Greetings fanboys and fangirls! Regular Et Cetera here, long time Black Lightning fan, first time caller. I’ve recently joined the impressive roster of entertainment writers over in the #DCTV Couch Club, and as we all know (especially now that I’m mentioning it), Black Lightning premieres tonight at 9pm on The CW. It’s a pretty big deal. The first brand new #DCTV show of the season and the first one ever centered around a black superhero. So, for my inaugural passage into these stormy superhero seas, and to get you all ready for tonight’s premiere, I thought I’d grace you with my top 5 reasons to tune in tonight.
REASON #1: YOU LOVE BLACK LIGHTNING
You know, the alter ego of Jefferson Pierce, DC’s first black, headlining superhero. He made his electrifying introduction to the world of comics by way of BLACK LIGHTNING #1 in 1977 (and unfortunately, was canceled by the time #12 hit the shelves in 1978).
For you hopeful few, the loyal Black Lightning fanboys and fangirls waiting on his electric-powered return since the disco era, this is your moment. Black Lightning has finally returned, and this time he’s coming to TV (he’s also back in comics, and the currently in-progress miniseries, BLACK LIGHTNING: COLD DEAD HANDS, written by Black Lightning creator Tony Isabella, is well worth your time).
But speaking of coming to TV, that brings me to the second reason why a reader like you might want to check out the new series.
REASON #2: YOU HATE BLACK VULCAN
He was a super friend, yes. But Black Vulcan was not a super replacement for the actual character of Black Lightning (and yes, that’s even if you count his, for lack of a better word… interesting cameos on Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law). He was added to the cast of Challenge of the Super Friends in 1978 (in what was to supposed to be Jefferson Pierce’s big animated premiere) instead of Black Lightning, due to contract disputes. The substitution wouldn’t last long though, as Black Vulcan was soon written off entirely, and replaced by the eventual fan favorite, Cyborg. Although somewhat new at the time, this exact and unfortunate kind of scenario would go on to become a kind of recurring theme/trope for black characters in televised fiction.
Thankfully, I’m pretty sure that has nothing to do with the latest iteration of Black Lightning. Seeing as there are practically no Aunt Viv/Coach from New Girl shenanigans in sight, I’m pretty confident they won’t be swapping out black characters and pretending like it’s no big deal (at least not in season 1, anyway). Oh, and speaking of big deals, one of the most obvious reasons you’ll probably be hyped for Black Lightning is...
REASON #3: YOU LOVE BLACK SUPERHEROES
The last decade or so has given us an avalanche of television shows in the superhuman category. And while we seem to find no shortage of sidekick representation by people of color in said TV shows, the main protagonist roles continue to be overwhelmingly played by white actors.
There hasn’t been a black superhero leading a live action network TV series since Blade got canceled (R.I.P.) in the mid-2000s. And to be honest, I don’t think there’s been one that I actually appreciated since M.A.N.T.I.S. (Miles Hawkins fans, #RiseUp), and that was wayyyyyyy back in the mid-90s. So, now that Black Lightning is almost here (a black superhero raising a family and still managing to help out the black community), it’s kind of a big deal.
REASON #4: YOU LOVED LIVING SINGLE
Or... New York Undercover, Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper, Homeboys in Outer Space, Sparks, Girlfriends… or any other genre show that happened to bless you with a cast showcasing talented people of color on network TV.
As you and I both know, this type of representation is extremely few and far between in certain genres of television and film. For instance, I don’t think we’ve seen a black woman lead with superhuman powers, EVER (unless you take into account Catwoman’s big screen debut in 2004 or Vixen’s animated TV premiere in the fall of 2017).
So, seeing that this show will be hitting network TV with the life, loves and labors of Jefferson Pierce on a weekly to semi-weekly basis, that’s kind of a big deal. All that, and it seems like Scooter has completely moved on from his reckless Flavor Magazine days and settled down to a mild-mannered life as a father of two and doting principle of Garfield High...who…sometimes…moonlights as the electric-masked vigilante, Black Lightning. (Until the show drops January 16th, that will be my number one theory for the Black Lightning origin story #DontDebateMe).
REASON #5: YOU LOVE THE ARROWVERSE
It’s been over five years since Arrow premiered on The CW way back in 2012. Back then, it was a risky take on a relatively unknown character in a media space (network TV) many said just wouldn’t work for the superhero genre. Now, Arrow and the other DC superhero shows that have spun out of or crossed over into it are some of the most exciting and popular shows on television. And I can’t wait for Black Lightning to join the band!
Okay, okay, I know. This reason isn’t entirely fair. In fact, the Black Lightning showrunner recently seemed to confirm that Black Lightning WON’T be part of a shared universe. And maybe it won’t be.
But…BUT…they said the same thing about Supergirl and Constantine at one time. All I’m saying is that you never know, and it would be a pretty sweet turn of events to see Green Arrow, the Flash and the rest of the crew having to call Jefferson Pierce for aid down the line.
Alright guys and gals, now that you’ve seen my top 5, feel free to share what you’re most excited about with me in the comments section.
Make sure you tune in for the big premiere of Black Lightning, tonight at 9pm on The CW. And for more from me, swing by DCComics.com once it's aired to hear my thoughts on the pilot as part of the #DCTV Couch Club.