Best known for long-running series such as Space Ghost, Coast to Coast, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! and The Venture Brothers, Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim line up has also had its share of shows that fell through the cracks. Running only a season or two each, the likes of Minoriteam, Frisky Dingo, The Drinky Crow Show, Fat Guy Stuck in Internet (yes, that actually exists), Assy McGee and the brilliant Xavier: Renegade Angel failed to go the distance, but have small followings nonetheless. Another such series is Lucy, the Daughter of the Devil, which – following a 2005 pilot – ran for one short season in late 2007.
Created by Loren Bouchard (Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist, Bob’s Burgers, Home Movies), Lucy, the Daughter of the Devil concerns sweet, affable, 21-year-old Lucy (voiced by Jessi Klein in the pilot, and Melissa Bardin Galsky thereafter), your regular everyday half-demon chick. The product of a liaison between Satan (H. Jon Benjamin, of Dr Katz, Bob’s Burgers and most recently, Archer) and a human female, Lucy is, in fact, the Anti-Christ. Not that you’d really know it from looking, as all she wants to do is have fun, meet a nice guy and lead a normal life. Aware that the rise of the Anti-Christ is imminent, the Vatican sends a trio of investigators to foil Satan’s plans. This “special clergy” consists of the oft-flustered Father Giuseppe Canatlupe (Benjamin, again), the quieter Father Benetti (Sam Seder), and the unhinged Sister Mary (Eugene Mirman, Flight of the Conchords), who is given to sudden bursts of swearing, shouting and shooting. The trio come face-to-face with much demonic activity, but are usually too dense to make much progress in their mission, let alone recognise that the Second Coming – in the form of douchey turntablist/escape artist/magician DJ Jesús (Jon Glaser, Xavier: Renegade Angel) – has, er, come. Then there’s Satan’s pact with Presidential hopeful Senator Bob Whitehead (Seder, again), to whom Lucy’s hand in marriage is promised, though Lucy herself is completely uninterested. Amid all of the this insanity, Satan’s loyal, skull-headed executive assistant, Becky (Galsky) wearily tries to help her boss meet all of his objectives, with a spot of romance with a sentient tumour on the side.
Cleverly blending the kind of loose, improvisational dialogue of Dr Katz with witty design and off-the-wall violence, Lucy, the Daughter of the Devil is loads of fun. Animated in blocky, videogame-like CGI (think Xavier‘s animation, but more overtly cartoonish), the low-res look adds to the warped sensibility of the humour, with the character designs often recalling Lego figurines, albeit ones which occasionally drool blood. The voice acting gives a charming verisimilitude to matters otherworldy and metaphysical, with Benjamin’s Satan more a dumb dad and half-arsed boss than evil personified. Buffs will spot homages to The Omen, King Kong, The Shining, A Nightmare on Elm Street and The Royal Tennenbaums, among many other pop-culture gags.
At just eleven episodes (all at the standard Adult Swim running time of about 12 minutes each), the only real failing of Lucy, the Daughter of the Devil is that it’s too short. There’s a self-contained arc to this one-and-only season, but you get the feeling that even better things lay ahead.
The video comes in a 4:3 letterbox presentation, which would appear a missed opportunity at first glance, were it not for DJ Jesús looming beyond the black bars in episode 2, so this appears to be how the show is meant to be seen. The digital animation is colourful and crisp, with no visible gremlins in the picture. Subtitles for the hard of hearing are included and are easy to read all the way. The 2.0 audio is similarly fine, with good range in the music and clear dialogue.
Audio commentaries are included for the episodes “He’s Not the Messiah, He’s a DJ”, “Escapeoke”, “Terry the Teratoma” and “The Dreamster”. Loren Bouchard discusses the genesis of the show on the first track (and mentions a small music replacement for the DVD that most viewers won’t really notice), and is joined on the remaining tracks by the show’s talent co-ordinator Holly Schlesinger and animator Nora Smith. Two interviews consist of H. Jon Benjamin nervously muttering conspiracy theories into a webcam and Eugene Mirman getting all meta while discussing all the “preparation” he went into for the role of Sister Mary. A trio of Satanic Sing-a-Longs (complete with chord progressions!) allow you to learn the words to some of the opening title songs, though despite being listed on the cover, there’s no making-of featurette. Damn it all to hell… Lastly, there’s the requisite set of Adult Swim trailers: Venture Brothers S1, Metalocalypse S1, Robot Chicken Star Wars Episode II and Moral Orel V1.
Lucy, the Daughter of the Devil was released on DVD on 15 June 2011 in Australia by Madman Entertainment.