Saving Prodigal Son: Could Lou Diamond Phillips become the Canceled Series’ Good Luck Charm?
The FoxTV series Prodigal Son with Lou Diamond Phillips could become the 2nd one of his shows to be picked up back-to-back by Netflix after both were cut by the networks.
Prodigal Son, the bullet-fast, thriller-drama about a serial killer's crime-solving son on FoxTV, has a sizeable international fanbase. This is due in no small part to Michael Sheen’s international following and Tom Payne’s stellar performance in The Walking Dead and as the “Prodigal Son” Malcolm to Sheen’s serial-killer character Martin Whitly, aka The Surgeon.
However, Lou Diamond Phillips has a huge international following, too, having exploded onto the acting scene in La Bamba back in 1987, playing the lead role as Chicano Rocker Ritchie Valens and adopted by the Oglala Lakota Sioux native nation in 1991.
Since then, Lou has had a storied and varied career playing everything from leading man to the big bad in a host of movies and TV series, some of the most notable being Stand and Deliver, Young Guns, Courage Under Fire, and the crime TV series Longmire.
Prior to playing Lt. Gil Arroyo on current series Prodigal Son, he starred with Robert Taylor and Katee Sackhoff in the Longmire series, playing Henry Standing Bear. Longmire ran for three seasons on A&E Network beginning in 2012 and is based on Craig Johnson’s Longmire Mysteries. Canceled after three seasons it was then picked up by Netflix and ran for three more seasons, with Season 6 completing in 2017.
The problem which much of how the networks decide which shows stay and which shows must be cut lies with how the ratings are tracked. Using an arguably antiquated system of measurement, the networks track Nielsen and other rating indicators only from the U.S., leaving out all of the international community that tunes in every week.
Lou’s current show, Prodigal Son, which was just canceled by Fox, and its potential for a Season 3 and beyond, could now lie with Netflix picking up the show (HBOMax just passed on a pickup). If Netflix bites, Prodigal Son would become the second series’ of Lou’s to be picked up by the streaming service, back-to-back after being cut by a network.
Prodigal Son is a heart-stopping jaunt through the lives of a crime-fighting profiler and his family, who’ve come to notoriety as the relatives of The Surgeon, the notorious serial killer Martin Whitly. Lou’s character, Lt. Gil Arroyo is an integral part of their strange family tableau, having become like a father figure to young Malcolm when The Surgeon is arrested. Malcolm Whitly, played by Tom Payne, is now grown and works for Gil as a profiler, helping Gil and his department solve murder cases, though he has changed his name to Malcolm Bright, so no one will know that Martin Whitly is his father. A talented and seasoned cast joins them, and adding to a wonderful array of characters and twisting plot turns that provide edge-of-your-seat roller-coaster emotions every week along with sharp and witty but dark and comedic dialogue, it’s hard to believe the show was canceled at all.
The disgruntled noise that this show’s considerable international fanbase can now make to rally on its behalf is likely to be the largest determining factor in its potential survival. The Campaign to #SaveProdigalSon has been in full swing on Twitter and has surpassed a million tweets, drawing shared fandoms from #Hannibal, #Lucifer, and #Supernatural, who have all had their trials with the networks or cancelations. We can only hope that the second time is a charm, and Lou Diamond Phillips’ current show, Prodigal Son, is picked up by Netflix as was Longmire.
B. Roxy Rogers is a journalist, fiction author, TEFL educator, and digital nomad.
Her latest writing projects are STRANGER THAN FICTION: A biopic of Brian Howe’s era with Bad Company (nonfiction) and REDEEMING ROCHEFORT (fiction) an alternate-history/paranormal/fantasy romance. Both books are forthcoming from Green Lady Publishing. When not writing or quarantining, her passions are focused on Europe, 80s EBM/industrial music, arthouse films, and dance.