Another DC property will be making its way to the small screen soon, Black Lightning. Adding to the three series’ on order and nine in development, DC could be the largest content producer on television with as many as 21 properties at once. Originally not part of the CW’s Arrowverse, Black Lightning was slated to be joining Gotham and Lucifer on Fox. However, for unknown reasons, the show left Fox (even after being ordered to pilot) and has landed on The CW after all. Super producer Greg Berlanti set the ball rolling on this series toward the end of 2016, and it has progressed from in development to on order in a matter of a few months.
The series begins filming in March, and Berlanti credits husband and wife duo Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil with crafting Black Lightning‘s direction. With credits like Being Mary Jane, The Game, and Girlfriends (the latter two were CW tentpoles at the time), it isn’t a stretch to see the Akil’s bring some of their storytelling to the CW’s superhero genre. With DCTV maestro, Berlanti, at their backs, all the elements are in place for great storytelling and a unique vision.
As far as what fans can expect about the series, it’s going to kick off with a very familiar arc from the comics. As noted by Splash Report, series protagonist Jefferson Pierce is forced to come out of retirement to protect his family from a gang that threatens his family and their city. The 100 (not to be confused with the CW series) is a brutal street gang that has terrorized Metropolis. The city is most famous, of course, for Superman; but it is also home to Rose and Thorne, who were at one point rumored to be appearing on The Flash. Malcolm Merlyn, the Dark Archer, has also been a member of the 100, adding a possible Arrow connection as well.
Gang violence has gotten so bad in Metropolis’s south side that the area has become better known as Suicide Slum. Current events make Black Lightning a timely series. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to separate this comic story from what’s actually happening in the city of Chicago at present. Gun violence has soared to astronomical levels, and nothing city officials or police have tried seem to be able to quell the escalation.
Jefferson Pierce is an African-American high school principle whose eldest daughter (Anissa) teaches at the same high school while his youngest daughter (Jennifer) is standout high school athlete. Gang violence, kidnapping, and even racial tensions are all pulled directly from the comics. A superhero show that covers topics that could easily be from a local news headline? Sounds a lot like what Marvel and Netflix were able to accomplish with Luke Cage.
With Black Lightning appearing on The CW, there’s a good chance the built-in audience would welcome a series like this. With a tone that’s a little more relatable and potentially darker than Arrow, it’s going to be interesting to see where this falls on the Arrowverse scale, or if it’s connected at all.
Black Lightning begins filming the pilot in March; there is no air date for the series on The CW yet.
Source: Splash Report