Black Lightning centers around a family man and school principal named Jefferson Pierce who is dedicated to keeping his community safe. He’s a hero, but just nine years prior, he was a different kind of hero. With the power to control electricity, he was known as the crime fighting vigilante Black Lightning. He left that life to settle down and keep his family safe, but now with crime, corruption, and gang violence taking over his community and threatening his family, Black Lightning returns!
You can watch my full review of the Black Lightning pilot, below:
The series is another DC Comics show on The CW by Berlanti Productions, the force behind Arrow and The Flash, and Akil Productions, who worked on projects like Being Mary Jane, The Game, and Girlfriends. Together Greg Berlanti and Salim Akil are the perfect duo to bring Black Lightning to life as Berlanti has a proven track record for making great superhero shows and Akil has created extremely popular African American-led shows. Black Lightning features a great cast with Cress Williams, China Anne McClain, and Nafessa Williams. McClain and Williams especially shine as sisters who are bold and can kick some serious butt. In the first episode, there are explosive fight scenes, a villain so diabolical that he literally throws people into a piranha tank, and an excellent old school hip hop soundtrack that punctuates the scenes very well.
Not only that, but this show is groundbreaking in that it’s the first African American family superhero series to hit television. Coupled with the fact that we’re also getting the Black Panther movie this year, this is just the beginning for superheroes of color. It’s no coincidence that heroes of color are making the leap into mainstream media at the same time that our country is finally addresses it’s own issues — and Black Lightning jumps at the opportunity to tackle these issues as a show. In the first episode alone, we see Jefferson Pierce get profiled and pulled over by the police for no real reason, we see him struggle to keep gang violence out of his school and his home, we see him push for education and safety at the school he runs, to push students to get an education and find a safe haven, and we see a man who is just feeling completely defeated by the racism and violence in his community. All he wants to do is help people in a positive way. But unfortunately that isn’t as easy as it seems. There’s a line from a news reporter in the show where he reveals Black Lightning is back and says that he is considered a vigilante even though there are other places that have people with powers and they’re considered heroes. The double standard is wild and that stood out to me as an important crux to this story. All in all, what’s so very exciting about Black Lightning is that it’s aware, it’s socially conscious, and it’s an action packed superhero show that anyone can relate to.