If they're not careful, this show will be setting a new bar for all other superhero TV shows.
Black Lightning is a unique take on a superhero.
Rather than a youngster trying to find themselves in the world while learning about their new skills and battling evil, this show is about an older, retired superhero, a wanted "vigilante," Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams), who is a school principal who seems to be making his mark on the world via his students as he teaches them right from wrong and standing up for yourself and what's right.
What really stands out about the show was that rather than taking the easy way out in projecting the story forward with superhero antics, the entire series premiere was focused on setting up the world that Jefferson lives in. One where racism runs rampant and a new gang is starting to step up with impunity from the law.
Yet the racism is nuanced into the story superbly, making the viewer feel the frustration of the victims of these blatantly stupid ass social injustices by small minded assholes. Oops... did I just say that out loud?
Another aspect that felt very fresh was that this was not an origins tale. Oh my god, origins can waste so much time in a show when there's so much more to touch on for developing a series. And we lost no time on an origin, for now.
This last kidnapping is what also sets him and his ex-wife on a shared path, where up until that moment, she made him swear to never be Black Lightning again, and he swore. (Despite already pulling off a few deeds prior.) But with both their daughters kidnapped, the police effectively having their hands tied by the law, she says to go bring their family back!
And in the final action sequence, with Jack White's 'Lazaretto' as the action theme song, when Jefferson kicks some ass, it's a truly deserved resolution to all the frustration that the viewer was subjected to, watching the crap Jefferson had to put up with. The finale of the third act felt like it was truly earned, in respect to how Jefferson was forced to act.
And as we saw throughout the episode, Black Lightning is needed, now, more than ever.
Without an origin story, it was a refreshing approach to this DC comic character. But we all know that sooner or later, we'll be given that information. And probably sooner than later, considering what happened in one of the final scenes of the episode concerning his daughter. You'll see what I mean when you watch the episode. The trailer below touches on it a bit more too, giving us something to look forward to.
If the series continues to handle the story arc like they did the series premiere, this is going to be one of CWs best comic-based character shows. Period.
It was wonderful to see the characters dealing with the situations and Black Lightning was used as a last resort. It's like Disney's new animated series reboot of Voltron on Netflix. Unlike the original show where all the lions had to join up in every episode to form Voltron, this series actually takes liberties with showcasing the individual characters defeating their own smaller challenges, and we only see the big guy a few times throughout a season. TOTALLY REFRESHING!
And the bad guy, the gang leader... oh my, what a unique casting for the character. I look forward to this guy being evil!
But I'm worried. Now worried about what I saw, but what I didn't see, in that the writers will fall prey to the standard tropes, making subsequent episodes into the usual, trope filled action show.
But for now, I have no evidence that will happen and I totally recommend this show, if you like these kinds of shows. It touches on the dark side of humanity and how people are forced to tolerate crap situations that society pushed on them.
Black Lightning airs Tuesday nights on The CW. It's in my DVR schedule and I cannot wait for the next episode.
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