Lucifer Review: The Devil Is Hot — His Cases, Not So Much

grade_C+“I didn’t leave Hell just to step into another one,” huffs Fox’s newest crime solver Lucifer, complaining about being called in to investigate the murder of a security guard who’s neither interesting nor handsome.

Yet while series star Tom Ellis (Rush) infuses the devil with enough roguish charm to leave the audience more amused than aghast at such naughty one-liners, the unfortunate fact remains that the case-of-the-week aspects of Lucifer sometimes feel a bit like torture.

That’s a big problem for a comic-book adaptation that, despite its high-concept logline — Lucifer defies God, takes a vacation from Hell and teams up with a hard-edged Los Angeles detective (Chicago Fire‘s Lauren German) who’s somehow immune to his powers — is ultimately a procedural, fashioned in the mold of so many eccentric-outsider-assists-straightlaced-law-enforcer series that currently populate the airwaves (think Elementary, Limitless, even Bones).

The supernaturally good looking Ellis and the affable German — playing Lucifer Morningstar and Det. Chloe Dancer — display an instantaneous and easy chemistry right from the pilot episode, and even manage to make tolerable the “uptight lady professional just needs to do some shots and loosen up” philosophy that feels a decade past its expiration date. Watching the lord of the underworld squirm in the presence of Chloe’s daughter Trixie (Scarlett Estevez), meanwhile, is more amusing than you’d anticipate.

Still, in the three episodes screened for critics, the cases tackled by Chloe and Lucifer (who eventually gets hired as an official civilian consultant) follow a deeply rote formula: Somehow Chloe winds up on a case with ties to our titular devil; he uses his power to get people to confess their desires and secrets right around the time Chloe gets fed up with his disregard for procedure; an “a-ha!” realization comes out of nowhere, Lucifer flashes his devil eyes at the guilty party, and it’s all wrapped up in 42 minutes.

The show’s supporting players — in particular, D.B. Woodside’s Amenadiel, sent down from Heaven to insist Lucifer go back from where he came, Rachael Harris as Lucifer’s shrink, and Lesley-Ann Brandt as Maze, Lucifer’s ass-kicking assistant — hint at the possibility of a more interesting show (as does a closing twist in “Favorite Son”). Until or unless the show’s writing staff digs down and explore those darker instincts, however, Lucifer feels stuck in creative purgatory.

The TVLine Bottom Line: The Devil is smokin’, but there’s no real fire to Lucifer.

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32 Comments
  1. wrstlgirl says:

    I’m not expecting this show to do well. First it’s on FOX, just saying. And it just looks silly but I’ll be watching because I really like the two leads.

  2. Steven says:

    Longtime fans of the comic source material have always known that this show will only be good if they break away from the typical case-of-the-week format. The source material is rich and fun and almost nothing like the pilot episode.

  3. Wordsmith says:

    Having seen the pilot, I have to agree – the chemistry between the leads is really the main attraction. The cute little kid was another surprising standout – the writing for her isn’t even that impressive, but she somehow elevates the material and nails pretty much every scene she’s in.

  4. Ian says:

    I love Ellis, cos he’s so delicious, heh, so I was hoping he’d finally landed a series lead gig that would go the distance, but maybe this isnt it I guess. Saw the pilot awhile back, and Tom was the only thing I really liked about it.
    Disappointing though, that Lucifer is as straight as most tv vampires it seems. A hard Kinsey 0. Sigh.

  5. Mr. Tran K says:

    This should be another disaster for Fox. Guess I’ll pass on Lucifer.

  6. Luis says:

    Is it just me, or is there no reason for this show to exist other than Tom Ellis and Lauren German look good standing next to each other, and the Devil as a consultant to the LAPD sounded funny to somebody? “Rush” was Shakespeare compared to this.

  7. tbgr says:

    i have seen it and i liked it!

  8. Phoenix5634 says:

    I enjoyed the premiere, I’ll be watching next week!

  9. Susanne George says:

    He’s “smokin” enough to grab my interest. Good fun to watch. Doesn’t take itself too seriously like those other’s you compare it to. Plus, NO competition on other Networks.

  10. THolmes says:

    This show has a lot of potential! If it plays with the field just right, it would blow all the other crime shows out of the water! I just hope that they make the right kind of changes.

  11. Lauren says:

    Any changes from the leaked pilot? Should I rewatch it or is it the same episode?

  12. MTB says:

    I like it! Give it a chance.

  13. Pamela says:

    We thought it was a total hoot. Can’t wait for the next episode.

  14. Jeff says:

    Absolutely entertaining, with great potential! Hopefully the writers will continue to be provocatively creative and get this show noticed!!

    Here’s to Lucifer–he’s bloody, smoking hot, pure temptation and delish!!!! Bougoise, bordering fantasy..well played.

  15. Bigby says:

    I don’t understand this trend of taking a epic groudbreaking story and neutering it to fill what some TV executive thinks is a public demand for even more mediocrity. Skip this dismal series and buy the trades instead.

  16. jason says:

    The only thing I didn’t like about the premier was the “scenes from the next episode”. It appeared that lucifer looses his powers and becomes mortal. Honestly I really only wanted to watch the show because he had those powers. I do that know maybe they’ll follow the comic and have him get his “wings” back but if they don’t and the powers are gone for good, it’s a bust. If he gets them back however, then definitely my new favorite show!

  17. Bannamar says:

    I watched it laughed when he was gonna take her to pound town. I’ll watch it because of the one liners not so much for the cases they have to solve. Enjoyed first episode will watch the rest with anticipation until fox decide to cancel yet another funny entertaining show and put a more useless uninteresting reality show in its place.

  18. Kim says:

    I really enjoyed the show! I chuckled at some of those one-liners.. The soundtrack was amazing.I think there are a lot of people out there, that had no idea it was comic book related. I didn’t know until my boyfriend told me as the show was starting. I really enjoyed and will watch again

  19. Rob says:

    I see the devil in people everyday so why do i wanna watch him on tv? No thanx ill pass how bout putting on a show that glorifies Jesus Christ.

  20. Lala says:

    I watched it and thought not only of the eye candy Tom Ellis, but the premise is interesting…..I like it who really knows if the devil gets bored…..let it play to see what happens.

  21. smartysenior says:

    I think this is adorable and the acting is stellar in every character. I’m pretty sure it will do well if for no other reason than it is well done, fast paced, good entertainment, clean cut, not a serial, and well acted. The attributes usually result in long life (Castle, Bones etc). I loved it.

  22. marie says:

    Ads on Idol hammered us hard enough to give it a shot. Turned it off after 10 minutes. It was just silly. Then again, as older women, we’re probably not the target demographic.

  23. Sherry says:

    Loved it and will definitely continue to watch.

  24. Joanna says:

    Satan should be pissed off right now! I am really disappointed by the crime shows lately. I actually liked Second chance better at least there is some depth. I didn’t find Ellis charming at all. Too forced IMO. Too corny for me. I was really hoping for a show to fill my emptiness after House ended… i need more than eye candy and cheesy one liners to hook this girl.

  25. Liz says:

    Whoever cast the little girl of the detective must have been blind. Both the detective and her husband have bright blue eyes and the child has dark brown, nearly impossible to do. Must
    be somebody’s daughter. Bad move

    • Brooke says:

      I noticed that too. I’m wondering if it’s actually a clue to Chloe and Lucifer’s connection.

      • Keleios says:

        It’s because the original actor to play Dan (Nicholas Gonzalez) had dark hair and eyes – but was replaced with Kevin Alejandro.

        Check the Lucifer Facebook page and you’ll see the photo of Nicholas.

  26. Amber says:

    Please keep this for more then one season. Love Ellis!!!! I really want to see a series continue with him as I loved rush and that was cancelled.

  27. Tim says:

    A Good Time is had by all, except perhaps the ” Christians ” out in TV land. The nay-says and want to be critics can all go to …. you guessed it … it rhymes with Taco Bell.

  28. Jamie says:

    Love, love, love Tom Ellis and the new series Lucifer! Witty and funny! I give it an A+.

  29. John Grabon says:

    Entertaining show u can’t take too seriously but it’s highly better than most off this seasons shows on other networks! Keep them coming Fox- u should own 8 to 10 pm time slots with Lucifer & The X Files.

  30. Mark T says:

    I’ve watched the whole first season and I think the show is great. Very different from the usual stuff. Hope more people give it a chance and it is renewed. Can’t wait to see who “Mom” ends up being. Season 1 ended with the realization “Mom” escaped from hell.