The idea of a quirky character teaming up with law enforcement to solve crimes is a tale as old as time. However, just because the formula may be stale, that doesn't mean it can't produce a gem now and then. Because for everySecond Chance, there's also a Lucifer, Fox's new procedural that might be the most surprisingly likable show of the season.
I say "surprisingly" because on paper, Lucifer should not work. A show about the literal devil teaming up with the LAPD to solve crimes elicits automatic eye-rolls. Yet the show acknowledges the absurdity of its own premise in a way that is undeniably fun.
Echoes of executive producer Len Wiseman's last Fox project Sleepy Hollow are apparent throughout Lucifer. The playful, but ultimately platonic relationship between the odd couple leads. The fish-out-of-water awe and discovery of the modern world. The way one's complicated past resurfaces and influences the present. But unlike Ichabod Crane, there is nothing innocent about Lucifer.
As the titular devil, Tom Ellis is absolutely charming, which is exactly what Lucifer should be. Ellis' natural charisma means he can even pull off some of the lamer jokes riddled throughout the Lucifer pilot. And boy, there are some lame jokes. So let's just be clear here: Lucifer's first episode is not its strongest - particularly since a lot of its charm is undercut by the unnecessary slut-shaming of Detective Chloe Dancer (Lauren German), who once appeared in a raunchy film role before becoming a cop. But as Lucifer goes on, it becomes more serialized and a bit more elevated, putting greater influence on Lucifer's inner demons and the complicated familial and hierarchical issues at play in his banishment to Hell.
In order to work through those issues, Lucifer begins seeing a therapist, Linda (Rachael Harris). (Think The Sopranos if Tony were a petulant child and Jennifer Melfi had the hots for him.) It's a weird dynamic, sure. But despite her unethical sexual relationship with Lucifer, Linda is also extremely competent at her job, and watching her force the devil to unpack his daddy issues is an enjoyably cheeky way to further Lucifer's character development.
But the moments when Lucifer truly stands out are the moments when we see through Lucifer's carefree façade. Lurking underneath his f---boi charisma is the violent devil we've all heard about. By still letting Lucifer get in touch with his dark side, the show gives itself the much-needed edge that a show about Satan needs. Because what's the point in the devil having his own show if he acts just like every other L.A. playboy?
So come for the Tom Ellis eye candy, stay for the demonic daddy issues. It's not the best show in the world, but it's a whole lot of fun.
Lucifer premieres Monday at 9/8c on Fox.