Thursday, January 25, 2018

Black Lightning first impressions

The CW's new superhero show "Black Lightning" is clearly an attempt to leverage the popularity of Luke Cage.

Fortunately, they haven't made it a cheap ripoff in which they cut corners counting on that audience.

The premier was better than current episodes of Arrow - which is admittedly the weak link in the CW DCU. The unusual (possibly unprecedented in superhero TV, can somebody correct me if I'm wrong) choice to focus on an older hero coming out of retirement makes for a different dynamic from the other shows, particularly Flash and Supergirl (which tend to be youth-focused), and is likely to make the show interesting to older fans.

The acting and writing both appear to be solid - although it is (sadly, and saying unfortunate things) initially a little odd to be watching a TV show where the normal ratio of black to white is literally reversed. It's awesome, but to the white girl who grew up in a town with not one black person in reminds me that I still need to work on a few things.

The one quibble I do have:

The writers would clearly love to have both their black people and their racist white people talk more realistically.

As in, they would like to be able to use the n-word.

Not being allowed to do so, they're trying to write in a way that causes the audience to hear that word, resulting in awkwardness like "I didn't think you were that kind of black person."

Ugh, please, no.

It would be better in many ways if they were allowed to use it. As they aren't...they should write it a little "whiter". (It sounded like it took several takes to get the actor to not automatically use the word). It kind of sucks, and maybe I'll get used to it, but it threw me out of things a little.

Overall, though, looks like a solid addition to the CWDC lineup. I'd love to hear from somebody who's watching both it and Luke Cage about how the shows compare.