I’m sensitive when talking about my PhD research, because I know most people aren’t ready to seriously engage with the idea that Satan is the hero of Paradise Lost (even though debate has been raging for about 300 years… and it’s a stupid debate too, because the evidence is so clear, and academics spin circles to try and invent crazy arguments to refute the obvious).
I’ve wondered whether “America” would ever be able to stomach a real Paradise Lost movie (the production of which has been started, stopped and stalled for a decade already). But the universe surprised me this week, with the Pilot of Lucifer, a new TV series starring the devil as himself. Here’s the overview:
Lucifer is taking a vacation from Hell. And why not? God cast him out of heaven for refusing to follow orders, but then God expects him to sit down there and babysit new souls? He has no interest in “playing a role in God’s play.”
And he doesn’t seem to be taking souls or tempting people on earth either: the opening scene shows him helping a young girl, and telling her to get her shit together, for her own sake, with no strings attached. He seems to have an affectionate, fatherly concern for her.
Until they both get hammered in a drive by shooting, the inciting incident that forces Lucifer to take action. But not before him and the hot detective on the case have a little sexy flirtation, him giving the cocky/funny routine. He asks whether the cops are going to do anything about it; he himself has a vested interest.
Luckily, people just like to tell him things. He has the ability to draw out people’s hidden desires. He has nothing to do with sins; actions are the responsibility of each individual person. He doesn’t cause people to do bad things.
But, oh shit, the hot detective doesn’t fall for his powers – he can’t make her confess his desires. She’s immune to his charms! (Just like, um, Bella in Twilight… this theme has been recycled dozens of times in bad YA fiction, but now I guess it hits prime time TV).
Anyway, it’s mostly just a new version of a classic trope: hot female cop with dashing, rich, charismatic and cocky, quirky rule-breaking guy who isn’t really a copy but likes to help out on cases, and has a unique skillset.
Great TV, maybe not. But Lucifer as Lucifer in a regular show where he is not a monster, but just a guy who wants to have some fun and is sick of being God’s puppet? A show that casts him as the hero bent on revenge?
Maybe times are changing faster than I thought! I keep telling people the world isn’t ready to rethink its stance on the Devil (like I’m trying to do in my book) but maybe it is after all. Awesome. I better go finish writing it.