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‘Lucifer’ review: Tom Ellis stars as dull Devil on new Fox series

Tom Ellis' Devil is quite dull on "Lucifer,"

Tom Ellis' Devil is quite dull on "Lucifer," premiering Monday at 9 p.m. on Fox. Credit: Fox

THE SERIES “Lucifer”

WHEN | WHERE Premieres Monday at 9 p.m. on Fox/5


WHAT IT’S ABOUT Lucifer Morningstar, aka the Devil (Tom Ellis), has come to Los Angeles, or rather Hollywood. He’s bored in hell, so L.A. has lots of diversions, including his nightclub, Lux. But archangel Amenadiel (D.B. Woodside) commands that he return to hell. “Lucy” refuses, especially now that he has a new playmate, Det. Chloe Dancer (Lauren German), a former star of soft-core porn films, now someone who just wants to do good. Lucifer is intrigued: Maybe he’d make a good cop, too, he begins to think. (This show is based on the DC Comic series, and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer.)

MY SAY Smarmy, slick and smug — hey, he wasn’t tossed out of heaven for being nice — Ellis’ Lucifer does in fact have one unpardonable sin: He’s a dull TV character. Strip away his vast theological back story, that devilish smirk and a few lackluster talents (immortality? Big deal!) and you’re left with what superficially appears to be just another Beverly Hills trust fund brat with a well-developed taste for fast cars and faster women. He’s a monumental bore.

It would be easy to dismiss the whole show as just one more procedural from the Bruckheimer assembly line, except there’s another little name that zips by in the credits: Neil Gaiman. That’s not so easy to dismiss.

Gaiman is the famed graphic novelist, writer, poet and creator of both “Coraline” and “The Graveyard Book.” Also: Vertigo’s “The Sandman,” the popular DC Comics series that introduced this Lucifer a number of years ago. Gaiman’s work was (apparently) a deep dive into the nature of God and evil and an even deeper one into the nature of heaven and hell.

There are no deep dives here, except maybe to the bottom of a cocktail glass, at which Lucifer is particularly adept. The standoff with archangel Amenadiel is the one obvious allusion to Gaiman’s work, but at least Amenadiel has wings. Lucifer just has lines, of the pickup variety. You wait (in vain) for some fun trick, like flying, or turning dark matter into stars — hey, Gaiman’s could. Instead, our Lucifer purrs sweet nothings and chases bad guys.

Get thee back to Hades, Lucy.

Before we fall asleep.

BOTTOM LINE This louche “Lucifer” is mostly a cop procedural snooze.

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