Lucifer (TV series)
Lucifer is an American urban fantasy television series developed by Tom Kapinos that premiered on Fox on January 25, 2016. It is based on the DC Comics character created by Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth, and Mike Dringenberg taken from the comic book series The Sandman, who later became the protagonist of a spin-off comic book series, both published by DC Comics' Vertigo imprint. The series is produced by Jerry Bruckheimer Television, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Television.
The series revolves around Lucifer Morningstar, the Devil, who abandons Hell for Los Angeles where he runs his own nightclub and becomes a consultant to the LAPD. The ensemble and supporting cast include Lauren German as Detective Chloe Decker, Kevin Alejandro as Detective Daniel "Dan" Espinoza, D. B. Woodside as Amenadiel, Lesley-Ann Brandt as Mazikeen, and Rachael Harris as Dr. Linda Martin. Filming took place primarily in Vancouver, British Columbia before production was relocated entirely to Los Angeles, California beginning with the third season.
The first season received mixed reviews from critics, though subsequent seasons were better rated; many critics particularly praised Ellis' performance. Despite initially high viewership for its debut, ratings remained consistently low throughout the series' run on Fox. The fourth season also received high ratings and critical acclaim. Fox initially cancelled Lucifer after three seasons; a month later, Netflix picked up the series. Netflix has renewed the series for a fifth season of 16 episodes, the first half being released August 21, 2020. Although the fifth season was initially reported to be the last, in June 2020 the series was renewed for a sixth and final season.
PremiseThe series focuses on Lucifer Morningstar, a beautiful and powerful angel who was cast out of Heaven for betrayal. As the Devil, he gets bored and unhappy as the Lord of Hell for millennia. He resigns his throne in defiance to his father and abandons his kingdom for Los Angeles, where he ends up running his own nightclub called "Lux". He becomes involved in a murder case with Detective Chloe Decker, and is subsequently invited to be a consultant to the LAPD. Throughout the series, several celestial and demonic threats come to Los Angeles; at the same time, Lucifer and Chloe end up appreciating and being happy with each other.
Cast and characters
- Tom Ellis as Lucifer Morningstar and Michael Demiurgos : The Lord of Hell, Lucifer, after becoming bored with his life, abandoning his throne for five years, becomes a civilian consultant for the Los Angeles Police Department while running his own high-end nightclub called "Lux". In season 5, Ellis portrays Lucifer's twin brother Michael, who takes over his brother's identity after Lucifer returns to Hell.
- Lauren German as Detective Chloe Decker: Her late father was a LAPD officer, and she is a homicide detective. She solves crimes with Lucifer, who takes an interest in her upon noticing that she seems to be immune to his abilities.
- Kevin Alejandro as Detective Daniel "Dan" Espinoza: An LAPD homicide detective and Chloe's ex-husband. He is Trixie's father.
- D. B. Woodside as Amenadiel: An angel, Lucifer's older brother, and the eldest of all their siblings. He arrives in Los Angeles to encourage Lucifer to go back to Hell, and failing that, he attempts to force Lucifer back in different ways.
- Lesley-Ann Brandt as Mazikeen: Confidante and devoted ally of Lucifer Morningstar, "Maze" for short. She is a demon who, having served as his head torturer, followed him from Hell to Los Angeles, and acted as a bartender and bodyguard at Lucifer's club. In the second season, Maze looks for a new direction on Earth and becomes a bounty hunter.
- Scarlett Estevez as Beatrice "Trixie" Espinoza: Chloe and Dan's daughter, who befriends Lucifer and Mazikeen.
- Rachael Harris as Dr. Linda Martin: Lucifer's Stanford-educated psychotherapist, who initially accepts "payments" from him in the form of sex.
- Kevin Rankin as Detective Malcolm Graham : A police officer who was shot prior to the beginning of the series. He briefly died but was then brought back from hell by Amenadiel to kill Lucifer.
- Tricia Helfer as "Mum" / Goddess and Charlotte Richards : Lucifer and Amenadiel's mother and exiled wife of God, who has escaped her prison in Hell. She is described as "the goddess of all creation". On Earth, her soul occupies the body of Charlotte Richards, a murdered lawyer. After she leaves the universe at the end of the second season, the human Charlotte resurrects.
- Aimee Garcia as Ella Lopez : A forensic scientist for the LAPD, originally from Detroit. In season 3, it is revealed that Ella had been regularly visited by Lucifer's sister "Rae-Rae" Azrael, the Angel of Death, after surviving a car crash in her youth.
- Tom Welling as Lieutenant Marcus Pierce / Cain : A highly respected police lieutenant who oversees the work of Chloe, Dan, and Ella at the LAPD. He is revealed to be the immortal Cain, who is Adam and Eve's son and Abel's brother. He is the world's first murderer, condemned to wander the Earth forever with the Mark of Cain.
- Inbar Lavi as Eve : The world's first female human, Cain's mother and former lover of Lucifer.
On May 11, 2018, Fox canceled the series after three seasons, stating it was a "ratings-based decision". Before the series' cancellation, co-showrunner, Ildy Modrovich, stated that the final two episodes produced would be moved to a potential fourth season. Instead, Fox broadcast both episodes on May 28, 2018, as a singular two-hour bonus episode.
On June 15, 2018, it was announced that Netflix had picked the series up for a fourth season of ten episodes, which was released on May 8, 2019. On June 6, 2019, Netflix renewed the series for a fifth, and originally final, season of ten episodes. The episode count for the fifth season was later raised to 16. The fifth season will be released in two batches of eight episodes each, starting August 21, 2020.
On June 23, 2020, Netflix officially renewed the series for a sixth and final season.
DevelopmentIn September 2014, it was reported that DC and Fox were developing a television series based on the Sandman character Lucifer, as originally written by Neil Gaiman. The series is a "loose adaptation" of the original comic-book. In May 2015, the series was officially picked up for 13 episodes for the 2015–16 season. Fox then hired Almost Human alum Joe Henderson as showrunner, with Kapinos remaining on the series in a lesser capacity.
In an interview, actress Lesley-Ann Brandt stated that production for the fifth season was "99% finished," with production all completed except for half of the final episode before suspending production due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
CastingIn February 2015, it was announced that Tom Ellis had been cast as Lucifer Morningstar, and that Tom Kapinos would write the pilot, to be directed by Len Wiseman. Lina Esco was originally cast as Maze, however, the role was later recast with Lesley-Ann Brandt. Nicholas Gonzalez portrayed Dan in the pilot episode. In June 2016, it was announced that Tricia Helfer had been cast as Lucifer and Amenadiel's mother, Charlotte, and that she was to appear in multiple episodes in the second season. The character was promoted to series regular in July 2016. Aimee Garcia had also been cast as a regular in the second season, playing L.A.P.D.'s forensic scientist Ella Lopez. In August 2016, executive producer Ildy Modrovich announced the casting of Michael Imperioli as the angel Uriel, Amenadiel and Lucifer's younger brother with "a chip on his shoulder". For the fourth season, Graham McTavish and Inbar Lavi were cast as Father Kinley and Eve respectively. For season 5, Netflix announced the casting of Matthew Bohrer as Donovan Glover.
In February 2020, Netflix and Warner Bros. were reported to have began talks to renew the show for a sixth season. In March 2020, Tom Ellis and other stars of the series were reported to have signed up for a sixth season. However, a contract dispute led Ellis to not be officially signed on until late May.
FilmingAlthough the pilot was shot on location in Los Angeles, the rest of the first season and the entirety of the second were filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia with some exterior filming in Los Angeles. Production relocated to California beginning with the third season, taking advantage of tax incentives provided by the California Film Commission under its "Program 2.0" initiative and spending $92.1 million on production. Season four was also shot on location in Los Angeles, as well as at Warner Bros.' Burbank studio lot, spending $35.8 million on production.
MusicThe opening theme is a six-second clip from "Being Evil Has a Price", performed by the band Heavy Young Heathens. In a lawsuit filed against Warner Bros., the song's composers, Robert and Aron Marderosian, claim the song has been used without giving them proper credit or a licensing agreement.
Several episodes include musical performances by Tom Ellis, although he has stated in interviews that while it is his vocals, the piano accompaniment seen on screen is not actually his. Neil Gaiman is a fan of David Bowie, and some of Bowie's music has been used on the series.
BroadcastIn its first three seasons, Lucifer aired in the United States on Fox, in 720p, high definition, and Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound. The first and second seasons aired on Monday at 9 pm ET, before moving to the 8 pm time slot on Monday for the third season. Hulu owned the exclusive streaming rights in the United States, with each season released after its broadcast on Fox but moved over to Netflix in December 2018. CTV holds the broadcast rights for Canada. In the United Kingdom, Amazon Video holds first-run broadcasting rights, with each episode airing less than 24 hours after the US broadcast. It also airs on the television channel FOX. The series aired on FX in Australia before moving to FOX8 during its third season when FX closed and on TVNZ1 in New Zealand.
Critical responseThe pilot episode was screened in July at the 2015 San Diego Comic-Con. The pilot was met positively by the viewers, with Bleeding Cools Dan Wickline praising the episode, saying "the show itself is enjoyable because of the great dialogue and flawless delivery from its lead" and "This version of Lucifer refuses to take almost anything seriously and the show is better for it."
Max Nicholson of IGN rated the pilot episode a 6.9/10, praising Tom Ellis's performance as Lucifer and the lighthearted tone of the series, but criticizing the series for essentially being another crime procedural series.
The first season received mainly negative reviews. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports that 49% of critics gave it a positive review based on 43 reviews, with an average rating of 5.36/10. The site's critics consensus reads, "Lucifer got sex appeal, but the show's hackneyed cop procedural format undermines a potentially entertaining premise." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 49 out of 100 based on 25 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews."
Critics have been much more receptive to the rest of the series. The second season currently has a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 9 reviews, with an average rating of 7.83/10. The site's critics consensus reads, "Tom Ellis continues to shine as the Morning Star, though perhaps he could fly higher if he weren't locked into such a familiar format."
Ed Power of The Telegraph gave the second-season premiere a 4/5, stating that "It is entirely beguiled by its own preposterousness." Bernard Boo of We Got This Covered gave the premiere 3.5/5 stars, saying "Lucifer's second season gets off to a nice start, building on the show's strengths while retaining some of the weaknesses. It remains an unapologetically sordid, demonically fun hour of TV." LaToya Ferguson of The A.V. Club gave it a B, calling the episode funny with "genuinely funny moments to come from" and saying that the premiere "starts the season off on a good note." She praised Tom Ellis' performance calling it "pitch perfect."
Awards and nominations
Censorship campaignOn May 28, 2015, the American Family Association website One Million Moms launched a petition to prevent the series' airing. The petition stated that the series would "glorify Satan as a caring, likable person in human flesh." It launched the petition and 31,312 people had signed it by the series' premiere date. Posted the same date on the main AFA website, the petition garnered 134,331 signatures by the premiere date. In response to the petition, character creator Neil Gaiman commented on his Tumblr page:
Regardless of the campaign, Fox renewed the series in April 2016 for a second season.