Black Lightning Gets a TV Show With a Different Approach

Cress Williams as Black Lightning

In our Golden Age of superhero movies and TV, there are now plenty of choices for those who like watching live-action comic adaptations. (So many, in fact, that I’ve stopped watching many of them, focusing only on the ones I find most enjoyable: iZombie, Lucifer, Legends of Tomorrow, and soapy guilty pleasure Riverdale.) Most of them have one big thing in common: they’re produced by Greg Berlanti, who helms the interrelated The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl, and Legends.

Berlanti has another DC superhero show coming early next year for the CW, but it won’t be part of this “Arrowverse”. Instead, Black Lightning takes a new approach, showing us an electrically powered hero (Cress Williams) who retired 12 years ago to raise his daughters. Here’s the trailer:

And the network’s extended description:

As the father of two daughters and principal of a charter high school that also serves as a safe haven for young people in a New Orleans neighborhood overrun by gang violence, he is a hero to his community. Nine years ago, Pierce was a hero of a different sort. Gifted with the superhuman power to harness and control electricity, he used those powers to keep his hometown streets safe as the masked vigilante Black Lightning. However, after too many nights with his life on the line, and seeing the effects of the damage and loss that his alter ego was inflicting on his family, he left his superhero days behind and settled into being a principal and a dad. Choosing to help his city without using his superpowers, he watched his daughters Anissa (Nafessa Williams) and Jennifer (China Anne McClain) grow into strong young women, even though his marriage to their mother, Lynn (Christine Adams), suffered. Almost a decade later, Pierce’s crime-fighting days are long behind him… or so he thought. But with crime and corruption spreading like wildfire, and those he cares about in the crosshairs of the menacing local gang The One Hundred, Black Lightning returns — to save not only his family, but also the soul of his community.

I’m curious to see how they handle an older, adult hero, although I’m not crazy about a lead black hero having to fight gangs. Seems a bit of a cliche.

Additional executive producers are Sarah Schechter (The Flash) and spouses/partners Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil (The Game, Being Mary Jane), who created the show. The character was created for comics by Tony Isabella with Trevor Von Eeden.

Cress Williams as Black Lightning

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