The CW is moving closer to being The DC TV channel, or perhaps All Things Berlanti. Maybe. You may recall back in the fall that Fox gave the green light to a Black Lightning TV series created by super-producer Greg Berlanti and husband and wife duo Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil. However, it looks like Fox is now reconsidering its jump into genre fare, and doesn’t want to become the geek channel — it already has Gotham and Lucifer, and will be adding an X-Men series from Matt Nix as well as some kind space opera from Seth McFarlane. Apparently, Black Lightning was just one supernatural show too many.
As such, Deadline is reporting that the series now seems poised to move over to The Berlanti Channel, a.k.a. The CW, where it would join its DC TV brethren (also produced by Berlanti) in The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow. All four of those series have done well, and Supergirl in particular — which itself moved from CBS last year — has been improved by its inclusion into this world. And even though The CW has doubled-down on Tuesday nights to pair The Flash and Legends back to back, if Black Lightning were to join the round-up it could potentially mean 5 superhero shows on the network — one for each weeknight.
For those who are unfamiliar, here’s how I summed up the gist of the series back when we first covered the news of its inception:
From what I can glean, Black Lightning’s powers are exactly what you would expect. He’s a metahuman who can control electro-magnetic fields around his body, and can use it to stun or even kill as necessary. He can also use it to launch projectiles, and it gives him limited flight abilities as well. In the comics, he’s helped re-start Superman’s heart, and has also honed his combat skills under Batman’s tutelage. So yeah, he sounds like a badass.
Pierce’s two daughters–Anissa a.k.a. Thunder, a member of the Outsiders, and Jennifer a.k.a. Lightning, recruited by the Justice Society of America–are also active vigilantes in the comics, and it looks like the TV series will be headed in the same direction.
If your first thought is that some of the current DC TV shows needs some attention before they throw another one into the mix, you are not alone. And would it be possible to do a 5-way crossover? As much as I loved the 4-way crossover, The CW has gotten better about doing mini-crossovers in the meantime that feel more effective. When you do a massive crossover, you’re basically reminding us of all of the narrative inconsistencies and weaknesses of these four shows. But in small moments like Oliver calling up Barry to prove to CCPD he’s the Green Arrow, or Stein and Jax dropping into 2017 to get coffee at Jitters, it proves an interconnectedness without it needing to become operatic. And crossovers between just two of the shows — like the upcoming Supergirl and The Flash musical — aren’t utilized enough anymore.
Getting back on track — what’s important is that Black Lightning would provide is another black superhero headlining their own show, and tell a superhero story from another perspective than what dominates the genre on TV right now. But when you do consider it as another genre series in general, it does feel like it’s entering an oversaturated market, especially on The CW where superheroes are proliferating. To the Arrow-verse’s credit, it has been adding in more diversity with its superheroes in Kid Flash, Guardian, and Vixen, but again, none headline their own live-action show, and that does make a difference.
Let us know your thoughts in the comics — should Black Lightning join the Berlanti-verse, or would it be better on a different network?