To start the pilot reviews off with a bang, I’m going with my favourite first – Lucifer. If it’s also the (nearly) first alphabetically, well, that’s a happy coincidence.
This is the kind of show where the title character will make or break you, and Fox made a great decision with Tom Ellis. He plays Lucifer Morningstar with just enough straight-faced tongue-in-cheek to pull off the premise (it sounds contradictory, but both terms do actually apply), glossing over the typical snags one finds in a pilot. The show is based on a character created by Neil Gaiman in his Sandman series, and elaborated on by Mike Carey in a later graphic series, but that’s all I know about the source material*.
The rest of the cast is less standout, probably due to the fact that they suffer from flawed storytelling – there’s far more telling than showing at this stage in the game. I love that the female lead (played by Lauren German) is a former Hollywood starlet. It provides a legitimate reason for her to look a little too attractive for real life, and also creates a very believable source of friction in her day job as a police officer. I also look forward to seeing more of Lucifer’s therapist, because I’m sure what goes on behind those closed doors will be highly entertaining.
Of the current crop of pilots, this is the one that I’d recommend DVR-ing. If it goes well, it’ll hit the ground running. At the worst, it’ll be a middling supernatural cop drama that fizzles after a season and goes the way of the unfortunate Forever.
*It’s a life goal of mine to eventually make it through the entire Gaiman anthology, but not a top priority.
For those interested in the plot, pseudo-spoilers ahead:
The original fallen angel has taken a vacation from his day job, and is kicking back dispassionately in LA making minor mischief. When one of his casual projects is murdered, he jumps into the police investigation of her death and meets the (prerequisite) female detective who’s immune to his various paranormal charms. They fight crime, she wrangles the problems of daily life and workplace drama, and her daughter decides that Lucifer is the most awesome adult ever. Along the way, Lucifer also manages to snag himself a therapist, because he’s got more than a few existential problems to work out. It promises to be good times, at least if the writing continues to walk that fine line between ridiculous and too-serious.