Public complaints damn LUCIFER to local TV hell

4 min read


Have you guys watched Lucifer yet? Surprisingly fun, right?! I’ve already written plenty about how torn I was with this new TV series adaptation of the long running Vertigo comic book of the same name. Torn because the adaptation takes all the sweeping epic mythological storytelling and world-building of writer Mike Carey’s longform narrative – and my favourite comic book story ever – and just ditches it all in favour of being yet another police procedural where some maverick character (in this case the Devil himself, having given up on being the ruler of Hell to open a jazz bar) solves crimes with the police every week.

But thanks to a ridiculously charismatic and effortlessly likable turn by Tom Ellis as Lucifer Morningstar, the show is incredibly fun to watch despite its conceptual shortcomings, leaving me confused to as whether to love it for it’s charms, or just hate it on blinkered fanboy principle.

If the latter, I won’t be the only South African hating it though, as Channel24 reports that after screening the first episode of the new show last week in SA, Namibia, Botswana and other African countries, local broadcaster MNet (DSTV) received a slew of complaints from the local conservative viewership about the show. One complainant wrote that “It is completely unacceptable to me that offensive series like Lucifer be televised,” while another went to say that “I would suggest that DStv contribute to the cultivation of this country and community and not break it down and let it fall into sin – from pornography to Satan worship. It is unacceptable to say the least.”

Another DSTV subscriber was so offended that they hinted at cancelling their subscription:

“DStv is broadcasting this series on Wednesday evening, that actively portrays Satan/ Lucifer as a hero to innocent people who might not know better. Has he succeeded in deceiving DStv and South African Christians, to believe that this is an innocent fable as well? In the meantime I cannot support DStv while they are actively spreading Satan’s word.”


MNet had screened the first episode on last Wednesday at 19:00, which as some viewers complained, is supposed to be “family time”. And while MNet has not decided to yank the show off the air completely, it has acquiesced to at least avoid this potentially troublesome timeslot so as to not further offend its viewership.

“Due to the perceived sensitive nature of its content, we believe Lucifer is better suited for late-night viewing. While M-Net Edge is the much-loved home of edgy, provocative and highly acclaimed series, we continue to review our schedules to ensure that the content matches the timeslot.”

“The series Lucifer will move from its prime-time slot on M-Net Edge on Wednesdays at 19:00 to Fridays at 23:00 from this week onwards,”

Coincidentally enough, this new timeslot may actually be fitting to Lucifer‘s content as anybody who knows anything about TV ratings can tell you: Late night Friday is TV Hell. It’s basically a dumping ground where shows go to die, as relatively nobody is watching broadcast TV at that time. Which is actually kind of sucky, as Lucifer is a surprisingly enjoyable show.

As it is produced by US network Fox though, local viewership numbers will have about the same bearing on the lifespan of the show itself as a commission of inquiry into political corruption has in South Africa, but it has to be noted that Lucifer has already drawn ire overseas as well, with American Family Associations’ One Million Moms creating an online petition against it (and we all know how effective internet petitions can be, right?!).

Personally, I’m not the religious type, and don’t want to offend, but if you find this version of Lucifer so repugnant, you would probably have been stripping your Ford Cortinas to build rockets to knock the DSTV satellites out of the sky if the show had actually retained the original story, filled with gods from different pantheons, power-crazy angels, and Lucifer just being plain awesome.

Lucifer will continue airing on the Express From the US on Wednesdays at 02:00, and will get repeated in its new 23:00 timeslot as from this coming Friday.



Last Updated: February 4, 2016

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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