CW has earned a great reputation for developing some of DC’s finest superheroes for TV. On Tuesday, January 16th they introduce fans to Black Lightning. Cress Williams brilliantly bring Black Lightning/Jefferson Pierce to life. Unlike other CW shows, this isn’t an origin story even though things are brought to light through flashbacks. As the weeks progress we will probably we will learn more throughout the first season.
Jefferson Pierce is a private school principal who only wants to keep his children, daughters Anissa (Nafessa Williams), now a teacher at the school, and Jennifer (China Anne McClain) and school safe without having to suit up. It’s been nine years since Jefferson suited up and is content not to until those he wants to protect are in danger. It’s at that point that Jefferson does what he needs to and once again become Black Lightning.
Jefferson deals with events that we read about in the newspaper every day: unwarranted traffic stops motivated by race, gang violence in urban areas, drug abuse among teenagers and many other timely topics. This is a very gritty show but the storytelling is on point and very well done. It is a bit more violent than you might be used to but it doesn’t distract from the story being told. As of now it is not connected to the current Arrow/Flash/Supergirl/Legends universe but that doesn’t mean at some point it won’t.
Peter Gambi is Black Lighning’s sidekick/mentor/partner. James Remar is perfectly cast as Peter Gambi who works with and helps Jefferson as well as his alter ego. Even with nine years of “retirement” it is abundantly clear that Peter was very much not retired and ready for the day when Black Lightning would be needed again.
I am really looking forward to seeing more of their backstory shown this season.
In a surprising move, Marvin “Krondon” Jones III is an interesting choice for Tobias Whale. We are looking forward to seeing his story and rivalry with Black Lightning. While onscreen you could feel the evil from Tobias which will make for a great game of cat and mouse.
A divorced dad, principal and semi-retired superhero make for some great storytelling. Whether you have always been a fan of Black Lightning or just now being introduced, this series will leave the viewer wanting more.