Yet another DC superhero may be coming to television in a live action drama, under the guidance of Greg Berlanti, Mara Brock Akil and her husband Salim Akil– Black Lightning! The Akils wrote the script for the pilot. The show is being produced by Warner Bros TV and studio-based Berlanti Productions and Akil Productions.
Black Lightning centers on Jefferson Pierce. He made his choice: he hung up the suit and his secret identity years ago, but with a daughter hell-bent on justice and a star student being recruited by a local gang, he’ll be pulled back into the fight as the wanted vigilante and DC legend Black Lightning.
Black Lightning was the first black DC superhero to have his own comic book, which unfortunately didn’t last very long. But the character has resurfaced as a member of Batman & The Outsiders and the Justice League and has appeared in one-shots and miniseries.
The summary mentions his two daughters. In the comics, he has two teenage daughters Anissa who is the superhero Thunder and Jennifer who works as Lightning. Like her father, Lightning has electrical powers, but Thunder has the power to create tremors by stomping the ground. Anissa is a lesbian and her girlfriend is Grace Choi. Both were members of a version of The Outsiders, while Lightning joined the Justice Society of America.
Black Lightning and much younger versions of Thunder and Lightning appeared in animated shorts as part of Cartoon Network’s defunct DC Nation programming block. Black Lightning has also appeared in numerous other animated projects, while Thunder and Lightning appear as background characters in the ‘DC Super Hero Girls’ animated shorts.
Berlanti and the Akils are shopping the show around to various networks, which means that it does not look to be joining the current CW lineup, which consists of ‘Supergirl’, ‘The Flash’, ‘Arrow’ and ‘Legends of Tomorrow’, all of which Berlanti executive produces. It WOULD have given The CW a solid week of DC programming, but Friday night is basically a low-ratings wasteland– not the best spot to launch a new show.
In addition to the DC shows, Berlanti is also exec producing ‘Riverdale’, also for The CW.
Mara Brock Akil created the drama ‘The Game’ as well as current hit ‘Being Mary Jane’, both of which are air on BET. She also created the long-running sitcom ‘Girlfriends’ and has written for ‘Cougar Town’, ‘The Jamie Foxx Show’ and ‘Moesha’ and produced the TV movie ‘Sparkle’, which Salim Akil directed.
Salim is also a producer on ‘The Game’ and ‘Being Mary Jane’. He has written and directed several episodes of both, in addition to working on ‘Girlfriends’ and ‘Soul Food’. He directed and executive produced the TV movie ‘The Start Up’.
Sarah Schechter joins in as executive producer. Schechter also co-executive produces all four DC shows on The CW, ‘Riverdale’, ‘Blindspot’ and ‘The Mysteries of Laura’.
Reportedly, the ‘Black Lightning’ TV show has been in development for over a year at WBTV, so hopefully whatever Berlanti and the Akils have cooked up will e worth the wait.
One sad aside, though, is this news would seemingly indicate that Black Lightning will not be part of the cinematic universe anytime soon.
What do you think? Does a ‘Black Lightning’ TV series sound interesting to you? Or does the fact that it was most likely be a stand-alone project unaffiliated with The CW shows make you less intrigued?