It’s official! As Variety reports, after Fox gave up on the title, Black Lightning will now indeed be heading to The CW with a pilot order to join the network’s stable of DC programs. The rumors of The CW and Producer Almighty Greg Berlanti looking to secure the title in the same grouping as The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow started Thursday and by mid-day Friday, the news was out. Another rumor that’s circulating is that the show’s pilot will begin filming in March for an assumed bow with the Fall TV flood. Only time will tell, of course.
Considering the fact that black characters tend to show up exclusively in supporting roles on the DC’s programs, whether it be Candice Patton‘s Iris or Mehcad Brooks‘ James Olsen (AKA The Guardian), this news is a welcome break from the norm. As 2016 revealed a revitalized interest in movies about the black American experience, whether in Moonlight, 13th, O.J.: Made in America, I Am Not Your Negro, The Fits, or Hidden Figures, it now looks like it’s time to make that true of TV. Now, of course, there are already plenty of popular shows led by largely black casts but these shows have been made in established forms like sitcoms, soap operas, and rigid procedural dramas.
Elsewhere, more ambitious fare like Luke Cage and Queen Sugar have had a hard time getting their feet on solid ground due to lack of dramatic balance in the writing and too-safe direction. Black Lightning will likely fit into the same general formula as its ilk on The CW, which means a lot of focus on the writing and nothing but efficiency in the direction. And to be honest, I’m fine with that…for now. Those who know the DC title will know that Black Lightning tends to encounter many other heroes from the DC universe, including a particularly furious run-in with Jimmy Olsen that brought the character into conflict with Superman. He’s also proven to be a solid friend and colleague to Batman, so there’s plenty to play with here and a crossover with any of the other shows should prove easy enough. The question of whether or not these shows will ever take a risk or, for lack of a better phrase, grow up has yet to be seen but one can always hold out hope for Black Lightning in this particular situation.