I caught the CW’s Black Lightning Trailer at the library last week. And because I was so busy with making videos and editing Legend of Mad Matilda I didn’t have time to write a review. At first I was excited. But now that I’ve had time to think about things it looks like a….Meh show.
Yeah, it’s Black Lightning. And he’s a Black guy with electric superpowers. But there’s not much electricity sparking this show.
Greg Berlanti and Mara Brock Akil’s Black Lightning seems to be a fusion of The original Tony Isabella concept from the 70’s and the 1990’s comic series. In the trailer it looks like Jefferson Pierce was Black Lightning up until 2005 when the nights of fighting to make a difference in the streets was getting to him. So he decided to hang up the suit and become the principal of his local high school and raise his family.
Twelve years later the gang The 100 are back stronger than ever. And they’re terrorizing the Black community. And now that Jefferson Pierce’s kids are coming of age and being threatened by the 100, A Hero must rise again. Or One man must come back to make a difference at 50.
When you look at the trailer it looks like something big is going to happen when Jefferson Pierce is putting his suit back together and getting ready to take on the bad guys and clean up his community. Then if you’re an old head like me you realize you saw this show on Netflix. And it was a lot better when it was called Luke Cage.
And even better when it was called M.A.N.T.I.S.
Yeah, it’s Black Lightning and he has is own TV show. But it’s DRY. Predictable. By the NUMBERS. With an off-the-shelf premise and off the shelf villains. Why is it every time we get a Black superhero they’re always taking on street hoods? I’d like to think there’d be some variety in the rogues gallery.
Over here at SJS DIRECT Isis lives in Harlem and she has yet to take on a street hood. She’s taken on a resurrected Nubian Queen, a Greek goddess, a psychotic cosmetics mogul, She-demons, a campus stalker, a Cybergoddess, Vampires and Dracula himself. And When I get the money she’ll be taking on Pro-Black Hotep priestess and trying to escape from Transylvania If I can imagine up different threats and mix up the rogues gallery of my heroes to make it fresh for my readers, I’d like to think that DC Comics, Greg Berlanti and Mara Brock Akil could mix it up and make Black Lightning interesting for the new viewer.
But I’m not expecting the first season of Black Lightning to be on the level of Supergirl Season 1, Flash Season 1 or Arrow Season 1. Unfortunately, from the looks of things we’re gonna get M.A.N.T.I.S season 1 in 2017 complete with the same special effects from 1994.
Yeah, there are some things I liked about Black Lightning’s trailer, like seeing him be a father and a family man. But with characters on Arrow and The Flash and Supergirl taking on heavyweight threats like Grodd, King Shark, I’d like to think Black Lightning could do better than take on a street gang in his first season. Part of a superhero show is giving the hero a credible threat, and I’m just not seeing a serious threat to Black Lightning from The 100 like I did with The Master from Buffy Season 1 or Callisto in Xena Season 2.
I’m still on the fence about Black Lightning. And I’m holding out hope it’ll be good. But with the mediocre trailer, weak badguys and the fact that a Mara Brock Akil and Greg Berlanti’s track record on Black male characters I’m just not seeing much to get excited about. Throw in the fact that Black Lightning won’t be interacting with Arrow, The Flash or Supergirl in the Berlantiverse in Season 1 and there’s no reason for me to buy into this series I’ll tune in for the first episode. But I’m still not sold on an entire season.