2016 is almost over! It’s been a rough one in the real world, but in TV world, things have been quite interesting. I’ve always been more of a movie buff than a TV guru, but sadly, this year, the big screen didn’t generate as many memorable blockbusters as in previous years.
However, on the small screen, there was a pair of wonderful surprises that made watching television fun again — Lucifer and Pure Genius. Both of these shows have great lead characters, good supporting casts, interesting storylines. And heart. Lots of heart. If you haven’t watched them before, I’m here to tell you why you should watch them (and hopefully, save them from cancellation!)
This was my most anticipated show of 2016 and it didn’t disappoint. Centered on the devil as he helps the LAPD solve heinous crimes, it’s a supernatural cop procedural that never forgets to keep it cheeky and fun. Lucifer has quips for days, which keeps the mood light amidst the seriousness of the subject matter. Tom Ellis’ performance is full of pathos, humor, and tenderness. I adore watching Lucifer discover his own humanity, seeing his relationship with Chloe (the cop he works closely with) change, and witnessing him want to punish the bad guys rather than encourage them.
Here at Pop Culture Grinch, we love characters that have a change of heart. Just as wonderful? Seeing the devil realize he has one. Bad has never been so good!
Speaking of changes of heart, the supporting characters have even morphed over time too. The most improved character is definitely Maze. She is Lucifer’s demon sidekick, who started off being more of a boring, manipulative second-in-command. Over time, she’s reflected Lucifer’s humanizing journey, by becoming friends with Chloe and her daughter (just as Lucifer has) and getting therapy (like Lucifer has.) I love seeing her try to hide the seeds of goodness underneath her cool exterior. Next to Lucifer, she’s become my favorite character to watch. She’s funny and bad-ass. A lethal combination.
Also, Detective Dan (or as Lucifer so adroitly calls him – Detective Douche) has changed too. He’s more of a goofball than he ever was, and surprisingly, it works for him. Rather than constantly compete with Lucifer, he works with him, and even envies him. Another great example of the development of this show and its cast.
To me, the storylines that work the best are the ones that primarily involve the main characters, rather than the crimes themselves. Every character helps bring out Lucifer’s true nature. His transformation is at the core of the show, and each character has a hand in it.
Chloe helps him realize what’s like to care about someone besides himself. Dan helps him understand what it’s like to be a good man and father. Maze helps him see the life he could have had while reflecting the life he has now. Chloe’s daughter helps him bring out the friendliness in his fiendish nature. His therapist helps him uncover pieces of character he never knew he possessed. All of these characters, and more, shape Lucifer, for better or worse. They are the ventricles through which blood pumps to the heart of this show — Lucifer himself.
Already in its 2nd season, this is a show that deserves more time on screen. It’s funny, charming, and surprisingly heartfelt. Plus, it returns to Fox on January 16. If you haven’t watched it yet, make watching Lucifer your New Year’s Resolution. Worry about getting in shape in 2018. The devil won’t mind!
Talk about surprises. This show came out of nowhere and proved itself to be the most beautiful, heartwarming show I’ve seen on television in a long time. Scratch that. The most beautiful, heartwarming show I’ve seen on television. Ever.
Pure Genius is a medical drama focusing on the exceptional doctors of Bunker Hill, an innovative, technologically-advanced hospital, and the eccentric billionaire who devised its creation. Patients that come here have unique medical cases, and are treated for them without having to pay. It’s a premise that speaks to the current climate of technology and to our own sense of humanity.
As a person who would rather go to the doctor’s than actually watch an entire season of a medical drama, I was uncharacteristically intrigued by this show. It was formally introduced to me through CBS’ 2016 fall preview where it first piqued my interest. Out of curiousity, I decided to watch the pilot. I’m glad I did. The actual show, especially its subsequent episodes, ended up far exceeding my expectations.
The reason? Its indelible lead character, James Bell. James is the quintessential eccentric genius, with a heart even bigger than his own eccentricities. Augustus Prew, who plays James, imbues him with gentle emotion and quirky facial expressions. James cares deeply for every single one of the patients that comes his way, and we see that clearly in each episode.
Another fascinating component to the show? James is dying. And he’s dying quickly. He has a disease called GSS (Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker disease) that affects the brain, causing dementia and involuntary muscle coordination. In 5 years time, he will no longer be able to communicate or function properly. In that time, James is desperately searching for a cure in the hopes of living a normal life someday. This uncertainty keeps the show tense as everything hinges on one single question — Will he find a cure?
I’d love to see the show tackle this disease as the years progress. It would be interesting to see it progressively take over James’ body, how it would affect him and his relationship with his friends and colleagues. I’d be holding my breath every time there’s some revolutionary break-through that could be the answer. That’s good television!
Besides Pure Genius‘ memorable lead character, the show’s medical cases themselves are also fascinating. From an astronautical appendectomy to a chain of kidney transplants, they’re unique and add an extra dimension to the show. Another thing I like is that Pure Genius always manages to balance the doctors’ interpersonal lives with the patients’ stories. It never feels like the cases are put on the back-burner to the doctors’ relationship drama. Instead, they empower, enlighten, and entertain. It would be a shame to see Pure Genius end so prematurely. James doesn’t give up on his patients. I hope CBS doesn’t give up on this show.
It returns this Sunday, January 1. Start the year off right. Tune in!
Two great shows like Lucifer and Pure Genius are what give me faith in TV. Faith that it can be real, and warm, and tender. Faith that heart and soul can be just as interesting to watch as greed and manipulation. If that’s what you enjoy too, then give them a chance. Who knows? Maybe the devil and the genius will get another shot at life.
2017, here’s lookin’ at you, kid!