A different kind of superhero hits the CW scene!
The series premiere of the long-awaited superhero show, Black Lightning is right around the corner! We couldn’t be more excited about the arrival of this new series to the network full of some of our favorite superhero shows – The Flash and Supergirl. The series has already promised a strong family unit with its “Family Fight Back” promo and they are going to go all in with the storytelling, by giving us stories that we can most certainly relate to. Black Lightning is coming in as another Greg Berlanti production, with showrunners – the husband and wife duo, Salim Akil (Sparkle and The Game) and Mara Brock Akil (Girlfriends and Being Mary Jane).
Black Lightning centers around Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams) as he has to come out of superhero retirement to keep his family and city safe from the local gang called The One Hundred. Nine years ago, he fought against the crime as Black Lightning with superpowers that he acquired, giving him the ability to harness and control electricity. Now, as the principal of a charter school which also stands as a safe haven for children in the community, he will have to suit up again to protect them. He is already seen as a hero in his community but he is not known as the masked vigilante he used to be. We’re excited to see a different entrance into a superhero story. There are a lot of elements that we could talk about but we only picked out a few. So, let’s discuss some of the reasons we should watch this new DC TV show!
1. It’s a family affair!
Black Lightning will be the first to feature a black superhero family on network television! This is such an amazing thing to take note of. At the head of the family is Jefferson Pierce and Lynn Pierce, who is played by Christine Adams. Daughters, Anissa Pierce and Jennifer Pierce, played by Nafessa Williams and China Anne McClain will soon become Thunder and Lightning as they eventually learn of their own powers. This family standing at the forefront of a TV show is everything we knew we needed.
Jefferson is the loving father who is truly a protective family man. Lynn is the woman who will exude confidence and not let her voice be masked. She’s no longer married to Jefferson but that doesn’t mean she isn’t still a prominent figure in the family. Anissa is the eldest daughter who – while trying to finish medical school – takes up a teaching job at the same school her father is a principal at and her sister attends. Jennifer is the youngest of the clan and also a little on the wild side. She’s an outspoken scholar-athlete. The relationship shown in a recent sneak peek of Anissa and Jennifer, shows that Anissa will look out for Jennifer like a protective mother to a child. So the family bonds are probably going to be strong. If this doesn’t sound like a family that you’d want to see fight for justice every week, we don’t know what else to tell you.
2. It will feature a black lesbian superhero!
Along with Nafessa Williams playing a black superhero, she will also be representing the LGBTQ community as a black lesbian superhero. The character is already a known lesbian in the comics, so not changing that aspect was the right thing to do when bringing it to our television screens. Unlike most stories, Anissa is already confident and set in her identity. She isn’t afraid to let others know where she stands and who she is. She sounds like a multifaceted character that will bring a lot to the CW.
But, wait! It gets better. She’s also going to have a bi-sexual, half-Amazonian, Asian-American love interest. Grace Choi, played by Chantal Thuy, who will be taking on the role. We’re pumped to see what they do with these two characters. Anissa alone seems like a fiery individual that we will love and adding another woman of color to her storyline will only make it better. We’re excited about all of the characters storylines, but aside from Jefferson Pierce, Anissa is probably the next character we can’t wait to see develop.
3. Salim Akil and Mara Brock Akil want us to feel represented.
Salim Akil and Mara Brock Akil have given their talented minds to shows like Girlfriends, The Game, Being, Mary Jane, and more. They have been doing this for a while now and stepping into the roles of showrunner and executive producer for Black Lightning is another step in the right direction. We trust that they will do a fantastic job in handling this new venture. They’re not going to be afraid to produce the stories they want. If the Black Lightning promos are an example, it looks like it will show through this sci-fi/fantasy drama.
Also, it’s not hard to miss the number of people of color on all the other shows compared to what we will see on Black Lightning. The creators wanted to make sure that no matter our skin color you were able to have a role model on the screen. Black Lightning will bring a fresh look at how we can all exist in the genre. The writing staff is predominantly African American, so that means that they will be able to write for these main characters who are possibly going through experiences that are more relatable to them than to that of a white person. This is something that sets Black Lightning apart from the rest. The writing staff on the other CW superhero shows are predominantly white. This causes some of their storytelling to be – sometimes – unrelatable and underrepresented. Giving these black voices a space to write for black characters was the best move to make.
“I started out thinking family drama first. I wanted every person — Hispanic, white, black, Asian, whoever you are — to be able to recognize yourself……The BS meter is we have a predominantly African American writing staff.” – Salim Akil
4. The stories are about real-life problems in a community.
Instead of having villains that want to take over the world or alter it in some way, Black Lightning brings it down to a more personal place. The show sticks to making the situations relatable and something that seems more realistic. The real-life problems that Jefferson encounters will somewhat, mirror communities that may be going through some of the same issues. It’ll give viewers something to latch onto.
The show won’t be tone deaf or feel manufactured when it comes to talking about subjects of race, drugs, police violence, etc. Along with the writers being people who possibly know someone who has been through these situations or have seen them firsthand, they’ll make sure that the stories aren’t just all throwaway and catchy lines. The show will address a variety of issues that will move its overall plot along. We’re interested to see how they implement these real stories each week.
“It really is looking at real-life problems in an actual city, in an actual neighborhood and trying to conquer those problems — i.e., drugs and corruption, gun violence, police violence, and just oppression that happens below the poverty line.” – Cress Williams
5. It’s not a part of the Arrowverse….yet.
As of right now, Black Lightning is not a part of the Arrowverse. That may sound like a bad thing but it could possibly be for the better. The new show will be coming from a different standpoint than the other shows. Whereas The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow all had the formula of gaining their superpowers and then forming a team, that’s not the case with Black Lightning. Jefferson has experienced what life is like to have his powers. He knows what the pros and cons of it all, but he’s choosing to step back into it. He has a family with children who will, eventually, fight beside him. The other CW superhero shows do not function with this same formula.
Although Akil accredited the CW shows as giving him the idea to do storylines that crescendo, the storylines will not be the same. Black Lightning isn’t about saving the world all at once, it’s about Jefferson needing to personally protect the people of his family and neighborhood. This show functioning in a different way gives us a chance to see what more we could have on other superhero shows. Whether that be for the good or bad, we don’t know. But, we’re willing to watch this show every week to find out.
“The conflict here is not necessarily saving the world or battling aliens,” – Cress Williams
We’re optimistic that Black Lightning will be our new favorite superhero show very soon.
The simple fact that there is nothing like this show on network television makes us want to see this show succeed even more. It has been long over-do for a black superhero to lead a television show. Let it not go without saying that all the little brown girls and boys out there will surely be inspired and motivated by seeing Black Lightning, Thunder, and Lightning take to our screens week after week. They don’t get this kind of representation in this genre often, so having it on network TV will surely make a huge impact.
The show is already stirring up a lot of buzz. The promotion has been better than that of some CW shows in the past and hopefully, they continue with it in the future. A set of new faces that not everyone is familiar with will give the new series a nice touch. Black Lightning is going to bring the fire to The CW and we couldn’t be more ecstatic to see this show evolve!