Comic books are ripe for adaptation into TV shows, thanks to their serial format, and we've certainly seen a lot of comic book adaptations on TV in recent years - from gritty, violent fare like Preacher to kid-friendly superhero shows like The Flash and Supergirl. But while the latter two shows - both of which were executive produced by Greg Berlanti - are part of a growing DC empire over on The CW, Berlanti's latest project has landed elsewhere.
Black Lightning, a planned series about the Justice League superhero created by Tony Isabella and Trevor Von Eeden in 1977, has found its home at Fox, according to a report by TheWrap. Fox, which is already home to another comic book-based property in the form of Batman prequel series Gotham, has given Black Lightning a pilot production commitment. The series is being co-written by Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil (Being Mary Jane).
Here is the synopsis for the show, according to TheWrap:
Black Lightning’s everyday alter ego is Jefferson Pierce, who made his choice: he hung up the suit and his secret identity years ago, but with a daughter hellbent on justice and a star student being recruited by a local gang, he’ll be pulled back into the fight as the wanted vigilante and DC legend Black Lightning.
Keep in mind that this is only a pilot order, not a series order, so it's not yet guaranteed that Black Lightning will make it onto our TV screens. However, the fact that it's been snapped up so quickly after the project was announced is a positive sign, and Gotham has been a success for Fox despite mixed reviews, garnering more than 5 million viewers in its second season. It makes sense that the network would want to add another superhero show to its roster.
With The CW having demonstrated the appeal of shared TV universes, there is a question of whether Black Lightning will end up crossing over with Gotham... but we wouldn't bet on that just yet. Gotham takes place in a relatively grounded version of the DC universe, and while Black Lightning originated as a tech-powered superhero, he's better known as a metahuman with electricity-wielding abilities.
Besides, The CW introduced The Flash at a time when Arrow was generally well-regarded, whereas Gotham has struggled to find its footing in its first two seasons. Keeping the two shows separate would give Black Lightning a fresh start with viewers, which could lead to greater success than a Gotham connection would.
We'll keep you updated on Black Lightning as development continues.