You may recall a year or so ago, NBC hopped on the comic book bandwagon with Constantine, a fairly faithful approach to the DC Comics character, who wore a trenchcoat, smoked incessantly and performed exorcisms among other demon hunting activities. While Matt Ryan was closer to the comic book character than Keanu Reeve's take on him in the movie version that preceeded the series, it never caught on and was cancelled after a season.
While Ryan was charming, the show was drab and never sorted out a style to call its own. Fox seems to have learn from that outing in its own DC/Vertigo comics television series, Lucifer, debuting tonight at 9. Here's a taste.
The story of the son of the devil who takes a break from hell and moves to Los Angeles to open a nightclub and discovers he gets a kick out of helping the police punish criminals.
To be clear, it's as ridiculous as it sounds, but unlike Constantine, it knows it and has a playful spirit that the earlier show lacked. One of Lucifer's powers is to get humans to speak their deepest desires at his command, no matter how personal or inappropriate the timing may be, which leads to some amusing declarations.
What really sets Lucifer off is the star making turn by Wales born Tom Ellis as the title character. If Tom Ford were British and an actor, he'd be Ellis. The guy is elegant, charming and can spin the rudest (or corniest) line into television gold. His impact reminds me of the American television debut of Pierce Brosnan on Remington Steele. The show was basically a standard detective series, but Brosnan brought a sophistication and playfulness that US television viewers weren't used to seeing. Well, Ellis is doing it again in Lucifer.
Who knows if a police procedural led by the Lord of the Underworld will catch on, but it will be fun to see if Fox can replicate the first season success of the equally peculiar Sleepy Hollow with Lucifer. Same may be put off by the protagonist's heritage, but it's all in fun. If nothing else, watch tonight's pilot if only to see Lucifer have a chat with his reluctant police partner's daughter. Everything that makes Tom Ellis one to watch is captured in that scene.