As some of you might not know, before its debut on the popular platform Netflix, Lucifer used to air on the Fox network. This might sound familiar because the devil himself has made a snub or two towards the network during its run on Netflix. Depending on who you ask, some fans will list off every season other than four as their favorite season. So why is the first introduction to Netflix so profoundly underrated? I take a deep dive into the show’s return to a new platform and put together a presentation, if you will, as to why fans and casual viewers alike should appreciate the fourth season just a little more and hopefully convince them to view it in a new perspective.
Though it may feel like eons ago, the fourth season of Lucifer only aired on May 8, 2019. After fans were outraged by its cancellation and created a dominating campaign to have it renewed, it came back with a bang and with a whole new look: a darker tone while still keeping its lighthearted and fun side, new additions to its cast and of course we can’t forget the massive physical change that Tom Ellis went through pre-production (we love and appreciate all the blood, sweat and tears that went into his workout regimen). That being said, just to jog your memory, episode one opens up with Lucifer singing Radiohead’s iconic song “Creep” whilst pining over Chloe leaving for Europe after seeing his Devil face at the end of season three. When returning, she struggles with the newfound realization that her partner is literally the Devil and it causes a crack to form in their relationship. Because I’m terrible with recaps and summaries, I highly recommend that viewers rewatch the entire series from start to finish now that it’s ended because you will see it in an entirely new light.
Transitioning from one network to another isn’t easy, especially when you’re coming from television to a huge streaming platform that’s readily available throughout many parts of the world. One of the perks of moving to a different platform is more freedom and less censorship, which is definitely what this show deserved and definitely got. What do I mean by freedom? Typically speaking, many shows can’t exhibit certain behaviors that may be considered inappropriate by their audience. For example, some networks don’t allow swearing or nudity (standards and practices is a term often used in the industry). Others might frown upon LGBTQ+ representation, which is rare nowadays but still a work in progress for many networks and platforms. A number of factors contribute to this such as the time a show airs, their target audience, or even how they want to be perceived by viewers. In addition to that, depending on who the showrunner is, they might not be under a network’s proverbial chokehold and have a bit more freedom than other shows on the same channel. As someone who’s been with the show since 2016, Fox was just terrible for Lucifer. For a show that’s huge on LGBTQ+ representation, there wasn’t much of it to be seen on screen which caused viewers and even hardcore fans to brush off many of the canon sexualities (by canon I mean confirmed by the showrunners and cast themselves). But since moving to Netflix, the show has been much more vocal about representation and character’s sexualities and preferences which I think is fantastic. By allowing such openness, it strikes conversations, both good and bad, as well as allowing fans to see themselves more in the characters they’re seeing on screen. Plus it doesn’t hurt that Netflix allowed us to see Tom Ellis’ perfectly sculpted bottom more than Fox (and let’s be real. It’s a beautiful butt and he should be proud of it). Apart from that, the show absolutely had more freedom to explore than Fox and in the long run, the opportunities that arose with the change of networks benefitted everyone involved.
“By allowing such openness, it strikes conversations, both good and bad, as well as allowing fans to see themselves more in the characters they’re seeing on screen.”
With that being said, season four was the season of exploration, meaning finding out what works and what doesn’t. This is obvious from the change of tone compared to the first three seasons that aired on Fox. Known for it’s lightheartedness in earlier seasons, season four was darker not only in tone but in plot as well, introducing more celestial/demon content while putting the police procedural on the back burner but still letting it sizzle, so to speak. We were introduced to Eve, the first woman, who escaped Heaven and came to earth to experience what it had to offer. Little Charlie was brought into the world, showing us that angels can reproduce (and he even got kidnapped by demons, which is another supernatural creature shown on screen apart from Maze). No, there are no vampires or werewolves thrown into the mix but the addition of new celestials and demons made it a refreshing change from the weekly police procedural that most fans have grown to get used to from seasons one to three. That formula tends to get overused and boring, repeating the same equation in every new episode a week. While cop shows aren’t exactly my cup of tea, there was a spritz of fantasy/supernatural thrown into the mix so that’s what basically kept me hooked on the series. So since moving to Netflix, the whole idea of a different crime scene every episode was switched up and we were shown a plot with a tighter deadline due to only having ten episodes. They were also given the opportunity to dive deeper into the character development. Now for the real challenge: what can they do with only ten episodes? With previous seasons having more than ten, there were a couple of filler episodes here and there to do exactly as the name implies: fill. The fourth season had small fillers too but they were in-line with the plot and contributed to the storyline. With the ten episode arc, you can visually see the changes made to accomodate the darker tone and it just works. It’s a show about the Devil. Of course it’s going to be dark at times. The world can be a dark place, which is exactly what the show exhibits to the audience. Season four set up the tone as well as the stage for the remaining two seasons, ultimately deciding that the darker setting does in fact work well alongside of humor. The freedoms that Netflix granted the cast and crew paid off, as evident from the “experimental first season” on a new platform.
Obviously it would’ve been one hell of a cliffhanger if the show had ended at season three. At the time of its cancellation, it was said that low ratings and “economics” played a factor (according to the Fox Television Group Chief Executive at that time Dana Wilson). Filming isn’t cheap and everything costs money, much like everything in life; costumes, props, locations and even the food served on set is an expense. So how much did it cost to film? Seeing how season one and two were filmed in Vancouver, Canada, the cost would’ve been a little cheaper because of its refundable tax credit. Setting that aside for a moment, let’s look at how much it cost to film the third season had it been cancelled entirely and didn’t return. Everything included (CGI, location, etc), season three cost around $92.1 million. Let that sink in for a moment. Take into consideration the CGI and such. For a television broadcast show, it was decent, but only downside was it was cancelled on a cliffhanger of the century. Seems like a waste of money to some people, right? Now let’s switch the attention to the fourth season. Lower budget, approximately $35.8 million, but the quality of literally everything was so much better. Lighting, CGI, cinematography, you name it and the quality was a thousand times better than it was before on Fox. This is probably due to access to better resources such as their CGI team, which is obvious when you see Lucifer’s Devil face and wings, both angel and Devil (his face being a profound improvement from what fans said looked like a “burnt lasagna” in earlier seasons). The budget and freedom also allowed cast and crew to explore more areas of the show they haven’t really touched on before such as Hell and what it looked like in greater detail. We’ve seen Hell briefly but not in the way that the fourth season showcases it in its entirety. From the top of Lucifer’s throne, the camera zooming out to show its expansive domain in all its Hellish glory. All this was made possible thanks to a better budget and much better resources which allowed the show to reach its true potential and finally shine the way it was meant to.
Because this entire article was inspired by a twitter post, we took it upon ourselves on the FandomLair twitter page to create a poll to see which season of Lucifer people enjoyed most on Netflix, excluding the first three that didn’t originally air on the streaming site. Not surprisingly (and proving our point), season four was the least chosen out of the three options. With over 1.7k votes, season six came out on top with the fifth season in second place (see below for the poll). So you might be wondering “why the long article” or “what’s the point of all this”. I just felt like season four needed a little more love and appreciation. After all, it’s the season that basically bridged together a cliffhanger and the show’s true potential. Picture a bridge in your mind. On one side the flowers are dead and dying. Someone then comes along and plants seeds on the other side of the bridge. The flowers grow and blossom. Now cross the bridge. You’re then on the side where these beautiful little flowers grow. These flowers are blooming because someone cared for them and allowed them to grow. The gap between the dead flowers and the new ones could represent a new beginning. That’s a gap no one wanted to see empty, so Netflix came along and built a bridge and planted new seeds just for us so we can safely cross it and head towards a beautiful, untouched field of possibilities. Much like a flower, the show blossomed and bloomed into the beautiful phenomenon it is today and continues to welcome new onlookers that wish to stop and enjoy the view.
There’s no denying the fact that Lucifer has a hard working cast and crew. From start to finish, we’ve seen them grow as a team and accomplish feats they probably didn’t even dream of accomplishing. Unquestionably, every season deserves all the amount of love and respect that’s equally put into it, and with the series finally wrapped up, it’s good to go back and rewatch knowing what you know now and seeing how everything changed leaps and bounds. They don’t call Lucifer “the little show that could” for nothing. Cheating death and with a fierce will to live, it just goes to show how the sheer force of determination and persistence with a hint of passion can help show the world how much you truly shine when you’re given a second chance.
You can stream all six seasons of Lucifer now on Netflix.