What do you tell your Christian friends when you try to explain your love Lucifer?
It can be a tough sell.
Before the show started in 2016, the American Family Association’s One Million Moms website launched a petition calling for Fox to halt its plans to air it.
They argued the program “mischaracterizes” Satan and “mocks the Bible.”
Christian groups then called for a boycott of Lucifer when it premiered.
Then a funny thing happened.
People started actually watching, and most of the criticism, miraculously, died off.
To be sure, this is a show about the devil, Lucifer, in which he is bored in Hell and decides to take residence in Los Angeles, and help solve crimes.
It’s true Lucifer is written to be annoying and amusing and charming and (thanks to Tom Ellis) very charismatic.
But the show is fiction, and most religious people have no problem distinguishing between the actual bible and a TV show.
“My dad’s a pastor. My uncle’s a pastor. My sister’s a pastor,” said Ellis in 2016 about the role. “I grew up on the very human side of Christianity, so messages in the household I grew up in were about peace, love and being understanding of everybody, which I think is quite cool. And with regard to this, they’re all super-excited I’m doing it.”
What is remarkably positive for Christians, however, is that this Lucifer’s journey is all about self-sacrifice, selflessness, justice, consent, free will, agency, redemption and forgiveness.
All themes Christians everywhere are encouraged to discuss and promote.
The entire show is a metaphor.
Everything that happens to Lucifer internally is reflected externally, in the most literal way possible.
“I’d like people to know that it’s probably not what they expect it to be,” said Ellis. “It’s a lot funnier than they expect it to be. As a person, he’s not all that bad. Lucifer himself says, ‘Am I the Devil because I’m intrinsically evil, or am I the Devil, because dear old Dad decided I was,’ and that’s kind of the crux of where we find him in the show.”
In fact, Lucifer has an actual therapist who acts as the voice of reason and interpretation.
She is the (human) angel on his shoulder, showing the audience that Lucifer is in fact an unreliable narrator of his own story and his claims about God should be taken with a grain of salt.
And as Lucifer comprehends all of the issues that humanity deals with, we are left asking our own questions about faith, family and friends.
It’s a devil of a good time show with a bunch of religious subtle messages mixed in.
“I feel like the show’s themes of redemption, of questioning your faith, and of finding the best in people, no matter what you’ve heard, and perhaps what they’ve done, are more Christian than so many so-called ‘Christian’ shows,” wrote QuantumFTL on Reddit. “Christ was all about forgiveness, and about giving those who have sinned (i.e. all of us) a path to God. Clearly this show is about this.”
That seems to be the general consensus when the topic is raised.
“I’m Catholic. It’s a show. I must admit though, it makes me wonder about some things,” added pghfoxfan. “For example, if God could forgive the devil, there is probably not much I can do that he won’t forgive.”
For the first three seasons of the show, Lucifer aired on Fox.
The fourth season was picked up by Netflix, but Lucifer writers refused to include sex scenes (with the exception of showing Lucifer’s butt).
The “skimpily clad” dancers at Lucifer’s club, they’re just there in the background, not any different from MTV or a Viagra commercial.
For a witty crime drama, there is surprisingly little violence or gore.
Characters get shot, but either there’s no blood because they’re immortal, or very little blood to be seen on-screen.
Also, the language is minimal.
If you want to give this show a try, check out Season 1, Episode 9: “A Priest Walks Into A Bar.”
This is where Lucifer realizes his conception about his dad (God) may be wrong.
As a priest lies dying, he tells Lucifer:
“God has faith in him. In all of us. Even in our darkest moments.”
Lucifer: “Oh, you really believe that.”
Priest: “I do. Why don’t you?”
Lucifer: “Because He didn’t have faith in me.”
Priest: “I felt that way once, too. But now I know, deep in my heart, God has a plan for me.”
Lucifer: “Oh, His plan for me was quite clear.”
Priest: “How do you know it’s finished?”
Lucifer was left pondering that question.
At this moment in the series, many of us started to take note of our own lives, and the twists and turns that led us to where we are today.
Not all of it is positive.
A lot of it we’d like to redo.
So this question: What if Lucifer himself started to self reflect?
If it’s possible for the devil to do that, we can too.
Lucifer the TV show is the gift that keeps on giving.
The more you watch it, the more you uncover the nuggets that make you chuckle or think.
These writers, arguably the best since the Breaking Bad team, know how to write subtlety and nuances and themes and plot and characters.
As funny and witty and sassy and amusing Lucifer is each episode, there’s also a beauty to it.
Maybe you need more than Christian TV to get the message out after all.
“We’re not trying to be didactic about anything,” said Ellis. “It’s not some big theological debate. It’s fun. We’re using the character of Lucifer to tell a new story in a fun way. If there’s anything at the heart of it all, in any way a kind of message, it’s we should take a look at ourselves and responsibility for our own actions, as opposed to trying to put it into some mythical ether and blaming it on someone else.”
The series stars Ellis as Lucifer Morningstar, Lauren German as Detective Chloe Decker, Kevin Alejandro as Detective Dan Espinoza, D.B. Woodside as Amenadiel, Lesley-Ann Brandt as Maze, Aimee Garcia as Ella Lopez and Rachael Harris as Dr. Linda Martin.
The first four seasons of Lucifer are available right now on Netflix.
Season 5 is coming in two 8-episode releases beginning August 21.
Now is a good time for Christian and non-Christian fans alike to begin the Lucifer journey!