The CW has released a slew of bona fide production stills for Black Lightning, the first DC show to center around a black superhero. This is the network's fifth comic book series, after The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow. Like pretty much all those other shows, it will be produced by Greg Berlanti. It's set to premiere on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018, at 9 p.m. ET/PT, right after a new episode of Flash.
Black Lightning focuses on Jefferson Pierce (Friday Night Lights's Cress Williams), a school principal and father of two daughters (China Anne McClain and Nafessa Williams) who gave up his alter ego nine years prior to the show's beginning. But when his family and community are threatened by a growing wave of crime caused by a local gang, the One Hundred, he must re-assume his hero duties in order to protect the ones he loves. Kind of brings to mind The Dark Knight Returns, Frank Miller's classic Batman comic from 1986, where an older and more fragile Bruce Wayne brings his cowl out of retirement.
Able to control and harness electricity, the character dates back to April 1977 in Tony Isabella (writer) and Trevor Von Eeden's (artist) Black Lightning #1. Isabella was hired to develop the superhero after his work on Luke Cage for Marvel. Pierce's backstory saw him grow up in Metropolis' inner city, a bad neighborhood known as Suicide Slum. He suppressed his powers as a young man, but after returning home and becoming the principal of Garfield High School, he takes on the role of superhero.
As one of the first major African-American heroes to get their own series at DC, Black Lightning has seen major changes in the form of Infinite Crisis, Outsiders Redux, and The New 52. Tony Isabella rebooted the character in November 2017 with artist Clayton Henry. Thanks to Black Lightning and Netflix's Luke Cage we are seeing a welcome influx of diverse characters in media that recognizes the eclectic history of comic books and the world it reflects.
Christine Adams, James Remar, Damon Gupton, and Marvin "Krondon" Jones III all co-star alongside Cress Williams. There's no word on how many episodes will be contained in Season 1, but based on The CW's other DC shows, an order of either 13, or 22ish, is likely.