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Neil Gaiman ‘Thanks’ Activists for Boycotting Lucifer, the Most-Streamed Show of 2021

The Sandman co-creator Neil Gaiman “thanks” One Million Moms for its attempted boycott of Lucifer, which topped Nielsen’s streaming charts for 2021.

The Sandman co-creator Neil Gaiman says early attempts to boycott the Fox/Netflix series Lucifer only served to convince him that the television spinoff would be a success.

“I would just like to formally thank the [One Million Moms] for their attempts to ban Lucifer before it came out,” Gaiman wrote on Twitter. “Their boycott was the thing that signalled that Sandman had arrived as a comic, and I knew it boded well for our TV spin-off.” Gaiman was reacting to the news that Lucifer had topped Nielsen’s list of the most-streamed original series in the United States for 2021, racking up 18.3 billion streaming minutes across its 93 episodes on Netflix.

One Million Moms is a website that was founded by the American Family Association, a fundamentalist Christian activist organization, with the stated goal of urging parents to “stop the exploitation of children” by the media. Back in 2015 — prior to Lucifer’s initial debut on Fox — One Million Moms called for a boycott of the show, describing it as “a new series which will glorify Satan as a caring, likable person in human flesh.” The organization went on to claim that Lucifer was “disrespecting Christianity and mocking the Bible.”

Starring Tom Ellis as the Devil himself, Lucifer ultimately premiered on Fox in January of 2016. However, the broadcast network canceled the show after three seasons. Netflix then revived Lucifer as a Netflix original series, with Season 4 premiering on the streaming platform in May of 2019. When all was said and done, Lucifer ran for six seasons in total, debuting its final 10 episodes on Netflix on Sept. 10, 2021.

Created by writer Gaiman alongside artists Sam Kieth and Mike Dringenberg, DC’s interoperation of Lucifer Morningstar first appeared in The Sandman #4, which was first published under the Vertigo Comics imprint in 1989. In 2000, Lucifer spun off into his own solo series, written by Mike Carey, which loosely inspired the Fox/Netflix show.

While Lucifer has concluded its six-season run, Gaiman’s original Sandman series is itself headed for live-action small-screen adaptation, which is expected to premiere on Netflix sometime this year. Netflix’s The Sandman sees Gwendoline Christie take over the role of Lucifer Morningstar. The upcoming series also stars Tom Sturridge as Dream, Kirby Howell-Baptiste as Death and Boyd Holbrook as The Corinthian, among many others.

Interestingly, The Sandman is itself no stranger to moral panic. Responding to One Million Moms’ attempted boycott of Lucifer back in 2015, Gaiman wrote, “It seems like only yesterday (but it was 1991) that the ‘Concerned Mothers of America’ announced that they were boycotting Sandman because it contained Lesbian, Gay, Bi and Trans characters… They told us they were organising a boycott of Sandman, which they would only stop if we wrote to the American Family Association and promised to reform. I wonder if they noticed it didn’t work last time, either…”

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