FOX didn’t have much luck with Minority Report, a futuristic police procedural based on a big screen sci-fi film, which was originally based on a short story by Philip K. Dick. Now the network is hoping to have more success with Lucifer, a police procedural based on a comic book character written by Neil Gaiman.
This version of the Lord of Hell character debuted in The Sandman comic series, and eventually earned his own spin-off series. In the new FOX show, Lucifer (Tom Ellis) has grown weary of demons and torturing mortal souls, and has left his throne for a leisurely retirement in Los Angeles, a.k.a. the City of Angels. Despite the urging of angel Amenadiel (DB Woodside) to get back to work as the devil, Lucifer prefers to limit his wicked ways to “wine, women, and song” at his decadent night club, Lux.
Things change for Lucifer when one of his pop star patrons is murdered right in front of him. He’s startled by what may be an emotional reaction to her death, and sets out to find her killer. This is the catalyst for what actor Ellis calls, in the clip you can watch above, an “interesting redemption story for the most unredeemable character.”
His own murder investigation eventually intersects with the official LAPD one, and Lucifer collaborates with homicide detective Chloe Decker (Lauren German). It turns out his power to draw out people’s deepest secrets and desires, amusingly depicted in this latest clip as well as previous TV spots, is very useful in a criminal investigation. Working side-by-side with a truly good person is also a revelation for the Lord of Hell – another important step in his potential road to redemption.
The charming, Brit-accented rogue helping humans while being harassed by angels will likely draw comparisons to NBC’s short-lived series Constantine. In the original comic versions, the magician with connections to Hell was drawn to look like 80s-era Sting, while Lucifer was designed in a young David Bowie’s image. Lucifer’s spin-off comic was penned by Mike Carey, who also wrote a substantial stretch of Constantine’s Hellblazer series. Despite the similarities, NBC’s drama had a definite quirky genre vibe. FOX’s Lucifer, with its familiar police procedural framing, hopes to appeal to wider audience.
A lot will depend on the allure of Ellis’ Lucifer, and the actor thus far is bringing an appealing amount of devilish joy to the character. The TV version of Minority Report improved (too late, sadly) by putting more of the focus on the precognitive’s struggle to fit into normal life, and delving into the morality of prosecuting thought crimes. If Lucifer can transcend the basic procedural and truly develop the devil as a complex, evolving character, this show could succeed where its predecessor failed. Long-running series like Supernatural also prove that clever banter between witty humans and a cheeky king of hell can go a long way in entertaining viewers.
Lucifer premieres on FOX on Monday, January 25 at 9/8c.