Five (okay, six) Crossover Characters: Lucifer versus Supernatural

Billie: So the other day I was rewatching a terrific Lucifer episode called "God Johnson" and of course, I'd already noticed that Lucifer and Supernatural have several characters in common, but I started thinking about how many, and which incarnation I liked better... and voila. An article was born!

Since I review Supernatural and An Honest Fangirl reviews Lucifer here on Doux and we're both fans of each other's show, I enlisted her help. This article is by both of us.

(Obviously, spoilers for both shows below!)

Let's start with the obvious one.

Lucifer
Lucifer's Tom Ellis and Supernatural's Mark Pellegrino

Billie: As much as I love Mark Pellegrino, and I love him a lot, Tom Ellis takes the Lucifer prize for me. A big part of that is probably that he's playing the main character vs. the supporting character Pellegrino plays on Supernatural. Plus these two Lucifers are actually complete opposites. I love how Tom Ellis plays Lucifer as an unwitting hero, a damaged little boy who flaunts his naughtiness while somehow always doing the right thing in the end. Pellegrino is also excellent, though. He's been playing Lucifer on and off for (can you believe it?) nine years now and he's made him surprisingly complicated and three-dimensional, considering that we're talking about the Devil here.

Fangirl: Yeah, I have to agree. Pellegrino is fantastic, there's no doubt about that. Lucifer is in many ways the Biggest Bad from Supernatural in terms of longevity and the impact that he's had on Sam, Dean and Cas, and Pellegrino turned him into such a frightening and manipulative force. But Tom Ellis. I cannot sing Ellis' praises highly enough. He was just immediately Lucifer from that opening scene with the traffic cop, and was a huge part in making the first couple of episodes actually work. Because let's be honest here, in the hands of a less competent actor, the show would have fallen very flat and probably wouldn't have been given the time it needed to turn into something wonderful.



The Goddess
Lucifer's Tricia Helfer and Supernatural's Emily Swallow

Fangirl: This one is another pretty clear winner for me. While Amara's initial concept and introduction was very, very cool, the execution fell flat for me. I didn't particularly enjoy the weird bond that she shared with Dean, or how she spent multiple episodes in various stages of childhood. Charlotte just felt like a more complete and dynamic character to me. I loved the exploration of familial bonds and how Lucifer and Amenadiel both reacted to her very differently. Watching her learn how to navigate the human world made for some great comedic and dramatic moments as well. While her arc did get a little muddy towards the end, I was still really sad when she left to go to her own universe, where I felt nothing when Amara left the show. And also Tricia Helfer is a goddess. Sorry, I don't make the rules.

Billie: Yeah, I totally agree. While I really enjoyed the way that Supernatural season ended, and I loved the idea that God had an opposite number, so to speak, Tricia Helfer was perfect casting as "Mum," the Divine Goddess – funny, outrageous and somehow endearing at the same time. The role needed a larger-than-life actress to carry it off, and I'm not talking about her height (although that certainly helped). While Emily Swallow was suitably striking and somewhat majestic, I didn't miss her when she was gone. Although I actually did sort of like her relationship with Dean. He'd make me want to have a human boyfriend, too.

It's interesting that Supernatural made God's opposite number his sister, while Lucifer made her God's wife. Did "wife" really work better, or was it just the actresses? And one more really important question. Is there something metaphysical about cleavage?



God
Lucifer's Timothy Omundson and  Supernatural's Rob Benedict.
Isn't the similar wardrobe fascinating?

Billie: Lucifer won the first two, but Supernatural wins this one, hands down, just because of length and complexity – although it's possible that Lucifer will eventually give us a third version of God at some point in the future that could be a winner. But it's difficult to beat Chuck's introduction ("The Monster at the End of This Book," still one of my favorite Supernatural episodes ever), extremely long character simmer (eight seasons!), and finally, the absolutely perfect punchline.

On Lucifer, God is discussed constantly but it's mostly just a tease. In "God Johnson," Timothy Omundson was perfect casting as God, and I spent the entire episode hoping he really was God while suspecting that he wasn't. I also loved the in-joke of Neil Gaiman, the creator of the Lucifer comics, as the voice of God in the Lucifer episode, "Once Upon a Time."

Fangirl: Yeah, sadly we haven't really had a "definitive" God on Lucifer yet. Timothy Omundson was great (I really wanted him to actually be God too!), and Neil Gaiman's narration was lovely, but I really want to see Lucifer (the show and the character) fully interact with God and not just tease him. But at the same time, maybe that's the wrong direction for the show to go. So much of it is Lucifer defining himself outside of the role assigned, that him finally meeting God and hashing it out would provide too many easy answers.

I'll admit that post-"Swan Song" and for eight seasons after that, I really didn't want Chuck to actually be God. I thought it would be corny and a little stupid, but "Don't Call Me Shurley" was such a beautiful episode that it brought me around. It simply felt right.



Cain
Lucifer's Tom Welling and Supernatural's Timothy Omundson

Fangirl: This one is tough for me. Cain was arguably one of the weakest parts of Lucifer's third season, but looking back, there were some really fun episodes involving him. Not to mention the absolutely fantastic final two episodes of the season. Timothy Omundson (isn't it fun that he's here twice?) is a much stronger actor than Tom Welling, and although he had far less screen time, I think I like his Cain more. Cain's presence added some really cool lore to the Supernatural-verse, especially in a time where things were starting to feel a little played out. And I adored Crowley's reaction to Cain, even if it was ultimately revealed to all be an act.

Billie: I'm the one that reviewed ten freaking seasons of Smallville and I've always liked Tom Welling. I thought he did okay as Cain, especially later in season three when his true nature was gradually being revealed. But Timothy Omundson made a strong impression as Cain on Supernatural in just three episodes and I agree with you, Fangirl, that Omundson is a better actor.



Uriel
Lucifer's Michael Imperioli and Supernatural's Robert Wisdom

Billie: Although their appearances were brief, I think both Uriels were strong ones. I'll admit I'm a bit more partial to Supernatural's. (What a surprise, right?) But what occurred to me when I was looking for these photos was that both actors are heavy hitters from important HBO shows: The Sopranos and The Wire. Plus I just realized that angels on both shows tend to wear gray and black exclusively, don't they? (Excluding Lucifer himself, of course.)

Fangirl: I really enjoyed both Uriels. They expanded what we knew about angels on both shows, both in terms of personality and in how things are actually run up there. I might have to give a slight edge to Robert Wisdom on Supernatural, though. He was such an imposing presence and his dynamics with Castiel absolutely fascinated me. This is a very, very slight edge, though. Michael Imperioli was great. I just wish that we had more of him.

A lot of the matching characters on this list physically look very similar. They have very similar styles of dress and how they hold themselves. I mean, just look at the Goddesses. That could almost be the same dress. It's a fun thing to notice.



Death
Lucifer's Charlyne Yi;
Supernatural's Julian Richings and Lisa Berry

Fangirl: I admittedly wasn't the biggest fan of Azrael in my "Boo Normal" review. Lucifer had described her as this menacing figure who suited the personality of her sword, and I was really looking forward to seeing that. What we got instead was the bubbly and slightly scattered Rae-Rae, who was fun, yes, but not necessarily what I wanted or expected. So, I must give this one to Supernatural, and particularly Julian Richings. He was otherworldly, distinguished, and loved pizza. Plus his introduction may be my favorite of any Supernatural character. (I like Billie too, but the original takes the cake.)

Billie: So we agree on pretty much every one of these match-ups. I thought the Rae-Rae reveal was a lot of fun, but Julian Richings ruled as Death on Supernatural. Although I'll readily admit that I love that there's a Supernatural character named after me and I was so pleased when Billie the Reaper was promoted to the top job.

So you guys – what do you think? Do you agree with our choices? Disagree?
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Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it. An Honest Fangirl loves superheroes, science fiction, fantasy, and really bad horror movies. And sometimes she writes about them.

2 comments:

Gracie F. said...

What a fun article! I have to agree with your choices, except I'd make Ellis and Pellegrino a tie.

Heather said...

Loved the article, and I like that it really shows that both shows have stronger points. The only one I'd disagree with is Lucifer because although Ellis is amazing and exactly what his show needs, Pellegrino is also exactly what his show needs. They both have a lot of fun in the role but though Ellis does a slightly better job being fun/sparking chemistry, Pellegrino has a much stronger range. His scary, insidious, and nearly empathetic incarnation really rounds out a touch character could easily be one-dimension. Ellis can do some scary and chilling but he doesn't nail it in the same way, and the insidious trickster side of him rarely gets shown. Supernatural's lucifer has been goodish, bad, and everything in between. He's the best bad guy they have and that is saying something after 13 seasons.

Since there's so many similar elements in these shows, I'd love to see even more comparisons - plotting, love interests, character development, best episodes, etc. Especially since both are continuing and share much of the same audience!