I’m honestly a little surprised that this show even got made, much less on Fox, and I have to admit that I’m very concerned about that network’s commitment to the project, which has apparently faced some opposition from concerned religious people with no sense of humor. Lucifer’s original start date was pushed back several months, and promotion for it has been nearly non-existent, which I heavily suspect does not bode well for the continued existence of the series. While this doesn’t quite fit Fox’s usual pattern of self-sabotaging their own shows, it’s not encouraging. All I’m saying is let’s not get too attached to it.
That said, the pilot was a mostly fun piece of television. Not good, mind you, but fun and with no deficit of charm, mostly because of the devil himself, played by Tom Ellis, who is really, really, ridiculously good-looking and seems to be playing this role with exactly the level of seriousness it deserves—not much. Unfortunately, the star’s charisma and absurd handsomeness are not going to be enough to carry this highly flawed series long term without the rest of the show stepping up its game.
What I’m mostly concerned with here, however, is the sexism on display in this first episode. It’s primarily targeted toward lady cop Chloe Dancer (Lauren German) and mostly played for laughs.
Chloe is a detective, following in the footsteps of her father, who was also an officer. She’s also divorced and a mother of one of the most adorable children I’ve seen on television in ages. However, a huge running joke throughout this episode is that lots of people (well, men, anyway) recognize her but can’t quite place her. Because—get this—she was an actress as a teenager, and she did a nude scene in a movie that is compared to Fast Times at Ridgemont High (a reference that almost no one under the age of thirty will even get). That’s it. That’s the whole joke. That a bunch of dudes recognize her because they’ve seen her boobs.
It’s suggested early on that maybe she’s a woman that Lucifer has had sex with and doesn’t remember, and then it’s implied that maybe she was a porn actress. It’s as if we’re supposed to feel relieved to find out that she isn’t actually a slut or a sex worker—she only committed a youthful indiscretion that has, you know, continued to affect her life as people shame and mock her for it, apparently just straight to her face. It’s also made clear that her actress past has made it difficult for her to progress in her chosen career and contributed to her marginalization on the police force. Obviously, this is hilarious. Ha. Ha. Ha.
Also, all women secretly want to bang Lucifer. And there’s a gold-digging woman marrying the episode’s murderer guy for his money. And every single woman in the show so far looks like a model (I know it’s L.A. but still). Perhaps the crowning moment of grossness in the episode, however, is when Lucifer, an adult man, tells a seven-year-old that her name—Trixie, short (adorably so) for Beatrice—is “a hooker’s name.” I get that he’s the actual devil, but yuck. Again, we’re supposed to laugh at how very, very funny and edgy this is. Ha.
Listen, Lucifer isn’t the worst, and I have actually read that the Chloe nude acting history stuff got scrapped between the pilot and being ordered to series, so I will be giving it another chance or two over the next few weeks. However, it’s not great. The concept could be interesting, but it seems a little too close to other odd couple police procedural shows. Lucifer is way too powerful for crime fighting to be anything like a challenge for him, so I don’t see how that’s going to be very interesting. The pilot has some laughs, when it’s not just mocking the female lead for showing her tits one time or making fun of a child’s cute nickname, and it’s got an interesting premise and a slightly silly and manic energy that I found endearing, but it remains to be seen if this will develop into a show worth coming back to watch every week. With several other genre shows airing on the same night, competition seems stiff, but we’ll see.