Whenever anyone has asked, I’ve described the TV show Lucifer as my guilty pleasure.
After all, in many respects it’s a paranormal romance masquerading as a supernatural police procedural. The Devil, bored of ruling Hell, moves to LA and starts working with a (attractive) homicide detective. Cue random murder investigations used primarily as a plot device to explore character relationships and development.
It can be corny, tongue-in-cheek and nonsensical. The show features the literal Devil, who can be far too smug with himself. It shouldn’t be as good as it actually is.
And yet —
And yet. The beauty of Lucifer is precisely the characterisation. It’s one of those impressive shows that rides on the actors’ charisma. Yes, the plot is often whimsical, but the synergy between the main characters and their interactions with each other (and not just with the show’s eponymous hero) kept me glued to my seat.
Obviously there’s the main duo: Lucifer and his homicide detective Chloe. Watching them dance around each other has been nail-bitingly addictive, particularly with Lucifer’s spiritual angst pitted against Chloe’s belief that he has a mental health condition.
But the side characters are also a huge part of the appeal. A demon finding and struggling with her humanity. A lawyer guilt-stricken over the crimes she’s helped cover up. Sibling rivalry and insecurities. And — my favourite — seeing the impact of the supernatural on the humans drawn into the mix. Dr Linda, you’re the best.
Of course, part of what makes great characters is great dialogue. A script-writing friend of mine told me that in the average script for animation, you aim to have maybe five lines of dialogue per page, all very brief. In Lucifer, you go basically two full pages on average without a single line of description. The dialogue carries the show.
And when you think about the representation, including race, sexual orientation, disability/mental health, religion, single parenthood, divorce…? That’s the icing on the cake.
All of this to say that I’m devastated that FOX have decided not to renew Lucifer for a fourth season — and hopeful that someone else will recognise, and reward, its brilliance.