Black Lightning is just such a good show. I just finished the season 3 finale and it left me so content and happy that this show exists. The Flash is my OG Arrowverse love, but Black Lightning is just on another level. I know Crisis brought him and his into the fold, but I still feel like the show operates in a completely different way. It’s such a unique show we get to watch, and I don’t just mean because the cast predominantly black (but yes, that is absolutely part of it).
Firstly, since we’re talking superheros, I think Black Lightning has some of, if not the best fight choreography on broadcast TV. And it’s up there in general as well. I’d especially point you to every fight Blackbird ever gets into. Or really any time Anissa fights not as Thunder. These scenes are incredible. This show’s fight and stunt team (according to IMBD lead up by David Conk and Danny Le Boyer, respectively) is some of the best in the business. I’ve been convinced. This is especially impressive to me because these characters have superpowers. That’s usually an easy way to just lean on CGI and intense starting. They do not.
Secondly, I absolutely love Pierce family unit. Their love and respect for each can seem corny sometimes sure, but it always feel real. Perhaps not in the superhero arena, but the CW is known for killing off parents or making them distant or unlikeable in order to “free” up the younger protagonists to do things no average teenager in their situation would be able to do. The Pierce family is blended (adopted father in Gambi) and broken (Jefferson and Lynn being divorced), but it is still so strong. “Heartfelt family drama” is a genre I always joke about wanting to barf when being exposed to it, but when it’s mixed in with some great action and fine commentary, I find it more than palatable. It’s uplifting.
Thirdly, now this is something kind of ridiculous, especially if you haven’t experienced it, but I’m black and I was raised in a rural town where my sister and I were two of only 4 black students in the school system. My parents divorced when I was a baby and I was predominantly raised by white mother and stepfather. I loved being black, I was weirdly obsessed with it to be honest, but I didn’t get a lot of exposure to black people, so when I was little, whenever any black character was on TV, they were instantly my favorite character. To an absurd degree. Didn’t matter what their backstory or current story was. I liked them. I didn’t have a lot of characters to choose from. I didn’t expect more black people, I rarely saw them in my real life so why would they be on screen, but whenever they popped up I would just get so happy. I couldn’t get enough of Static Shock. Cyborg was the coolest guy on Teen Titans – until Bumblebee turned up. Then I was just waiting and waiting for a Titans East spin-off (still waiting).
I’m a little more critically minded now, I know companies like to throw in diversity to appease people like me, but I still get excited when it’s done right. When I first saw the promo for Black Lightning, I was worried it was gonna be too “in-you-face black”, that it would be preachy and alienating. Not just to white people, but to black people like me who grew up around white people and being told by their white peers that they weren’t black enough. But no. Black Lightning is definitely in your face (the opening scene involves a respected member of the community being pulled over and humiliated by a white police officer) and sure, it might make some people uncomfortable, but it’s not too much. It’s just the right amount mixed in with some great action and world building.
I could go on and on about this. I actually planned to go on about the world building and how great a setting Freeland is and how I hope next season it can go back to being a normal city, but I went on a bit long already, so I’ll tie this up: I love that Jefferson is a superhero that came out of retirement, I love the whole arc Khalil has been going through (even though those dreads were a hot mess), I love love LOVE that sign language was thrown in there, I love the understanding the leads eventually come to whenever one of their own makes a mistake. I love that it deals with blackness in a way I unfortunately don’t really see in DC comics (no matter how many times I try to read new Cyborg stories…) Finally, I love the choreography (honestly it’s probably one of my favorite things about the show, thus being #1 on this list).
So how about anybody else? I don’t see much chatter about Black Lightning or the Pierces on DCUniverse. Any fans out there? Anybody who’s been meaning to give it a watch? Anybody tried it and decided it wasn’t for them? Let me know! I don’t know anybody IRL who watches it so it’d be nice to have chat Or hey, even if you got some comic recommendations this post or the show made you think of, I’m always looking for more to read – especially in this COVID-19 world where I’m stuck working remote and all city events have been cancelled. I’ve got plenty of time (and maybe so do you to binge Black Lightning on Netflix!)