Prodigal Son: 5 Things To Know About The Mind-Twisting TV Series

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Sarah Schechter and Greg Berlanti, the executive producers of DC’s acclaimed series, Arrow and its spinoffs, have dipped their toes into the water of another TV series titled Prodigal Son. They serve as its Executive Producers along with Lee Toland Krieger and the series creators, Chris Fedak and Sam Sklaver. The series is currently in its first season and it is being aired on the FOX network.

In case you are not yet familiar with Prodigal Son, it is a mind-twisting crime drama series with a little bit of dark humor that revolves around Malcolm Bright (Tom Payne), a mentally disturbed but genius son of “The Surgeon”, a notorious serial killer whose real name is Dr. Martin Whitly (played by). Bright is a special crime profiler for the New York Police Department and he used to work with the FBI in the same capacity before he was fired.

Prodigal Son: 5 Things To Know About Prodigal Son

1. Finn Jones Was Originally Supposed To Play Tom Payne’s Role

MCU and Game of Thrones alum, Finn Jones, was initially cast for the role that is now being played by Tom Payne of The Walking Dead fame. Following reports in January 2019 that an order has been placed by Fox for the production of the show’s pilot, it was announced in March that Finn Jones would be playing Malcolm Bright but this decision was reversed in less than a week later at the pilot table readings.

The Producers took the role from Jones citing creative differences and recast fellow English actor, Payne, in his stead. Payne had apparently been previously tested for the role so he wasted no time in taking over the lead role.

2. Who Else Is In The Series?

Award-winning Scandal actress, , takes one of the lead roles as Jessica Whitly, Malcolm’s mother, who probably won’t be a winning ‘mother of the year’ award. Welsh actor, Michael Sheen, portrays her serial killer husband, and of course – Tom Payne plays her son, Malcolm. Halston Sage plays the only seemingly normal member in the Whitly family and Malcolm’s sister, Ainsley Whitly.

Prodigal Son also stars Frank Harts, , and Aurora Perrineau as main cast members.

3. Its Pilot Was Viewed By Millions

When the first episode of the show aired on FOX on September 23, 2019, it had approximately 4.05 million viewers tune in. Little wonder why the network swiftly ordered for 21 more episodes to make it a complete season. Unfortunately, though, the viewings did not continue as it started. When the second episode aired, it only got 3.9 million viewers and while 150 thousand may not seem like much of a difference, it actually is.

The decline in viewership continued in the next episode, falling to 3.66 million, as well as the fourth one which had only 3.18 million views. If the number of views continues to decline at this high rate, Prodigal Son may not be returning for a second season.

4. Audiences Like It But Critics Do Not

The shows reviews so far indicate that some audiences are still giving it a chance; the consensus implies that most people do not think the show is living up to its true potential yet. Critics, on the other hand, have not been so nice.

IndieWire’s Ben Travers gives the show a C- grade and calls it a ‘crazy knock-off of Silence of the Lambs, actually, the craziest knock-off’. John Anderson with Wall Street Journals saic the show did not seem to take its own darkness seriously from the outset. The New York Post’s Michael Starr all but said the show could have attracted more viewers given the presence of Michael Sheen in it and as well as its subject matter.

Prodigal Son currently holds a Metacritic score of 59 out of 100 based on the ratings of 12 critics and it holds 62% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 21 critics.


5. Chris Fedak Has Worked With Berlanti Productions And Warner Bros. Before

One of the two creators of Prodigal Son, Chris Fedak, is also credited for creating the ABC crime Television series, Deception, that got canceled after one season. The canceled show is loosely similar to Prodigal Son and it was also executive produced by Berlanti Productions in collaboration with VHPT Company and Warner Bros. Television, and like this current show, Deception was also distributed by the latter.

Chris Fedak also co-created the NBC action-comedy series, Chuck, with Josh Schwartz.

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