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Lucifer returned to Netflix in August of 2020 for a partial fifth season (thanks to production being shut down in the wake of the Covid-19 epidemic) with eight new episodes. Despite the abbreviated season, though, these stories manage to expand the mythology, put the relationships to the test, and infuse the show’s signature procedural twists and turns with meta context and humor. Fans who rallied to save Lucifer when FOX cancelled it at the end of season three continue to reap the rewards, as the writers seem to have tapped into what their base wants and are willing to deliver it.
Anyone familiar with the work of author Neil Gaiman (Good Omens) and his fascination with the myths and trappings of Heaven and Hell will recognize his stamp on this show. If you’ve never read Gaiman or seen Lucifer before, it’s not a difficult concept to grasp. Based on the character of Lucifer Morningstar from the Sandman comic book series, this sexy devil is not the Prince of Lies or the incarnation of evil as commonly depicted in media, but a self-indulgent fallen angel working out his daddy issues on Earth.
Tom Ellis is pitch perfect as the titular character, who splits his time between running a hot L.A. nightclub and offering unsolicited consultation to an L.A.P.D. homicide detective (Lauren German), the one woman seemingly immune to his charms. Ellis’ Lucifer is handsome, charming and slick, of course, but never more interesting than when he’s a clueless, befuddled mess. We’ve seen the devil as a seductive trickster and dealmaker before, but watching him work out his insecurities in therapy? That’s new. And this season he gets some company on the couch, which is even more fun.
What to expect:
At the beginning of each episode of Lucifer, the following words appear on a plain black screen: “In the beginning . . . The angel Lucifer was cast out of Heaven and condemned to rule Hell for all eternity. Until he decided to take a vacation.” That’s all you need to know about it, really. Those few lines aren’t just a succinct summary of the premise, they encapsulate the show’s point of view and tone. There are big ideas here, like redemption and personal responsibility and emotional growth, but much like the title character, the series never takes itself too seriously to get in the way of having a good time.
Think of it as a character study wrapped in the trappings of a police procedural. Each case is neatly designed as a metaphor to illustrate whatever existential crisis Lucifer is going through at the time. In later seasons, the balance shifts from focusing on the murder of the week to more serialized arcs, though the homicide cases and thematic links to Lucifer’s issues remain an ongoing staple. The romantic arc between the two leads also grows more prominent, as obstacles are thrown into their path and then overcome. The push and pull between them, fueled by Ellis and German’s formidable chemistry, is what ultimately makes this series worth watching for 75 episodes, and hopefully beyond.
It’s always satisfying when a show recognizes and rewards its fan base, and with the latest batch of episodes Lucifer does that, without straying from the formula that made it popular in the first place.
Close friends and loved ones after hours. Although this carries a TV-14 rating, the graphic nature of the murder investigations, heavy themes, and sexual content skew it toward a more mature audience.