×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

TV Review: ‘Lucifer’

With:
Tom Ellis, Lauren German, Rachael Harris, DB Woodside, Lesley-Ann Brandt, Kevin Alejandro, Scarlett Estevez

Fox remains strangely enamored of buddy-cop-with-a-twist series, which has yielded a few successes, but also plenty of Nielsen road-kill (“Almost Human” and “Minority Report,” we hardly knew ye). Still, it’s hard to think of one more patently absurd than “Lucifer,” which reveals that the Prince of Darkness has taken refuge on Earth, where, in the pilot, he decides to use his powers of persuasion to assist a local cop in solving crimes. Sure, there’s some mumbo-jumbo about forces wanting him back in Hell, but if the series continues along this trajectory, rest easy, he’ll get there soon enough.

Picking up in the middle, “Lucifer” finds its namesake – played by Tom Ellis (“Rush”) with plenty of suave charm and a British accent, suggesting that the road to Hell runs through “Downton Abbey” – having taken up residence on Earth as a nightclub owner, for reasons that are a trifle confusing. His absence, however, hasn’t gone unnoticed, prompting God’s emissary, the angel Amenadiel (DB Woodside), to periodically visit him, seeking to cajole him into going home.

Still, Lucifer seems to be operating without much purpose – other than sheer debauchery – when Detective Chloe Decker (Lauren German) enters the scene, seeking to solve a murder that took place outside the club. Moreover, Chloe appears to be immune to Lucifer’s influence (one is tempted to invoke the image of Jedi mind tricks), which intrigues him, as he tags along in helping her to decipher what happened.

Drawn from a character within Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman” comics, with a pilot written by Tom Kapinos and directed by Len Wiseman (whose TV credits include Fox’s “Sleepy Hollow,” in addition to his genre films like the “Underworld” franchise), “Lucifer” certainly has a sense of atmosphere, and has some fun with little touches like the character’s personalized license plate (FALLIN1, naturally) or inherent dislike of children. Rachael Harris is also a hoot, briefly, as a psychologist who is decidedly not resistant to Lucifer’s influence.

Still, it’s hard to think of anything more mundane than having the Devil walking among us, only to turn that into a crime procedural – a slightly sulfurous version of “Bones” or (gasp) “Rosewood.” Subsequent episodes merely calcify that perception, with Lucifer — almost giddy about facing danger and the prospect of being hurt — becoming “an official civilian consultant for the LAPD,” which at least explains how its parking-enforcement system operates.

“Constantine,” for one, already faced the challenge of translating to primetime a comic-derived character with one foot in Hell, and that show was pretty summarily cast into TV’s nether regions. “Lucifer” occupies a time slot where the aforementioned “Minority Report” hadn’t exactly been setting the world ablaze, with what should be an early boost from “The X-Files” as its lead-in.

Still, unless Ellis’ seductive appeal can rise to supernatural levels, it’s hard to see where the series goes from these tepid beginnings. Because if something smells a little rancid, unfortunately, it’s less likely brimstone than the stale whiff of a warmed-over concept.

TV Review: 'Lucifer'

(Series; Fox, Mon. Jan. 25, 9 p.m.)

Production: Filmed in Los Angeles by Aggressive Mediocrity and Jerry Bruckheimer Television in association with Warner Bros. Television.

Crew: Executive producers, Jerry Bruckheimer, Jonathan Littman, Tom Kapinos (pilot), Ildy Modrovich, Joe Henderson, Len Wiseman; co-executive producer, KristieAnne Reed; producers, Mike Azzolino, Erik Holmberg; director, Wiseman; writer, Kapinos; based on characters created by Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg; camera, Glen Keenan; production designer, Scott Chambliss; editor, Ray Daniels; music, Marco Beltrami, Dennis Smith; casting, Elizabeth Barnes, Corbin Bronson. 60 MIN.

Cast: Tom Ellis, Lauren German, Rachael Harris, DB Woodside, Lesley-Ann Brandt, Kevin Alejandro, Scarlett Estevez

More TV

  • Erik Barmack

    Wild Sheep’s Erik Barmack Talks IPs, International TV, the Future at MipCancun

    CANCUN, Mexico — Arguably, from mid-decade, as Netflix, VP, international originals, Erik Barmack changed history. Passionate, and immensely connected and hard working, from Mexico’s “Club de Cuervos,” launched in August 2015, he spearheaded the U.S. streaming giant’s drive into original productions around the globe that not only resonated to Netflix national subscription bases but also [...]

  • David Tennant to Play Serial Killer

    David Tennant to Play Notorious Serial Killer Dennis Nilsen in ITV Drama

    David Tennant will play Dennis Nilsen in “Des,” an ITV drama about the Scottish serial killer who murdered numerous young men in London in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The “Doctor Who,” “Broadchurch,” and “Good Omens” actor will star as Nilsen, known as Des, alongside Daniel Mays (“Line of Duty”), who plays the cop [...]

  • GREY'S ANATOMY - "Let's All Go

    'Grey's Anatomy': 5 Biggest Shockers From the Season 16 Midseason Finale

    Spoilers: Do not read the following unless you have watched the season 16 mid-season finale of “Grey’s Anatomy,” titled “Let’s All Go to the Bar.” The always-dramatic “Grey’s Anatomy” made sure to ramp up the action for its Season 16 mid-season finale. Not only has Meredith Grey’s love life just gotten potentially more complicated, but [...]

  • Imelda Staunton'Downton Abbey' photocall, Rome Film

    'The Crown' Has Not Cast Imelda Staunton for Seasons 5 and 6, Netflix Says

    Netflix is shooting down reports that Imelda Staunton is joining “The Crown.” “We are currently filming season 4 of ‘The Crown’ but have not commissioned any further seasons as yet, therefore any news on casting remains pure speculation,” a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement. Staunton, known to many as the despicable Dolores Umbridge in [...]

  • Baby Yoda The Mandalorian

    Baby Yoda Merchandise to Debut Ahead of Holiday Shopping Season

    Purchase Baby Yoda toys, you will. Fans of the breakout character from the Disney Plus series “The Mandalorian” have been surprised that there was no merchandise pegged to the character available upon the launch of the show, given that the Christmas shopping season is rapidly approaching. But according to an individual with knowledge of the [...]

  • Sean "Diddy" Combs Revolt TV

    Sean Combs Slams 'Illusion of Economic Inclusion' at Comcast Amid Byron Allen Fight

    Sean Combs has come out swinging against Comcast in a lengthy statement prompted by the cable giant’s legal battle with Entertainment Studios chief Byron Allen. Combs accused Comcast of maintaining “the illusion of economic inclusion” in its handling of a carriage agreement with Combs’ Revolt TV channel. Combs was critical of Comcast for failing to [...]

  • Oprah Winfrey during a tribute to

    TV News Roundup: OWN Orders Celebrity Relationship Series '#LoveGoals'

    In today’s TV news roundup, OWN orders a new unscripted relationship series and Disney Channel orders new seasons of “The Owl House” and “Sydney to the Max.”  DATES ABC will live broadcast the “2020 NCAA Gymnastics Championship Final” on April 18. The semi finals will air the day before at 1 and 6 p.m. ET. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content