“What is it that you desire?” It’s the siren song for weirdos who can’t resist craving a hefty dose of urban fantasy to shake up what could otherwise be a run-of-the-mill procedural with a side of a The X-Files-style dynamic. Lucifer isn’t prestige fare, as anyone who’s watched the show realizes. It’s often quite silly and saucy with the Devil, who’s sporting some sort of hybrid U.K. accent, walking around Los Angeles like a sharp-dressed man and helping a steely detective solve crimes with his Satanic “mojo.” This version of Lucifer Morningstar originated in Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman (with an assist from Sam Kieth and Mike Dringenberg). The cool thing about this TV series, though, is that the Devil’s comic-book origins don’t matter at all.
Yep, one can totally watch Lucifer for sheer comedy and escapism purposes. It’s funny as heck to watch this tweak on the procedural genre’s will-they-or-won’t-they setup of law enforcement partners. They’ve dragged this question out more adeptly than most shows who attempt to so so. Hell, ahead of Season 5 on Netflix (which picked up the show with Season 4 after a Fox cancellation, and agreed to Season 6 after a #SaveLucifer fan campaign), I still wasn’t even entirely sure why Chloe tolerated Lucifer. After all, she’s the only human who can see through all of his sh*t. Yet that question gets answered more sufficiently this year due to a number of revelations.
So, there’s a little more substance going on now, which feels more concentrated due to Netflix not doing the bloated 20+ episode seasons like Fox did. Most importantly, the show stays blissfully ridiculous, for these reasons and more:
(1) The idea of Lucifer growing bored by the routine matters of running Hell and seeking to amuse himself with the LAPD instead;
(2) The same goes for Tom Ellis portraying the Devil as a dashing playboy who runs a nightclub and talks to himself in the mirror whilst nude;
(3) The Devil needs therapy, too! And he constantly frets over how to resolve that unresolved sexual tension with Chloe (Lauren German), who he usually addresses simply as “Detective.” It sort-of reminds me of a long-lost Matthew McConaughey movie, Surfer, Dude, in which he actually plays naked bongos and only addresses his love interest as “East Coast.” There’s a good guest-star idea for Season 6.
(4) The writers decided that Season 5 was the right time to spring an out-of-nowhere announcement on us: Lucifer has a secret twin brother. What a supernatural soap opera we have here, and that tomfoolery is such a punch in the face that I have to respect it.
Look, the show has a loyal audience, who isn’t going anywhere, and the show certainly doesn’t need to pull out major stops itself to keep viewership high. Nonetheless, that’s what this new split-season does. Stones that were previously left unturned are illuminated, and there’s plenty of demonic little trinkets along the way. Like Lucifer 2.0 (his name is Michael, and it doesn’t make much sense in a biblical way), for example, who’s determined to steal his brother’s life while unfurling a very different set of wings on earth while Lucifer’s on a trip to Hell. For sure, “I was wondering when you’d show our face again” is one of the most Lucifer lines that ever existed.
There’s also an episode that viewers have been anticipating (and chattering about) about for awhile: the noir story that travels back to the 1940s. And the series also delivers an excellent meta-episode with a show within a show (called ¡Diablo!). Neither of these experimental efforts are simply a gimmick or bottle episodes but further the narrative. It’s remarkable that the show has constructed such an air-tight set of eight episodes (and done away with the Fox bloat) while retaining what is beloved about these characters. All of this is led by the swaggering antichrist himself, who manages to get himself into so many jams among humans, it’s a kick to watch.
Look, if you watch and love this show already, you’ll be thrilled with where it’s going now. If you don’t watch and are predisposed to enjoy either procedurals or comic books, give the “evil” guy a shot. Lucifer makes a fine binge watch, and you’ll have plenty of time to catch up before the (likely) endgame of Season 6. For now, either prepare to gobble up eight new episodes over a weekend or miss out on a devilishly delightful spin on the same formula that’s relished by Law & Order: SVU and Criminal Minds addicts. The difference, though, is that Lucifer isn’t a stressful watch. It offers sheer joy and pleasure for all involved.
This season, really, is a love letter to the fans who kept the show alive and threw down over the possibility of it ending too soon. The Devil is back, baby, and he’s gonna use that mojo on you.
‘Lucifer’ returns for its fifth season August 21 on Netflix.