears are bleeding as I watch this. Why couldn't that child have been Elaine Belloc... human offspring of the archangel, Michael, with hidden powers? Well, I suppose she could be, but....

I'm not going to say the Lucifer of the comic was some evil villain... but he definitely wasn't a nice guy, or a good guy. He hated his father, he was ruthless, he had a sense of fair play but twisted... exact words. He wasn't interested in buying or corrupting souls... he just wanted to give his hated father the finger, even to the point where he created his own universe to rob Yahweh of his "monopoly"... and his existence came with one rule: worship nothing. Ultimately, he's a conceited prick rebelling against his conceited father. As David Easterman, a character who sees himself as a victim of Lucifer, puts it: "when the devil wants you to do something, he doesn't lie at all. He tells you the exact, literal truth. And he lets you find your own way to hell". The Lucifer of the comic book is not a nice person. He doesn't care about humans. He doesn't care about anyone, really. Except God... because what he's doing is a temper tantrum on cosmic levels.

BTW, Lucifer's supernatural ability to charm just about any woman into bed, or anyone into doing anything he wants. The episode ends with him going for therapy, and paying the therapist for services rendered with sex... all through his devilish charm. Didn't we just see such a thing on Netflix's "Jessica Jones" TV series without it being played for laughs? In fact, on "Jessica Jones", Kilgrave and his ability were chilling. Now, I'm not saying I expect good behavior from Lucifer, but he wasn't doing this in the comic book... and the way the comic book was written, were he doing this, it wouldn't have been played for laughs. It would have been chilling because, while the comic book tried and succeeded in making its title character compelling, it never really tried to make him likable. The show is trying to make him lovable and sympathetic.


Mazikeen is well cast, but she's shunted off to the side when she should be the "love interest" of our devilish protagonist, not some LA cop. In the comics, she was a daughter of Lilith and became defacto leader of an army of demons... all while loyal to her lord and lover. Maybe she'll be given more to do here later on, but I already dislike the way she's being written.

The comic book was very existential, very philosophical, and very smart. This show is none of those things. None. I'm not against changing things for an adaptation, most adaptations do it because different mediums come with different sets of rules, requirements, pacing, etc. But this show changed the source material on a fundamental level, the very premise of the show is divorced from the comic book. I didn't like this. I really, really didn't like this. The Fox Network probably wouldn't air this if it wasn't adapted into a police procedural, that is the only explanation I can even conceive of in regards to this TV show. Because all of the show's problems come down to this decision. Remember when that "Punisher" TV series was in development where Frank Castle was a cop by day while moonlighting as a violent vigilante by night? This is cut from the exact same cloth as that pitch. The Fox Network took a great comic book, one of my all time favorites, and... they slaughtered it.

I don't think Tom Ellis does a bad job with the material he's given. I wouldn't mind seeing him play the Lucifer Morningstar that I know and love, even though he wouldn't have been my first choice. But there's nothing about this pilot that compels me to come back. If I hear that the angle of Lucifer working with the LAPD is removed, Lauren German's detective character is removed, Lucifer caring about humans one iota is removed.... er, never mind. Honestly, I hope this thing gets cancelled and HBO or AMC pick up the rights, because I am confident that the Fox Network forced the police procedural friend to all children Lucifer Morningstar angle on this thing (yes, I know he had a line about not liking children, but his actions spoke much louder than his words).

Would I like this if I had never read the comic? Probably not. I don't like police procedurals and I wouldn't like that the Fox Network pussified the Devil. If you're looking for a great version of Lucifer on TV, then by all means check out the fifth season of "Supernatural" on Netflix. Also, now more than ever, I'm glad he's returned recently in the show's eleventh season because it's a much needed antidote to this show. That Lucifer is well written, compelling, and not sympathetic. This Lucifer goes for therapy. Ugh, Lucifer hates God, pure and simple... he has no delusions about it.

If you enjoyed it, then by all means, keep watching it, and keep enjoying it. I'm glad it's working for you. But I don't like it and unless the show is significantly retooled, I doubt I will ever like it. Have fun with it, but I'm out.

12 comments:

  1. I lost it at Lucifer going to therapy. I mean...why would he do that? Why would he feel the need or even the want to do that? Isn't Lucifer, in any version of the character, driven by pride? A fallen angel with such immense pride would never admit to needing help because it would legitimately never cross his mind that he has any serious problems to work out - he feels he's perfect the way he is and it's God, the angels, and humanity that have all the problems.

    And the whole angle of Lucifer working with the cops and punishing sinners on Earth...yeah, this thing was dead on arrival.

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    1. https://thepageaholic.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/lucifer.jpg

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  2. I'm Christian and I want to see the real adaptation of Lucifer, not this dreck! I'm open to police procedurals when they're good like Monk and the recent Rosewood, but the trailer alone warned me to stay away.


    Oh well, at least there's the upcoming Preacher series on AMC. Never read either comic, but I'm looking forward to Preacher a ton!


    -Peanut

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    1. The comic is great. It's not for everyone, but I love it.

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  3. Tom Ellis is the only good part of this show. He's got that charismatic charm that's needed to pull off what ever the hell this show is trying to accomplish. It's more of a Castle reboot than a Lucifer adaptation, get rid of the angels and demons and you've got most of the police procedurals these days. Tom Ellis even has the prerequisite stubble, because every anti-hero protagonist needs stubble these days. Everything about this is safe, no risks were taken, even though he's the Devil. Even the "asshole" things he does are played down and done for laughs, we're meant to think he's a good guy here and not a shades of grey character.

    The charm powers could be done well, if some thought were put into them. I didn't put together the Killgrave connection till you said it and he is essentially drugging them to "act on their impulses." Which is exactly like half of the drug episodes on TV. And the whole "women want to bone him charm" is eye rolling because a) all the other women he meets don't act that way, so it's clearly just a cheap terrible gag and b) if it's not then does it effect men too? What about lesbians? Or Asexuals? Oh right, this is a safe show, can't do anything slightly interesting or outside the norm.

    And couldn't they hire a stunt gymnast/flexible woman for the psychiatrist gag? That was the most awkward and painful cut I've seen in a while. Just get a gymnast, stick her in a blond wig, shoot it from behind so we can't see she's a different actress and can get their reactions as she sticks her leg behind her head. Do they lack that much imagination that they write a flexible woman gag without knowing how to film it? Yes, yes they do.

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  4. I was wondering when you'd come to this. Haven't exactly heard good things about it. Actually, a friend of mine kind of pinpointed it'd suck. I forgot how but he did.

    And well, what I'm hearing isn't exactly promising. Which has me wondering if somebody read about the Lucifer from the comics.

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  5. Better than Agents of Shield? Worse?

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    1. Sigh... I honestly don't know. This one broke my heart way more.

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    2. Oh good grief, I'm staying even further away from Lucifer than!


      Peanut

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  6. Fox's schtick with comic based TV shows seem to be buying the rights and then making whatever show they want, even if it becomes unrecognizable. It may be a nice payday for DC Comics and creators, but it usually isn't so hot for viewers or fans. It's nothing new. "Human Target" did this for two seasons from 2010-2011; it was literally named after a DC Comic but was virtually nothing like it. "Gotham" is essentially "Batman without Batman", as if they're trying to ape "Smallville" (which has only been off the air about five years now). "Lucifer" sounds dreadful but unsurprising. And I am sure it will happen again, because "Gotham" (and to a limited degree "Human Target") worked for Fox.

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  7. Serious disappointment in this travesty of a show.

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