You have to hand it to DC, Warner Bros., and The CW. Year after year, and with seemingly increased audacity, they have managed to pump out hit after hit. From Arrow to The Flash and Supergirl, the genuine limitations of DC's small screen potential have been difficult to find. With that in mind, and on the heels of DC's recent successes in the realm of television, it is now officially time for us to level our sights on the next DC TV project on the horizon: Black Lightning. It is a series that has managed to fly relatively under the radar over the course of the last few months, but with its premiere now officially on the horizon for early 2018, it is time to really dive in and talk about this exciting addition to the small screen DC lore.
With such an intriguing show coming down the pipe for The CW, we have taken it upon ourselves to compile a handy guide to everything that we currently know about Black Lightning. We will keep this guide as up to date as possible as new information about the upcoming series becomes available to us, so make sure to keep it handy as the series' premiere date draws near. There are a number of important points for us to get to, so let's kick this guide off with one of the most important aspects of Black Lightning: its release date.
When Does Black Lightning Premiere?
The CW's DC shows have yet to actually land on a system for debuting its series. The small screen universe tailors its release schedules to the needs of each series. Shows like Arrow and The Flash have opened with full season orders in the official fall lineup, while Legends of Tomorrow began with an abridged spring season. With that in mind, it appears that Black Lightning will skew more towards the somewhat less traditional Legends of Tomorrow method and debut its first set of episodes halfway through the 2017-2018 season. That's admittedly not much to go by yet, but it at least allows us to confirm that Black Lightning will debut after the Arrow-verse series have already returned.
While this may seem problematic at first, it actually could go a long way towards helping Black Lightning get off of the ground in a proper way. Shows like Arrow and The Flash have arguably shown signs of fatigue in their recent 23-episode full season arcs, so a shorter Season 1 for Black Lightning could actually allow the folks at DC, Warner Bros., and The CW to craft a much leaner arc of episodes that will prove more satisfying for audiences. Only time will tell at this point, but expect to see Black Lightning shock audiences when 2018 rolls around.
How Many Episodes Of Black Lightning Can We Expect?
As of right now, Black Lightning has a Season 1 order, and, since it's debuting at mid-season, that probably means a short season of around 13 episodes, though that hasn't been confirmed yet. Having said that, DC has experienced hit after hit on the small screen in recent years (aside from a recent, ill-fated misfire with NBC's Powerless) so it's hard not to assume that Black Lightning will go on to achieve a similar level of critical and commercial success. If all goes well, we should expect to see Black Lightning eventually get ordered to a full series in Season 2, alongside all of DC's other hit shows.
What Is The Story Of Black Lightning?
Black Lightning will utilize a narrative structure that will definitely feel familiar to anyone who has spent even a small amount of time delving into superhero fiction over the years, but that doesn't make it any less valid. Centering on returning superhero Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams), the series will pick up with him over a decade after hanging up his "Black Lightning" costume and devoting himself to the life of an educator, and his return to the world of super heroics when the crime in his community once again reaches a boiling point that he can no longer stand by and tolerate. As I said, it is nothing new, but if it is not broken, then there's no reason to try and fix it.
However, aside from the personal vendetta element of Black Lightning's core story, there also seems to be a major theme of community pride that doesn't appear to be accidental. Early glimpses at the show have exhibited a strong sense of emphasis on civic duty and the concept of fighting for "the little guy," so comparisons with shows like Arrow and Marvel's Luke Cage will definitely be hard to ignore. Race also seems to be a major component in the series, as the cast is predominately black, and the show appears to focus heavily on the plight of minority communities in America.