Black Lightning: Season 1 (DVD) – Series Review
Follow Genre: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi
Distributor: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
Episodes: 13
Duration: 40 min (per episode)

Black Lightning: Season 1 (DVD) – Series Review

Site Score
6.2
Good: Topical, Original
Bad: Thematic issues are being portrayed in a horrible fashion, Costumes, A bit dull at times
User Score
4.0
(5 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 4.0/10 (5 votes cast)

There is no denying that Black Panther was a huge success, not only because of its stellar cast and the fancy costumes used, but also because a movie with a nearly all black cast made it to the big screen in a series that is often dominated by white leading roles. The superhero franchise thrived even more because of it, and with the ever changing rules of how to be inclusive, it seemed things were finally starting to change on the Hollywood landscape. This brings us to Black Lightning, a series that works with the same premise, namely a black superhero that deals with a lot of the struggles black people have to go through in many areas of the world. While the idea was certainly on point, we received a lot of food for thought, but not always the right kind, in our humble opinion.

Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams) tries to run a tight ship at his school, trying to give everyone the chances they need to become successful in life, and not to succumb to the many temptations that are currently rampaging through Freeland. The city is somewhat infected with gangs, drugs and violence, making it so that many of Jefferson’s students have been confronted with it one way or another. Jefferson tries to apply the same principles when taking care of his two daughters, Anissa (Nafessa Williams) and Jennifer (China Anne McClain). It’s clear he also still cares a lot for his ex-wife Lynn (Christine Adams), who is still actively involved in raising the kids. Sadly, the family broke apart because Jefferson used to be known as the Black Lightning, a vigilante that kept the streets of Freeland somewhat cleaner. Jefferson has developed special powers over the years, allowing him to conduct electricity and thus fry his opponents if necessary. Due to the strain on his relation with his family, he seized to be the superhero the city needed, in order to redeem himself with his (ex-)wife and hopefully keeping his children safe without them ever knowing about his past.

Sadly, fate is a whimsical creature and forces Jefferson back in the saddle of becoming Black Lightning once again when both his daughters get kidnapped by a local gang member. He is successful in rescuing his daughters and even though he wishes to quite his role as vigilante once again, the corruption roaming the streets of Freeland makes him decide otherwise.

The flow of the series follows a fairly standard pattern which is common in series such as this, pretty much like The Flash, Arrow, and so on. You’ll often have one specific topic or case that’s being handled per episode, with the red thread running through all that is going on. In this case it’s the revival of Black Lightning. Overall the format works, but in many cases, even with a short season in place, it feels as if things could have gone a bit faster during the first half of the season. Somehow we got the impression that most key moments were crammed in the second half of the season, making said portion of the series a lot more interesting than its first episodes.

It’s clear that the series wants to tackle issues with the black community and how they are often perceived by the rest of the population and to a certain extent it does work. You’ll see loving communities and a certain sense of brotherhood and people that truly want to be ‘better’ than they’re often portrayed. On the other hand, even with the black leading cast in place, we get some mixed feelings that many of the members of the community choose to live shitty lives and murder each other and want to keep playing the blame game, instead of working like the rest of the world. This makes the series somewhat annoying to watch, not because some, or many, items may be true, but because it tries to get a sympathy vote, but eventually makes things worse than they originally were in the perception of many. The overall appeal is there, but it gets hampered by poor choices and terrible costume design.

Even though the above might sound quite negative, the show’s quality is exponentially boosted by its cast. Cress Williams is a great leading actor, and his presence truly makes the series. He is a great superhero, even if at times it’s a very hesitant one. China Anne McClain and Nafessa Williams play the family’s daughters, who are the perfect opposites, with one trying to save the world, and the other trying to conquer it, simply to have a normal life. Christine Adams plays the role of a fairly annoying mother, which is actually sad, as her character could have been a lot more interesting than it currently is. On the wicked side of the fence, there is Marvin ‘Krondon’ Jones III, who plays the role of the villain superbly. The rest of the supporting cast, or more important characters, also do a great job in bringing their personas alive.

The extras on the DVD edition of the first season of Black Lightning aren’t all that impressive. The special features range from the well-known deleted scenes, the gag reel and the comic-con panel that always come with series such as this, to more relevant and thematic features about the black community and certain real life events that were edited for the series.

Conclusion

Black Lightning: Season 1 will certainly be interesting for fans of series such as The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl and also series that are a bit less lighthearted such as the Netflix Marvel series. You’ll be treated to an interesting cast, with a decent plot to work with, but the thematic issues that are addressed in the series will become quite tedious before the first season’s credits start to roll. The latter makes the first season a lot more annoying than it could have been, and in combination with the very shitty special effects and costumes we can’t help but wonder if the second season is able to redeem the series and make it into something it could have easily been: better.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 4.0/10 (5 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Black Lightning: Season 1 (DVD) - Series Review, 4.0 out of 10 based on 5 ratings
Ibuki
Ibuki


Aspiring ninja.

No Comments

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.