by Mike Sangregorio
During Wednesday’s Preview Night Ballroom 20 was taken over for a few screenings of upcoming shows. The event was headlined by Supergirl, which I skipped mostly to the poor word-of-mouth I encountered prior to attending the convention, but sat through bits of Blindspot and Containment as well as all of Lucifer. I am glad I did and would recommend this last show if only for watching the main character make a mockery of everything that anyone around him holds dear.
Blindspot featured mostly melodrama and at one point a character exclaims that the antagonist was going to “blow up the Statue of Liberty” so you know what you are in for with that one. Similarly, Containment felt as if I had seen it before since it appeared to be about a plague event centered in Atlanta. That said, I did not see the entirety of either and it is possible things were more nuanced. What I did notice about those two was that no one really laughed. These were dramas, sure, but no one in either show seemed to be enjoying themselves in the slightest. Not that the room was lifeless but things changed with Lucifer.
Played by Tom Ellis (Once Upon a Time) the show comes off as Castle or Bones: A procedural with a gimmick. Instead of a quirky writer this show features the Devil himself paired with a by-the-book cop. Based, at least in name, on the Mike Carey DC series of the same name, the plot is fairly stock but the show itself is enjoyable because of the great dialogue and flawless delivery from its lead. Imagine Tom Hiddleston deciding that Loki should be a semi-noble rogue with a penchant for solving mysteries.
The show almost feels as if it were written for a sitcom. Imagine a half-hour romp through Los Angeles and every once in a while there is a laugh track and someone says “oh, Lucifer!” as he grins knowingly at the camera. It does not feel as if it should work but there is no arguing with a room full of people who are genuinely laughing.
If nothing else, treat yourself to some of Lucifer Morningstar’s great one liners such as telling a young schoolchild that she has a hooker’s name. None of this should work and the main character almost seems to know it. He tells each person he meets that he is the immortal Devil himself and there is no attempt to hide his identity or not be proud of who he is. The episode ends with our hero being described as an “invaluable crime-fighting tool” and the apparent assumption that everyone is simply going to accept him as one of the squad.
Lucifer shares a few similarities to the late Constantine including being bedeviled by an angel of heaven who only shows up when it is convenient to the plot. Mystical shenanigans and a few people who have to have them explained along the way (essentially “Lucy” can get you to reveal your deepest darkest desires with merely a question and is “loins-stirringly” attractive to the opposite sex). Makes me wish that Matt Ryan would wander on screen and offer to give him a light. Different networks (Lucifer will air on Fox while Constantine was on NBC) but who knows, maybe if we all want it bad enough we can demand this show become the shared Vertigo universe we all know it can be.
This version of Lucifer refuses to take almost anything seriously and the show is better for it. Watching it was the kind of pleasant surprise that is the hallmark of Comic Con.