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Lucifer: The Complete First Season
Warner Home Video
DVD Released: 8/23/2016
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 8/30/2016
A few years ago, I made the prediction (although I don't think that it was in print) that the success of The Avengers would inspire Marvel to put every obscure character in their stable on-screen. And while few expectedGuardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man to be the hits that they were, Marvel has actually done a good job of keeping themselves in-check (thus far). While DC has been a bit more shy with theatrical films (thus far), they have been the ones to unleash little-known characters onto the small screen. Green Arrow wasn't necessarily a household name and Legends of Tomorrow features several second-tier characters. Now, DC has tapped into Vertigo, their alternative arm to bring us titles like Constantine and Preacher. Another member of this group is Lucifer, but this one doesn't feel like it started out in comics.
Having grown tired of ruling hell for millennia, Lucifer Morningstar (Tom Ellis) has come to Los Angeles for a vacation. He runs a nightclub called Lux along with his faithful demon bartender, Mazikeen AKA Maze (Lesley-Ann Brandt). Lucifer grants "favors" for people to help them in life, and, of course, he looks to collect on those favors in the future. One such person was singer Delilah (AnnaLynne McCord). When she is killed in a drive-by shooting, and dies in Lucifer's arms, he volunteers to help Detective Chloe Decker (Lauren German) solve the case. Thus begins a working relationship in which Lucifer helps Decker solve crimes. He also begins to see a therapist (Rachael Harris) in order to try and figure out why Decker he's drawn to Decker. Meanwhile, an angel named Amenadiel (DB Woodside) has come to Earth to take Lucifer back to hell, by any means necessary.
Lucifer may be the ultimate example of too many cooks in the kitchen. The show was developed for television by Tom Kapinos, the creator ofCalifornication. One of the executive producers is Len Wiseman, who co-created the Underworld series and directed the pilot here. Another one of the executive producers is Hollywood legend Jerry Bruckheimer. I get the feeling that each one of these men had a vision for the show and we get to see them all collide on-screen. Lucifer is a ladies-man just like Hank Moody from Californication. The series features a smattering of good versus evil supernatural fighting, as one would see in an Underworld film. But, clearly Bruckheimer got to have the final say, as Lucifer falls into line with the other police procedurals which he’s made over the years.
Yes, Lucifer takes some interesting ideas and allows itself to turn into every other show on television. The Lucifer presented here does not inspire evil, but lives to punish evil-doers. He has the ability to draw out a person’s inner-most desires and he has above-average strength. Oh, and he’s immortal. Otherwise, he looks and acts like an average person most of the time. This unique individual has been saddled with solving the crime of the week, an approach which comes off as quite odd. The show doesn’t shy away from following the norms of the genre. Someone is killed, Lucifer and Decker talk to suspects, and a killer is revealed. The mysteries are all very rote and quite dull. The show does pepper in some sub-plots, such as Lucifer’s inability to charm Decker and his dislike of her ex (Kevin Alejandro), but very, very little is done to shake things up here.
The show’s saving grace is Tom Ellis. Unlike Hank Moody, whose self-loathing and self-destructive ways made him difficult to watch at times, Lucifer is the life of the party. His complete lack of respect for humans and his disregard for social conventions leads to one funny moment after another. He is constantly insulting someone or barging in somewhere and it’s hilarious because he has no concept that he’s doing something wrong. Ellis plays this character to the hilt, loading him with impish buoyancy and a ton of charm. Lucifer is British for some reason and Ellis’ English phrases only add to the character.
So, Lucifer is a mixed-bag. The police procedural stuff is cliched to a fault and you’ll honestly be surprised at some of the old standards which they trot out. (I hope that you like jealous spouses.) Just as stale is the stuff with Chloe and her ex, who may or may not patch things up. Thank God that Lucifer is here to save the show. Again, his antics are often priceless and the few quiet moments where he questions his existence work as well. I guess that someone decided that an existential comedy with Lucifer wouldn’t work, so we get “CSI: Lucifer” instead. The show is entertaining, but don’t expect to be intellectually challenged in any way.
Lucifer: The Complete First Season can’t resist a piano solo on DVD courtesy of Warner Home Video. The three-disc set contains all 13 episodes from the show’s first season. The show has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The image is sharp and clear, showing no grain or defects from the source materials. This is a dark show, but the action is always visible, and the flashes of color look good. The picture is a bit soft at times, and we get some haloes (no pun intended) around the actors. The DVD carries a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The track delivers impressive surround and stereo effects during the club scenes, placing us in the heart of the party. The action scenes provide some mild bass effects.
The Lucifer: The Complete First Season DVD contains several extras. Disc 1 offers two DELETED SCENES, as does Disc 2. The remainder of the extras are found on Disc 3. We actually get four DELETED SCENES here. "Lucifer: 2015 Comic-Con Panel" (13 minutes) kicks off with an introduction which only meant something to those who were actually at the event. Following this, we get a brief discussion with Producer Joe Henderson, Executive Producer Len Wiseman, Tom Ellis, Lauren German, Lesley-Ann Brandt, DB Woodside, Executive Producer Ildy Modrovich, and Executive Producer Jonathan Littman. "Character Profiles" offers short videos which introduce Amenadiel, Chole Decker, Linda, and Dan. "Devilish Duo" (2 minutes) focuses on the relationship between Lucifer and Decker, while "Lucifer Morningstar" (1 minute) looks at the main character. The final extra is a 6-minute GAG REEL.
Review Copyright 2016 by Mike Long