“Always bet on black!” said Wesley Snipes in the 1992 action flick ‘Passenger 57’ and it holds true all these decades later when it comes to superhero movies. ‘Black Panther’ broke records when it came to presales for Marvel Studios movies and now ‘Black Lightning’ had the highest premiere on The CW in two years.
‘Black Lightning”s ratings, 0.8 in adults 18-49, equal to 2.3 million viewers, the highest debut for the network since 2016, when ‘Legends of Tomorrow’ premiered to a 1.2 rating and 3.2 million viewers. ‘Black Lightning’ retained all of its lead-in numbers from ‘The Flash’ (The CW’s highest-rated series) and 90% of total viewers. ‘The Flash’ airs at 8pm EST on Tuesday nights and ‘Black Lightning’ follows at 9pm. While The CW always trails the bigger networks, ‘Black Lightning’ performed well enough to tie CBS, which aired only repeats this week. The ‘Black Lightning’ debut numbers equal those of the Season Two premiere of ‘Riverdale’.
While ‘Black Lightning’, created by Salim and Mara Brock Akil, is based on a DC Comics concept, it is not connected to the existing Arrowverse, consisting of ‘The Flash’, ‘Arrow’, ‘Legends of Tomorrow’ and ‘Supergirl’ although the creators are open to crossing over in the future.
‘Black Lightning’ is also The CW’s first series with a black lead, Cress Williams. (In fact, the majority of the cast is black.) This also marks the first black-led live action superhero show on network TV and as costar Nafessa Williams pointed out, there is another milestone:
— Nafessa Williams (@NafessaWilliams) January 2, 2018
Yes, her character Anissa is a black lesbian who also adopts a super identity as Thunder. Prior to the release of the pilot, Williams said:
“I’m really proud to tell the story of a young lesbian on TV. Not only will young girls get inspired, but (it will) also impact how parents accept a gay daughter of theirs.”
Did you catch the premier of ‘Black Lightning’? What do you think? Are you looking forward to more adventures with the Pierce family?
‘Black Lightning’ airs on The CW at 9pm EST on Tuesday nights.