In a town rampant with gang violence and racial hate, a Principal is forced to be the hero he once was to save his daughters. But in fighting back, has he only opened a Pandora’s Box of more violence?
Black Lightning is the latest superhero television series to be released on the CW and Netflix. The first episode aired on January 16th, and I cannot wait for the next 12 episodes.
Titled ‘The Resurrection’, the first episode creates a solid platform for the series to leap from. The start almost lulls the viewer into a false sense of security as it builds the story around the titular character Jefferson Peirce, and his daughters Anissa and Jennifer. They are each quickly and thoroughly written within minutes, and it isn’t long before the audience is slapped with the brutal reality of the characters’ town.
And the viewer is certainly hit hard with this realisation. From Arrow to Legends of Tomorrow, these CW shows haven’t successfully investigated the crime of gangs as much as Black Lightning has within one episode. The writers have cleverly left specific story details for the viewer to find, investigate, and be shocked by. This can be seen as the audience is left to wonder what terrors Anissa and Jennifer will face after being kidnapped.
The creators have successfully made a superhero show that could potentially hold both the CW audience and the Defenders audience due to this mature content and dire consequences. Black Lightning has, in this near superhero oversaturated environment, created something fresh and extremely enticing. Within the first episode, the writers have achieved an incredible rapport with the characters with the promise of multiple story arcs.
A lot of this must also be accredited to the actors. There is a sense that when these actors are together they have already been working this show for years. This is especially seen with the chemistry between Jefferson (Cress Williams) and Lynn Pierce (Christine Adams), and the family dynamic with the daughters Anissa (Nafessa Williams) and Jennifer (China Anne McClain).
Although the lightning effect emitted from the show’s hero is what’s expected from a CW Hero show, the texting graphics from characters’ phones felt to be lacking. Texting graphics has come to be a great tool to reveal messages to the audience, but the graphics in this episode didn’t mix well with the series aesthetics. It is a small negative and, to be honest, one that is surely going to change and grow with the show.
Black Lighting has started its season with a thunderous bang. It has a solid cast with phenomenal chemistry, and the promise of a well thought out story arc. Most surprisingly of all is its potential to hold both CW and Defenders audiences. With such a winning opening episode, it is extremely exciting to see how this show will grow.
Review by Brittany Howarth
Catch new episodes every week on Netflix Australia