Lucifer

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Lately, I’ve been bored not having any TV show to watch. Starz’s Outlander recently aired its Season 3 finale. It will be several months before Starz network airs Season 4. CW’s Supernatural is currently on winter hiatus and won’t return with new Season 13 episodes until late January. That’s still at least a couple weeks away. I needed a “new” show. Thus, I decided to check out Fox’s Lucifer on random whim on December 27th. Lucifer had been on my “TV shows to eventually watch” list. But I honestly have no idea why I chose this particular show right now. I took a chance not knowing whether or not I’d actually like Fox’s Lucifer. I was hooked after watching the pilot episode. This show is not what I expected at all!

The main character, Lucifer Morningstar, is based off a character from the DC comic book series The Sandman by Neil Gaiman, Sam Keith, and Mike Drigenberg. This character eventually became the protagonists in his own spin-off series on DC Comic’s imprint Vertigo. Fox’s Lucifer is a TV show adaptation based the spin-off comic book series. Compared to the comic books, Lucifer Morningstar’s character is interpreted much differently in the TV show.

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Lucifer revolves around the basic premise of Lucifer Morningstar who was cast out of Heaven and condemned to rule Hell for all eternity…until he took a permanent vacation to Los Angeles in 2011 AD. People come to Los Angeles to reinvent themselves and/or search for something. Lucifer owns and runs a swanky piano bar/nightclub called Lux with the assistance of his former demon torturer, Mazikeen. Lucifer is portrayed as a sophisticated, charismatic, and irresistibly charming gentleman with playboy tendencies. He doesn’t really care much for humanity. Also, it makes sense Lucifer would have penchant for custom-tailored designer suit ensembles. Plus, his 1964 black Corvette is a pretty awesome ride as well. It really compliments his elegant, devil-may-care personality.

I find it quite fascinating how Lucifer decided to name his nightclub Lux. Lux translates to “light” in Latin. This is paying homage that Lucifer is the “light-bringer”. It bascially references his former angelic state. Throughout the show, Lucifer Morningstar tries to escape stereotypes referring to his angelic side. He typically is always trying to convince people he is the Devil. Some people are convinced of his claim, while others aren’t quite buying it. Yet, he resents when humanity blame the Devil for the horrible decisions they’ve made in life. Lucifer always insists humans need to hold themselves accountable for their own decisions.

The Devil enjoys punishing evil people who deserve it. Lucifer becomes a civilian consultant for LAPD. He forms an unconventional partnership with LAPD homicide Detective Chloe Decker. She is a pariah in her police department unit. No one wants to work with her…until she unintentionally meets Lucifer Morningstar on a high-profile case. He proves to be quite resourceful. This is a start of a beautifully complex friendship between Lucifer and Detective Decker. Their intriguing relationship continues to be further fleshed out throughout the seasons.

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[Season 3 cast from left to right: Lt. Marcus Pierce, Dr. Linda Martin, Amenadiel, Charlotte Richards, Ella Lopez, Detective Daniel Espinoza, Detective Chloe Decker, 8Lucifer Morningstar, and Mazikeen]

Lucifer is chalk full of fascinating major and supporting characters. Season 1 introduces us to staple main characters. Amenadiel, Detective Chloe Decker, Mazikeen, Detective Daniel Espinoza, and Dr. Linda Martin. It seems Lucifer can only be emotionally vulnerable with two people. Detective Chloe Decker, his dear friend and colleague, and Dr. Linda Martin, his therapist. Season 2 introduces a couple new characters. Charlotte Richards and Ella Lopez. Lucifer’s mom inhabits Charlotte’s body. Poor Charlotte struggles with her sanity in Season 3 after the goddess leaves Earth in Season 2 finale. The nerdy lab technician, Ella, slowly becomes an important supporting character. In Season 3, we are introduced to Lieutenant Marcus Pierce. This show brilliantly explores the multi-facets of each character. Most of all, I’d say the city of Los Angeles is a character in itself. It is the backdrop for the storylines of Lucifer. It is essentially the heart and soul of the show’s storylines. The supporting characters add more fascinating complexity to the storytelling. Overall, the character development is brilliantly done in this show.

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Every season explores different themes in terms of Lucifer Morningstar’s character development. Season 1 delves into how Lucifer slowly learns how to care about humanity. His devil-may-care attitude drastically changes as a result of working alongside Detective Decker. He eventually realizes Chloe is his first true friend. Maze doesn’t count. Mazikeen is more of his Hell minion. Lucifer and Chloe come to terms how they deeply care for each other over time. Both are pariahs in their own ways. Season 2 explores the dysfunctional, complicated relationship between Lucifer and his mother, who has escaped from Hell. Amenadiel and Lucifer each have different dynamics with their mother. The goddess takes on the human meat suit of high-profile lawyer, Charlotte Richards. Their mother just wants to be reunited with her beloved sons even if it means being trapped on Earth in Charlotte’s body. Lucifer expressed more vulnerability when it came to tackling his turbulent emotions regarding his mother. Season 3 revolves around Lucifer’s identity. He hated his angel wings so much that he got Mazikeen to cut them off upon deciding to permanently live in Los Angeles. But his angel wings are back for some unknown reason. Lucifer doesn’t even have his devil face anymore. This ignites a personality crisis as he starts reverting back to old Lucifer. Lucifer begins to backslide after the impressive progress he’d been making so far.

Fox’s Lucifer has an incredible music soundtrack. It is one of the first things that I noticed in the pilot episode. Every episode uses no more than two or three songs. Yet, they perfectly fit the scene’s mood. I’d say it even enhances the very mood of the scene. You can listen to all the songs played in Season 1 and Season 2 on Spotify playlists. Whoever is in charge of the music does an amazing job. I rarely compliment a TV show on its music soundtrack. CW’s Smallville was the last TV show that truly impressed me with its music soundtrack.

Lucifer Season 1 official Spotify playlist

Lucifer Season 2 official Spotify playlist

The storytelling in Lucifer is so addictively compelling. I was hooked halfway through the pilot episode. Lucifer’s multi-faceted personality is explored and dissected through the storylines over the three seasons. He certainly has drastic emotional growth since the pilot episode. Detective Chloe Decker is the main reason for his evolution. Lucifer is known for having plethora of meaningless sexual encounters with women (and men on a few occasions). Yet, Chloe is the first woman in his life whom he desires to get emotionally close with. She is the first woman to not express any sexual desire for him. His irresistible charm has absolutely no effect on her. Lucifer and Chloe are fascinating by each other. In time, they realize their palpable chemistry but don’t want to ruin their close friendship to explore a romantic relationship. Detective Decker and Lucifer can emotionally open up to each other. They have each other’s back as well. The show’s storylines brilliantly flesh out the emotionally dynamic relationship between Detective Chloe Decker and Lucifer Morningstar. I love the conversational banter between them. Mixture of light-hearted and serious moments. Their dynamic relationship reminds me of Richard Castle and Katherine Beckett from ABC’s Castle. Never a dull moment between Lucifer and Chloe. (On a side note: I totally ship DeckerStar. Now we must patiently wait until they do become an official couple.)

MazikeenOf all the supporting characters, Mazikeen has grown a lot since season 1. She is repulsed how her boss, Lucifer, is so fascinated about connecting with humanity. Even to the point of caring about humans…especially Chloe Decker. Maze didn’t care at all for humans at first. This slowly changes throughout the course of season 1. Maze forms an unconventional friendship with Lucifer’s therapist, Dr. Linda Martin. She even has a soft spot for Chloe’s daughter, Trixie. I do love the adorably heartwarming scenes between Mazikeen and Trixie. Trixie is fond of Lucifer and Mazikeen, yet Maze is the only one who shows affection back. Lucifer definitely doesn’t like children. Maze eventually wants to discover who she is on her own. The demon bartender/bodyguard quits her job at Lux and even becomes roommates with Chloe and her daughter. Also, she forges a close friendship with Detective Chloe Decker as well. Yet, Chloe has no idea her roommate is Hell’s former demon torturer. Although, Trixie saw Maze’s true demon face and wasn’t frightened by it. The young child accepted her true form. Maze goes on a reflective journey of self-discovery along with how to use her strengths in finding an Earthly job that best suits her. Bounty hunting is the best use of her unique skill set. This way she can still be a bad-ass ninja. Ultimately, Maze wants to find her place in the society considering she ain’t leaving Los Angeles anytime soon. Her former boss, Lucifer, has absolutely no intention of going back to rule Hell. She still continues to keep an eye out on Lucifer every once in a while.

The thing that surprised me the most was the impeccable balance between light-hearted and serious moments in the storylines. I was not expecting to find so much humor inserted into the episode’s plot arcs. It has been a while that I’ve laughed this much watching a TV show. The humor in this show often involves immature and/or innuendo elements. Lucifer can certainly be an immature child sometimes. It is surprisingly one of his endearing aspects of his dynamic personality. Also, the Devil themed puns thrown into conversational exchange are amusingly entertaining.

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This show is classified as a supernatural cop-procedural drama. Another thing that surprised me was how the supernatural element wasn’t as prominent. In fact, Fox’s Lucifer is actually a quirky cop-procedural drama with supernatural aspects sprinkled into the storytelling. Obviously, this show is much different from the other cop-procedural TV shows I’ve seen over the years. None of them involved a crime-solving Devil working with LAPD as a civilian consultant.

It intrigues me how the show decided to make Lucifer Morningstar have a bizarrely fascinating mixture of a posh and generic British accent. Being Prince of Darkness, the posh aristocratic element is helpful when he lords his charismatic charm and power over people. The generic element is helpful when connecting with humanity.

Lucifer S3Fox’s Lucifer has an incredible cast ensemble. Every actor was perfectly cast for their roles. Most of all, it is quintessential to ensure you cast the right actor for the lead role(s). Tom Ellis was a fantastic choice to play the leading role of Lucifer Morningstar. He nails the irresistibly charming, hedonistic, and sophisticated vibe of the character. Best of all, his facial expressions convey a plethora of emotions. He doesn’t even need to speak any words sometimes in a scene. He even lends his singing vocals for the show. I was honestly surprised to learn he actually sang in the show. Tom has a soothingly smooth singing voice. Don’t even get me started on his alluring smiles. Most importantly, he brilliantly brings to life the multi-faceted personality of Lucifer Morningstar. This show has formed an appreciation for Welsh actor Tom Ellis. Lauren German plays LAPD homicide Detective Chloe Decker. Tom Ellis and Lauren German make a dynamic duo. The cast ensemble has chemistry on and off-screen. This element is particularly important for any TV show to be successful.

Lastly, Fox’s Lucifer is in no way glorifying the Devil to make him a likable person. Certain critics such as One Million Mom had tried to petition to prevent this show from even airing its series premiere. They didn’t understand how Lucifer Morningstar’s character is based off the DC comic series The Sandman. One Million Mom claims this TV show is sheer blasphemy. Yet, Fox’s Lucifer is more a fantasy supernatural show. It doesn’t involve anything about the Bible or Christianity. I myself am a Christian and not at all offended by this TV show’s premise and themes. Lucifer Morningstar’s character is honestly more an anti-hero with hedonistic proclivities who is irresistibly charismatic and elegant. Yet, he shows his darker and tormented side sometimes. Just like in Hell, he enjoys punishing evil people. This is why he willingly become a civilian consultant for LAPD. This allows him to connect with humanity to eventually care about them. His time working alongside Detective Chloe Decker has changed him into a slightly less hedonistic person. Fox’s Lucifer revolves around the idea of evolution. Lucifer essentially becomes slightly less devilish and more human over the course of the seasons.

Lucifer promotional banner_5Lucifer is an addictively interesting show that has really surprised me. I’m glad I recently decided to check it out on random whim. It’s been a while since I’ve been this hooked on a “new” TV show. Between December 27th and January 2nd, I basically binge marathoned Fox’s Lucifer. That’s 42 episodes within six days! I watched nearly 5-6 episodes everyday continuously back-to-back. One day I even pushed myself to watch 9 episodes in one sitting. A bit too intense even for myself. I could have easily binged this series in a shorter time span. But I had things to do throughout the day. I can’t just sit on my arse all day and irresponsibly binge watch a TV show no matter how wonderfully addictive it is. Nonetheless I’m quite impressed with my 42 episodes binge in six days. Now, I’m fully caught up the currently airing episodes of Lucifer Season 3. I’m a bit sad how I’ll have to wait on a weekly basis for new episodes. Binge marathoning has its pros and cons. Yet, I regret absolutely nothing about intensely binging Fox’s Lucifer. I can’t believe I didn’t discover this awesome TV show sooner!?! Sometimes, we come across shows at later times when we can truly appreciate it.

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Penny Dreadful

 

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I’d like to say I’m generally open-minded when it comes to movie and TV show genres. But usually I avoid psychological thriller or horror genres. Just ain’t my cup of tea. Yet, I’ve made few exceptions. This is applicable to more TV shows than movies.

Despite being behind on many of my prime time shows, I decided to start an entirely new TV series. I had no idea what at the time…except that it had to be fairly short. I wasn’t willing to commit to another long-running TV series. Showtime’s Penny Dreadful was one of the options. I’d heard of this show but just never had time to get around it. Plus, my friend gave high praise for Penny Dreadful. This further cemented my selection. In the end, I decided to check out Showtime’s Penny Dreadful.

First, I must give some historical context. There were many social changes during the Victorian era in Britain including increased literacy rates and technological advances in many industries. The working-class readers desired for more affordable popular literature circulated on a larger scale. This gave birth to 19th century publishing phenomenon of penny dreadful literature. Compared to popular serialized novels of the time, penny dreadfuls cost only one penny. These stories would be published in weekly parts. They were printed on cheap wood pulp paper. Penny dreadful literature included over-dramatic and highly sensational subject matters. Often, these stories included criminal or supernatural themes. This particular type of literature mainly appealed to working-class citizens.

I safely assumed Showtime’s Penny Dreadful would have an overall dark, somber tone. So I wasn’t going into this with unrealistic expectations. Beyond this assumption, I had no idea what to expect with this TV series.

After watching enough premium cable network shows, I’ve developed coping mechanism to deal with gory violence, sexual content, nudity, and profanity. I was hooked after watching the pilot episode. Penny Dreadful is an addictively heartbreaking show. The three seasons takes place between 1891 and 1892. Late Victorian era in London, England.

I’m pleasantly surprised that profanity wasn’t much of an issue. Only a total of 15-20 times “fuck” is used over 27 episodes. Of course mainly Ethan Chandler, the only American character, drops the f-bombs. Even scenes involving nudity were mostly tasteful. Scenes with sexual content is far and few throughout the entire series. Although, some sex scenes were pretty intense. Gory violence is  a common theme with this particular show. It can be tough to stomach at times. Yet, I’ve seen enough premium cable network shows to find a way to deal with it.

I love the opening credits and beautifully haunting theme song. The intense imagery used in opening credits brilliantly represents the show’s essence.  The main actors were perfectly cast for their roles. Each of them deliver incredibly powerful performances individually and collectively.

Penny Dreadful explores an overall theme among the characters. Everyone has their inner demons and we all have different coping mechanisms to deal with it. “There is some thing within us all” is Season 1’s promotional tagline. The show features captivatingly complex characters. Sir Malcolm Murray, Vanessa Ives, Victor Frankenstein, Sambene, Lily Frankenstein, The Creature, Ethan Chandler, and Dorian Gray. Of course there are reoccurring characters that play an important role in the seasons’ plot arc. Each character combats the dark forces that pervading their intertwined lives. I was so emotionally invested in these characters.

Over the three seasons, we learn more background story about the main characters except Dorian Gray. Basically we know nothing of his origins. Dorian Gray remains an alluring conundrum up till the series finale. My first impression of him was formed when he set up a private erotic photo shoot with Brona Croft. I found him uber-creepy until halfway through Season 1. Suddenly, I found him stunning beautiful and inexplicably charming. My impression didn’t change so drastically with the other main characters. (Side note: Dorian ain’t picky with whom he chooses as his lovers. Very experimental with both genders. He certainly gets around in three seasons. Basically he is the man whore out of all the Penny Dreadful male characters. Now that speaks volumes. But it makes sense for Dorian Gray’s characterization.He seeks out adventures of extravagant debauchery to make life interesting.)

Detailed and nuanced elements are intricately woven into each episode’s plot and sub-plots. In terms of the settings and costumes, I was vastly impressed by the accuracy of late Victorian era component inserted within the storylines. One of my favorite reoccurring sets was Dorian Gray’s Portrait Gallery. What extravagant detail in that one room alone. Each character had their own unique fashion style. No two main female or male characters had similar outfit concepts. Although, the characters’ costumes usually used darker color palettes. Very rare occasions were the characters in light color clothing. Most of all, the show’s storylines transports the audience to reputable and scandalous areas of London. Penny Dreadful heavily incorporates symbolism into the storylines. Abel Korzeniowski composes the soundtrack music for this show. The music brilliantly captures the dark themes of the show. Plus, the soundtrack music wonderfully captures the mood of the scenes. There are definitely over-the-top theatrical aspects  sprinkled throughout the three seasons. All of these devices exceptionally enhance your viewing experience. It immerses you into this show’s elaborate universe.

Season 1 gives you a feel for what to expect with this horror drama. Penny Dreadful is not for the faint-hearted. That’s safe to say. With every season, the sub-plots brilliantly ties back into to overarching plot arc. Season 1 introduces you to the dark universe of the show. Each character is richly developed through the intense storytelling. You’ll find yourself growing attached to the characters no matter how much you resist the urge. That’s the point of no return. At this point, you’ve got to see the show through the end. For better or worse. Often, plot twists don’t give me a surprised reaction. Usually I see it coming from miles away. Yet, this show threw numerous plot twists that really took me by surprise. Now that is quite impressive.

Season 2 overarching plot with the nightcomers was difficult to get through at times. I’m not a huge fan of witchcraft storylines in my books, TV shows, and movies. Yet some of my fantasy genre shows (ex. True Blood, The Vampire Diaries, and Supernatural) portray it in a manner that doesn’t entirely freak me out. Not the case with Penny Dreadful. Often, I skipped any scenes involving rituals or spells of any nature. Not my cup of tea.

Season 3 decently wrapped up the entire show. I still have mixed emotions over some sub-plots. In the previous two seasons, the overarching plot arcs typically revolve around London. More than half of the final season swaps between New Mexico territory in America and London, England. I felt the Ethan Chandler origin story dragged on too long. Also, I didn’t like how the crew was split up until the last two episodes. I much prefer the whole gang working together to defeat the dark forces. Not separately. Most of the final season, Vanessa battled the dark forces all by herself. She didn’t have anyone to lean on for comfort and emotional support. Poor Miss Ives. Thank goodness I watched the final two episodes by myself. Overwhelmingly tumultuous emotions. Tears and snot everywhere. I was a hot mess…not in a good way either. Very few show series finales have brought me to legit wretch sobs. Congratulations Penny Dreadful. You join this exclusively elite club.

To put this in context, I intensely binged all 27 episodes of Penny Dreadful over 16 days. I cannot even describe the whirlwind of tumultuous emotions I experienced watching all three seasons. This premium cable show has absolutely no chill with its storytelling. (WARNING: Don’t expect happy endings for any of the main characters.) It will put you through the emotional ringer multiple times in each episode. The season finales especially made me ball like a baby. Yet the overwhelming feels were so worth it! I’d highly recommend Showtime’s Penny Dreadful.

I wish I’d started this fantastic cable TV show sooner. Sadly, Penny Dreadful was not renewed for a 4th season. It has officially ended. The series finale didn’t give full closure for almost all the characters. On the bright side, there might be hope for a spin-off series.

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