Occasionally one encounters a piece of fiction so staggeringly ill-judged as to transgress the border of the misanthropic, the production of which in any civilised society would be an actual crime. I can’t say for certain that Lucifer taken as a whole is such a fiction, but on the basis of the first couple of episodes, nothing would surprise me less. The irony of such a staggeringly awful show is that I can only conceive of it having been made after a talentless producer literally made a pact with Satan. With something so catastrophically miss-formed it becomes hard to know where to begin the reckoning.
For the sake of starting somewhere, the biggest question of purpose I have is: do we really need absolutely everything to be a police procedural? It absolutely boggles the mind that given the Prince of Darkness as the lead character, the best thing they could think of was making yet another “weirdo assists police” show – in the last few years we’ve had The Mentalist, Castle, and basically Blacklist and Elementary. More broadly, there must be 50 police procedurals on TV at the moment. It’s been renewed for at least a third season, so there must be an appetite for it, but then again, MacDonalds is trying to open an outlet in near the Duomo in Florence so… The crimes they investigate in the first few episodes are also beyond mundane; at least Castle opened with an inventive gimmick or two.
Cliche veritably permeates every aspect of the show – there’s a kind of sparky dislike from the lead woman detective over the godawfully annoying enforced side-kick… do you think they’ll end up falling in love? I’d bet my eye teeth they end up together. The unpopular ex-husband reeks of “going to turn out to be corrupt” too. So far in the first couple of episodes there’s no sign of the overly-tough boss with a secret heart of gold, so there’s at least that. That sense of “not even trying” extends to all the jokes about how nobody believes he’s the devil, or that he’s immortal. It’s not that there isn’t a vein of something interesting there, but this show just seems content to gesture off to the side and say “and if you want a good joke about that, tell it yourself”. Poor DB Woodside didn’t get that memo, I think, doing his best to bring a bit of menacing gravitas – but some random angel threatening Lucifer with some unspecified penalty… it just doesn’t have any emotional heft to it. It’s like two children endlessly repeating “I know you are, but what am I?” Nobody cares, alright, just SHUT UP!
More serious is the blatant, absolutely ridiculously in-your-face creepiness of the overt sexualisation of everything. Lucifer’s schtick is basically mind-control to induce sexual desire. Luckily Game of Thrones has come along to raise the bar on disturbing rape culture to an unattainable height, and this is marginally less freaky than the Almighty Johnsons, so that’s a win? But put it this way, Tony Soprano was about the worst human being to headline a TV show until Breaking Bad, and even he didn’t start trying to sleep with his therapist for 3 or 4 seasons. There’s obviously some studio exec somewhere who thinks you can just lather sex all over a show and that’ll make it edgy and fun, but if so, they’ve face-planted by trying to do a sex comedy line while hanging onto a kiddie-friendly rating – kids find sex hilarious, dontchaknow, better make sure they can tune into this! Although it’s absolutely rote construction makes me think only kids, or people with that kind of mental age, could actually enjoy this anyway.
Somewhere in LA there are a group of people who all thought this was a good idea and worked really hard to make it happen. That absolutely boggles my mind. It’s not fun, it’s not clever, it’s not sexy – who on earth watches this garbage, and why?