Lucifer: Season 3
Recently, one of the most prolific and lucrative sources of material for movies and entertainment has become a humble comic book. The battle royal between perennial rivals, DC and Marvel, has resulted in astronomical soaring beyond the half-billion-dollar mark. There are several corollaries entwined in this trend including the popularization of man cult classic titles. While largely unknown to the general audience they are unaware of these titles, they have avidly loyal fan bases. Lucifer is a title in this category that began as a spinoff character for a title published by the DC imprint Vertigo, created to circumvent the traditional standards defining the permissible standards. Several have found themselves as the basis of television series, and thanks to the permissive standards stemming from cable and streaming services, these comical/graphic novels are now feasible. ‘Lucifer’ follows the exploits of Lucifer Morningstar (Tom Ellis), the actual fallen angel usually revered to as the devil. Having become bored with ruling Hell, deciding to take an open-ended sabbatical to enjoy the myriad of carnal and sensual excesses humanity is prone to delve into with great abandon. The series quickly became exceptionally popular and achieved near-universal critical acclaim, yet, the Fox network executives with programming oversight somehow rationalized cancelation after the third season. Fortunately, for those of us that enjoy quality programming, the current programming paradigm has been expanded beyond the traditional broadcast channels including all tiers of cable ad the growing influence of streaming video services. As this new rule set applies to this series, there are two distinctive advantages. First, it rescued a popular and worthy show from the vagaries of the studio accountants. Second, the nature of the themes is substantially more mature than permissible under the content restrictions imposed by the FCC. Once Netflix assumes production for the upcoming fourth season, the double entendre necessary to skirt the salacious elements of the story to remain in compliance with Federal guidelines. It will be extremely interesting to see how the producers handle the transition.
After Lucifer addresses the turmoil created by the appearance of his mother, Goddess, the co-creator of the universe, he discovers that man aspects of life have been altered. His mother had taken over the body of white shoe attorney, Charlotte Richards (Tricia Helfer), leaving a trail of emotionally damaged and sexually frustrated humans, angels and demons. His routine soon settles back to investigating crimes with the object of his obsession Detective Chloe Decker (Lauren German). Lucifer had ripped off his angelic wings in the act of defiance, frustration, and anger. After displacing his mother to another dimension, he awakens in the desert, his wings returned. His angelic brother, Amenadiel (D.B. Woodside), spirals into his crisis of faith as he attempts to confront his unknowing participation in their Father’s placing Chole in Lucifer’s sojourn on earth. Lucifer’s memories are fragmented compelling him to turn to Chole for help.
There is an intrinsic set of problems facing the showrunner as a popular series moves into a fresh, new season. The issues initially faced in the sophomore year continue to manifest. Success brings two production objects that appear to be mutually exclusive. The showrunner must find a way to incorporate the elements responsible for the popularity while introducing new characters and situations to reinvigorate the ongoing story. Amnesia is a perennial favorite plot contrivance with most soap operas. It permits the point of view character to re-confront aspects of the established story while affording the opportunity to alter the direction of the narrative. Although the use in that general is inevitably mundane and poorly executed, the creator and driving force behind Lucifer, Tom Kapinos, is a master class storyteller brilliant in his control of character growth and situational development. The series had an uneven start in the first season which can be expected to consider Mr. Kapinos. Stylistic approach. His shows depend upon delving deeper into the dark, hedonistic recess of his character’s psyche. This was evident in abundance in his previous hit series. ‘Californication,’ and to a lesser extent on his broadcast network, FCC constrained show, ‘Dawson's Creek.’
Mr. Kapinos has a trademark protagonist that encompasses the essence of Lucifer Morningstar. As a writer, he has the predilection for main characters plunged into an existential crisis that unremittingly erodes his physiological and emotional foundation. This resulted in a considerable number of similarities between Lucifer and the main character of ‘Californication,’ Hank Moody. Both are successful in their current positions, Hank as a best-selling author and Lucifer as the lord of Hell. They abdicated that position jumping into an existence fueled by drugs, alcohol and every variation of bizarre sexual behavior possible. This is where the migration from Fox broadcast network to Netflix will have the greatest potential impact of the series. In less capable hands there would be the distinct possibility of the series derailing on a juvenile morass of sex without context. I am quite certain that with Mr. Kapinos at the helm the charters and situations will flourish with a level of maturity and depth unattainable on broadcast networks.
Among the most significant changes found in this third season is the introduction of a new character, police detective lieutenant Marcus Pierce (Tom Welling). Technically, this series is a police procedural so adding another member of the force. That is the usual, anticipated progression but not for the creation of the brilliant Mr. Kapinos, there must be substantial supernatural complications. Pierce appearances to be a man of middle age but he is ancient beyond comprehension. He is Cain, described in the Book of Genesis as the first murderer. As punishment, he was marked with immortality condemned to wander the earth alone. For the last few centuries, he has been trying to kill himself without success. Typically, immortality is regarded as a desirable gift, but in the context here it is a divine curse. The usually expected complications arise with Piece assuming command over Chole, he ex-husband and partner, Dan Espinoza (Kevin Alejandro) and the forensics expert, Ella Lopez (Aimee Garcia). Ms. Garcia has crafted a growing career as a journeyman character actor with a certain panache portraying lively, quirky characters. Here she has become one of a tight-knit group of women. Also, in that group are Dr. Linda Martin (Rachael Harris), who had been Lucifer’s therapist, demonic torturer, Mazikeen (Lesley-Ann Brandt), better known simply as Maze and occasionally Chole. This group of ancillary characters is ideal for efficient and entertaining exposition and the management of ‘B’ storylines.
Like most fans, it was disheartening to read the cancellation notice and related to the series had been subsumed into the Netflix lineup. The series is incredibly well crafted, tightly written dialogue presented by a cast capable of individual excellence as well as coming together forming a seamless ensemble infusing the narrative with humor, suspense and an ideal touch of classic horror. At the center of this incredible series is Tom Ellis, a true master of many abilities. Occasionally he exhibits his musical side by sitting at the piano in his nightclub, Lux, accompanying himself as he sings with emotional control and musical acumen. For once exceptional quality avoids inclusion on the dreaded ‘Brilliant but Cancelled’ roster.