Thursday 17 June 2021

This is the whitest thing I've ever seen, and I've seen those shoes that have toes


Lucifer is not bad in the traditional sense of poor acting and writing - though it's not a good performer in those areas, either - but it is most definitely a cringe-inducing show for the viewer.  The concept of "engagement" as the ultimate barometer of a show's worth is a relatively new development, but in Lucifer's case it was unavoidable, from its beginnings as a One Million Moms-baiting concept to its eventual fate as a refugee from network television that found asylum on Netflix, where it no longer had to structure itself around the demands of advertising slots and the writers could do anything they wanted - literally anything, from more violence, nudity and swearing, to any possible storyline they wanted to explore being on the table.  Nothing was taboo, and all they had to do was keep their audience engaged.  Which they have done by making a show that is often amazingly bad.

While what has been produced is not very good, surprisingly, it seems to know it and doesn't care - like when a character has an epiphany in their relationship with the titular character by figuring out the plot structure of the average Lucifer episode and uses it to better understand his motivations and impulsiveness, saying out loud "he's projecting his latest issues onto the case" which for the show's writers is a bit like Donald Trump just absent-mindedly tweeting about his crimes.  No subterfuge or being coy, just... "that's what we did.  So what?"  No-one worries about telling the audience the simplistic formula writers have used on this and many other cop procedurals, because this is Netflix, baby, and we know exactly how many episodes we have to work with and then we're done with this nonsense forever.  Except Netflix renewed it for an extra 10 episodes, so it doesn't end when it was supposed to.  Presumably the ratings for this have been really good, the ploy to make something so embarrassing to watch that people tune in to hate-watch or rag on it with their friends has worked better than expected, or it is just really cheap to produce.  I suspect it's this last one, because it often looks really cheap for a show that can afford to licence so many pop and rock tracks.

Lucifer is really cringe, is what I am saying.  It is bad television and I would not recommend it to anyone, I am just saying it is interesting - to me, and possibly only to me - to see something autopsy itself in real time.  Some very capable and charismatic performers do their best with sub-par material, but there's only so much polishing they can do to that material before it starts smearing all over their hands and crumbling.  Tom Ellis, if nothing else, must be complimented on his very fine ass.

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