Netflix's Lucifer was the most in-demand digital original in May 2019. Inspired by DC's classic Sandman comics, Lucifer stars Tom Ellis as Lucifer Morningstar, the Devil, who has opened a nightclub in Los Angeles and serves as a consultant to the LAPD. Although the show became something of a cult classic, Lucifer was canceled by Fox after three seasons; the studio initially claimed this was due to ratings, but then-Fox Television Group Chief Executive Dana Walden admitted in a press conference that Fox "couldn't justify the economics" of paying for a series from another studio. Netflix had no such issues, and picked up Lucifer for season 4, which released on May 8.
Season 3 had ended on a cliffhanger, with Lucifer revealing the truth about his identity to his beloved Chloe. Lucifer season 4 explored the emotional ramifications of that, with Chloe manipulated into opposing Lucifer, but ultimately choosing to trust him. By the end of the season, the show had built up to another shocking twist; Lucifer was forced to return to Hell and reclaim his throne in order to prevent a demon invasion of Earth. Naturally, that serves as fantastic setup for season 5, but at this stage there's no news of whether or not Netflix has renewed Lucifer. The streaming giant never releases viewing figures, meaning it's hard to know how a series has actually performed.
Fortunately, third-party data suggests that Lucifer was a hit for Netflix. According to data analytics firm Parrot Analytics, Lucifer was the most in-demand digital original in the United States in May - by a substantial margin. In fact, it was also the #2 comic book adaptation, only beaten by The Flash. Here are the rankings for the top 10 superhero shows in May 2019:
- The Flash
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
- Doom Patrol
- Legends of Tomorrow
- The Umbrella Academy
Lucifer was facing pretty steep competition in May, which makes its performance all the more impressive. The various Arrowverse shows were building towards their season finales, almost all of which served as setup for the impending "Crisis on Infinite Earths" event. Meanwhile, Marvel Television launched the much-anticipated sixth season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., their flagship TV program. For all this intense competition, though, only the ever-popular The Flash beat Lucifer in terms of average demand over the month.
There's a strange sense in which Lucifer's cancellation at Fox may have been the making of the show, revealing just how loved it is. Demand was proven on social media, with loyal fans launching a campaign to #SaveLucifer. The associated hashtags trended worldwide, the season 3 finale became one of the most highly ranked TV episodes on IMDb, and a popular petition received over 30,000 signatures. All this has clearly translated into viewers, with all the show's supporters tuning in to Netflix to check out Lucifer season 4.
Writer and producer Chris Rafferty has recently taken to Twitter to encourage fans to watch and rewatch. "Netflix typically waits about a month to gauge how well a release has done," he noted, which presumably means the streaming giant can be expected to make a decision on Lucifer season 5 anytime now. These demand figures suggest that the outcome will be a positive one.