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How 'Lucifer,' banished from Fox, found sympathy for the devil from Netflix

Greg Braxton, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

LOS ANGELES -- "Lucifer" has been to hell and back.

The cast and producers of the drama about the Prince of Darkness who gets bored in hell and winds up in Los Angeles as a night-club owner and police crime consultant are rejoicing over its resurrection by Netflix, after a painful cancellation by Fox.

The fourth season of the series dropped last week on the streaming service, which revived the show after a legion of fans in this country and abroad staged an intense Twitter campaign protesting its ouster and pleading for a reprieve by another network.

The pickup is one of the first instances where Netflix, which specializes in original series and films, has picked up a show from a major U.S. broadcast network. (Netflix next month will stream the third season of "Designated Survivor," canceled last year by ABC.)

"It feels amazing, actually," Tom Ellis, who stars as Lucifer Morningstar, says on a soundstage at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, where the show is filmed. "It was rather an upsetting experience to be canceled. I was not ready for the show to be over."

Adds executive producer Ildy Mondrovich: "We're the little engine that could. When we were canceled, I cried in the closet for a couple of hours. But it's actually the best thing that's ever happened to us, because we found out how people were really connected to the show."

 

Although "Lucifier," based on a DC Comics character, is no longer bound by broadcast standards and regulations, don't expect the series to be more devilish in its storytelling. Except for a brief shot of Ellis' nude rear end in the first episode, the tone and flavor of the series remains largely the same as the broadcast version.

"It was important for us to remain true to the fans who saved us," Mondrovich says. "We didn't want to reinvent the wheel. We did feel we could go deeper into the mythology and also tell more personal stories. And Netflix encouraged us to have cliffhangers at the end of each episode and write to the serialized format a lot more. That was fun for us to do."

The other major switch is a shorter season. The first three seasons of the show weighed in with more than 20 episodes apiece, which is typical for broadcast network series, while the Netflix version has only 10 episodes.

"We can be leaner and meaner -- we can get right down to telling our story," Ellis says.

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