Superheroes are not just dominating cinema, they are taking over the small screen, too. Apart from Marvel’s collection of Hell’s Kitchen characters assembling on Netflix, we have the DC-verse on The CW, courtesy of powerhouse producer, Greg Berlanti. Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl have all proven to be giant successes, and the DC TV guru will be hoping for the same result for his next project – Black Lightning.
The show will be created, written and executive produced by Mara Brock Akil (Being Mary Jane), and her writer/director/producer husband, Salim Akil. It tells the tale of Jefferson Pierce – one of DC’s first high profile African-American superheroes – who arrived on the pages of DC comic books in 1977, created by Tony Isabella and Trevor Von Eeden.
Pierce is an Olympic athlete who returns to his Metropolis neighbourhood to find it terrorized by an organized criminal gang, named The 100. A former mentor encourages Pierce to use his natural metahuman abilities to save the neighbourhood, leading to a number of incidents involving Pierce generating and manipulating bio-electric fields to combat the criminals.
What’s notable about Black Lightning is that he has two daughters – Anissa and Jennifer – both of whom eventually become superheroes in their own right, as a result of their father’s exploits. This means that the television show soon to be produced by Berlanti and the Akils has the potential to feature very well delivered female characters that are central to the narrative.
For his part, in terms of onscreen depictions, Black Lightning has only been adapted into animation to date – so this drama series will be groundbreaking in its treatment of the character. The newly formed producing partnership is currently pitching the project to networks, and there is no indication yet as to who might fill the titular role. With such a hot property as its subject matter, however, we should expect further developments to be announced soon.