Black Lightning (TV series)
|Developed by||Salim Akil|
|Opening theme||"Black Lightning" by Godholly|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||18 (list of episodes)|
|Production location(s)||Atlanta, Georgia|
|Running time||42 minutes|
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Television Distribution|
|Original network||The CW|
|Original release||January 16, 2018– present|
Black Lightning is an American superhero television series developed by Salim Akil, airing on The CW. It is based on the DC Comics character of the same name, created by Tony Isabella and Trevor Von Eeden. It stars Cress Williams as the titular character alongside China Anne McClain, Nafessa Williams, Christine Adams, Marvin Jones III, Damon Gupton, and James Remar. The series sees the retired Black Lightning return to the hero life and its effects on his family life.
Development on the series began in September 2016 when Fox ordered a pilot production commitment for Black Lightning. In February 2017, Fox passed on the series, with it being picked up by The CW with a new script for the pilot. The CW officially ordered the series in May 2017. The first season premiered on January 16, 2018, for a 13-episode run. On April 2, 2018, The CW renewed the show for a second season, which premiered on October 9, 2018.
- 1 Premise
- 2 Cast and characters
- 3 Episodes
- 4 Production
- 5 Release
- 6 Reception
- 7 Connection to the Arrowverse
- 8 Notes
- 9 References
- 10 External links
High school principal Jefferson Pierce, who retired from his superhero persona Black Lightning nine years ago after seeing the effects it had on his family, is forced to become a vigilante again when the rise of the local gang called the 100 leads to increased crime and corruption in his community of Freeland.
In season two, as Black Lightning continues his feud with the 100's leader Tobias Whale, he and his family deal with the arising anti-superhuman bigotry within their community after its metahuman members' existences are exposed.
Cast and characters
- Cress Williams as Jefferson Pierce / Black Lightning: A retired superhero with the ability to harness and manipulate electricity who works as a principal at Garfield High School. He returns to fighting crime after his daughters are kidnapped by a local gang. Kaden Washington Lewis portrays teenage Jefferson Pierce.
- China Anne McClain as Jennifer Pierce: Jefferson's younger daughter, who is "an independent, outspoken scholar-athlete with a wild streak of her own", who also possesses powers where her cells start generating energy; her electric power is orange unlike her father's which is blue.
- Nafessa Williams as Anissa Pierce / Thunder: Jefferson's elder daughter who is in medical school and teaches part-time at Jefferson's school. Anissa is a metahuman like her father, having an ability to manipulate her density with her breathing and emotions, endowing herself with superhuman strength and durability. She can also create powerful shockwaves against her opponents with this power during combat. In addition, she has an accelerated healing factor. She eventually fights crime as Thunder, and later becomes her father's protégée and partner. Describing her character as a positive role model, Williams said "I'm just really grateful to tell the story for young lesbians — and black lesbians in particular ... My hope is that when you watch Anissa, a young lesbian is inspired to walk boldly as who she is and to love herself and to love herself exactly how she looks."
- Christine Adams as Lynn Stewart: A neuroscientist at Bowman College and Jefferson's ex-wife.
- Marvin "Krondon" Jones III as Tobias Whale: A former politician who rose through the ranks of local government through corruption but was brought down by Jefferson's father, Alvin. After killing Alvin, Tobias was exiled and became the leader of the 100. Despite being Black Lightning's chief adversary and wanting to kill him, Whale becomes involved with the A.S.A.'s efforts to capture and study him.
- Damon Gupton as Bill Henderson: A veteran detective inspector with the police who becomes an unlikely ally to Jefferson, despite his role in the community. After exposing the dirty Deputy Chief, Cayman, he is appointed to replace him. Henderson eventually learns that Jefferson is Black Lightning, fracturing their relationship.
- James Remar as Peter Gambi: Jefferson's oldest friend who became a father figure and mentor to him and works as his "tailor" while having connections with Lady Eve. His real name is Peter Esposito and was a former member of the A.S.A. until he turned against the organization and gave information to Alvin Pierce, resulting in his murder.
- Jordan Calloway as Khalil Payne / Painkiller (season 2; recurring, season 1): A track star at Garfield High and Jennifer's ex-boyfriend. After a bullet from Syonide's gun paralyzes him from the waist down, he becomes involved with Tobias Whale where he undergoes an experimental treatment done by the A.S.A. involving a spinal implant that gives him enhanced abilities, becomes a cyborg in the process. Tobias Whale is the one who names Khalil's new form of Painkiller.
Season 1 (2018)
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Prod.|
|1||1||"The Resurrection"||Salim Akil||Salim Akil||January 16, 2018||T43.10001||2.31|
|2||2||"Lawanda: The Book of Hope"||Oz Scott||Salim Akil||January 23, 2018||T43.10002||1.94|
|3||3||"Lawanda: The Book of Burial"||Mark Tonderai||Jan Nash||January 30, 2018||T43.10003||2.21|
|4||4||"Black Jesus"||Michael Schultz||Pat Charles||February 6, 2018||T43.10004||1.88|
|5||5||"And Then the Devil Brought the Plague: The Book of Green Light"||Rose Troche||Adam Giaudrone||February 13, 2018||T43.10005||1.81|
|6||6||"Three Sevens: The Book of Thunder"||Benny Boom||Charles Holland||February 27, 2018||T43.10006||1.64|
|7||7||"Equinox: The Book of Fate"||Bille Woodruff||Lamont Magee||March 6, 2018||T43.10007||1.46|
|8||8||"The Book of Revelations"||Tanya Hamilton||Jan Nash||March 13, 2018||T43.10008||1.45|
|9||9||"The Book of Little Black Lies"||Tawnia McKernan||Keli Goff||March 20, 2018||T43.10009||1.55|
|10||10||"Sins of the Father: The Book of Redemption"||Eric Laneuville||Pat Charles||March 27, 2018||T43.10010||1.55|
|11||11||"Black Jesus: The Book of Crucifixion"||Michael Schultz||Melora Rivera||April 3, 2018||T43.10011||1.50|
|12||12||"The Resurrection and the Light: The Book of Pain"||Oz Scott||Jan Nash & Adam Giaudrone||April 10, 2018||T13.10012||1.54|
|13||13||"Shadow of Death: The Book of War"||Salim Akil||Charles D. Holland||April 17, 2018||T43.10013||1.68|
Season 2 (2018)
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Prod.|
|14||1||"The Book of Consequences: Chapter One: Rise of the Green Light Babies"||Salim Akil||Salim Akil||October 9, 2018||T43.10051||1.16|
|15||2||"The Book of Consequences: Chapter Two: Black Jesus Blues"||Oz Scott||Charles D. Holland||October 16, 2018||TBA||1.02|
|16||3||"The Book of Consequences: Chapter Three: Master Lowry"||Rose Troche||Jan Nash||October 23, 2018||TBA||1.18|
|17||4||"The Book of Consequences: Chapter Four: Translucent Freak"||Salli Richardson-Whitfield||Adam Giaudrone||October 30, 2018||TBA||0.97|
|18||5||"The Book of Blood: Chapter One: Requiem"||Michael Schultz||Lamont Magee||November 13, 2018||TBA||0.90|
|19||6||"The Book of Blood: Chapter Two"||TBA||TBA||November 20, 2018||TBA||TBD|
|20||7||"The Book of Blood: Chapter Three: The Sange"||TBA||TBA||November 27, 2018||TBA||TBD|
In September 2016, after being in various stages of development, Warner Bros. Television began pitching Black Lightning to networks. The project was being developed by Mara Brock Akil and her husband, Salim Akil. They were partnered with Greg Berlanti, who was behind several DC Comics properties for the studio, eventually landing at Fox with a pilot production commitment. In February 2017, Fox opted not to go forward with the project, deciding that it was "not a good fit into its already crowded genre drama space". Warner Bros. Television presented the project to other networks, with The CW officially ordering a pilot for Black Lightning. The CW also opted to discard the original pilot script, as it had been written for Fox, and shoot a short presentation instead. The CW officially ordered Black Lightning to series on May 10, 2017.
In late February 2017, Cress Williams was cast as Jefferson Pierce / Black Lightning, followed a month later by the casting of China Anne McClain and Nafessa Williams as his daughters, Jennifer Pierce and Anissa Pierce, respectively, and Christine Adams was cast as Lynn Pierce, Jefferson's ex-wife. At the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con International, it was announced that James Remar and Damon Gupton had joined the cast as Pierce's friend Peter Gambi and detective inspector Henderson, respectively. The following month, Marvin "Krondon" Jones III of the hip hop group Strong Arm Steady was cast as Tobias Whale.
At the end of September 2017, Kyanna Simone Simpson was cast as the recurring role Kiesha. The following month, Edwina Findley joined the cast as Tori Whale, while Chantal Thuy was cast as Grace Choi. In January 2018, it was revealed that Skye Marshall had been cast as Mrs. Fowdy.
Black Lightning's costume was designed by Laura Jean Shannon.
Kurt Farquhar composes the soundtrack for the series while Godholly provides original music for the series. These tracks include "Black Lightning", "Power", "Green Light", "Welcome to Freeland", "Can't Go" and "Thunder".
|Season||Episodes||Originally aired||DVD and Blu-ray release dates|
|First aired||Last aired||Timeslot (EST)||Region 1||Region 2||Region 4|
|1||13||January 16, 2018||April 17, 2018||Tuesday 9:00 pm||July 26, 2018||N/A[a]||2018|
|2||16||October 9, 2018||2019||Tuesday 9:00 pm (1–9)
Monday 9:00 pm (10–16)
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the first season has received a 96% approval rating, with an average rating of 8.35/10, based on 48 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads, "Black Lightning doesn't reinvent superhero TV, but it does give the genre a necessary jolt with real-world plots, scary new villains, and a star-making performance from Cress Williams." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 79 out of 100 based on 25 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Daniel Fienberg, in a review for The Hollywood Reporter, praised the series for being "smart and relevant and full of an attitude that's all its own." The portrayal of Anissa Pierce as Thunder has received praise for making television history as the first black lesbian superhero.
|Year||Award||Category||Recipient(s) and nominee(s)||Result||Ref.|
|2018||People's Choice Awards||The Sci-Fi/Fantasy Show of 2018||Black Lightning||Pending|||
|Saturn Awards||Best Superhero Television Series||Black Lightning||Nominated|||
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice Breakout TV Show||Black Lightning||Nominated|||
|Choice Breakout TV Star||Nafessa Williams||Nominated|
Connection to the Arrowverse
Despite airing on The CW and being created by Berlanti, Mark Pedowitz, president of The CW said in May 2017 that the series "at this time, is not part of the Arrowverse. It is a separate situation." Berlanti had previously stated when the series was in development at Fox that it would not crossover with his other DC Comics television properties on The CW nor would it exist in the Arrowverse. However, Akil later stated that they were not ruling out eventual crossovers. In August 2017, Pedowitz added, "If [the showrunners] wish to bring it in, that is their call. We had a long discussion with the studio, Mara, Salim, and myself. We were fine with them making it separate from the Arrowverse, they have a different point of view. If they end up wanting to go that way, that will be their decision." Salim Akil noted references in the first season to the Arrowverse heroes Vixen and Supergirl were a "fun" way "to tease the fans". He also further reiterated that the series existed on a separate Earth from the other Arrowverse series (like Earth-1 from The Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow and Earth-38 from Supergirl) and was hopeful that any future crossover would involve the heroes of the other series visiting the Earth that is associated with Black Lightning.
- Black Lightning was never released in Region 2 on DVD as it was first premiered on Netflix.
- Kurt Farquhar [@KurtFarquhar] (March 29, 2017). "So happy to be composer for Black Lightning! Thanks Akils! #gregberlanti #tvmusic #blacklightning #kurtfarquhar" (Tweet). Retrieved August 19, 2017 – via Twitter.
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- Agard, Chancellor (January 4, 2018). "Black Lightning unveils first look at Thunder". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
- Agard, Chancellor (January 30, 2018). "Black Lightning breakout talks playing a black lesbian superhero". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 7 February 2018.
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- Ramos, Dino-Ray (August 10, 2017). "'Black Lightning' Adds Marvin "Krondon" Jones III As Villain Tobias Whale". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 10, 2017.
- Petski, Denise (July 22, 2017). "'Black Lightning' Casts James Remar & Damon Gupton As Series Regulars, Watch Trailer – Comic-Con". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 23, 2017.
- Prudom, Laura (October 9, 2018). "Black Lightning Season 2: Cress Williams Talks Premiere Twist And Anissa's Dangerous Choice". IGN. Retrieved October 11, 2018.
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- Bryant, Jacob (October 30, 2017). "'Black Lightning' Casts Chantal Thuy as DC Comics' Grace Choi (Exclusive)". Variety. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
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