The CW and DC have become, in my opinion, the forerunners of Comic Books in television. With their hit shows Arrow and The Flash they just can't miss. And I have no doubts that Legends of Tomorrow will be a major hit. All three shows have great premises. Arrow with it’s dark and gritty fight against anarchy stories. The Flash and it's classic comic book storytelling approach. And what I surmise will be great science-fiction tales with Legends.
All three shows are also filled with an abundance of great characters that appeal to all audiences. The Flash caters to the geeky fanboys and girls the world around, while Arrow lends itself to the action packed marauders. Both shows have very strong female characters and have proven to be very diverse with their character ethnicities.
However, as a young African-American fan of comic books I feel that there's a step that could be taken further. So I would like to take this time to describe to you why Black Lightning needs to be made into a TV series and the perfect way to set it up.
As I mentioned before the current shows have diversity to them but as for African-American heroes go Diggle and Detective West can't do it all by themselves. And I know in this version Wally is gonna be black, but he won't be the Flash. And yes I am fully aware of the Vixen series, which is like the equivalent of agents of shield to the MCU, it's there but not really. This is a great opportunity to showcase some of DC's awesome Black SUPERHEROES by using their very first one. The show would have a strong message for young viewers about changing their circumstances and the choices they make in their lives. Flash is heavy on Fantasy and Arrow is more about realistic action. Black Lightning has the capability of being both. This show would also be a different take on crime fighting. Arrow fights big time assassins and villains whereas Flash is often fighting the supernatural and scientific. BL would be taking on gangs and crime lords, he could be like DC’s answer to Daredevil.
Another thing about him is he's a family man. Already married so less focus on love stories like Arrow and Flash. Not saying there won't be room for any. Unlike Diggle and Detective West he won't have prior experience to help him. He has to go through the journey of figuring out how to fight and were the line is drawn. Jefferson Pierce is a perfect role model for younger African-American viewers to look up to. I was introduced to his comics when I was a child. My parents wanted me to read Luke Cage who is a good hero too but Cage wasn't a good role model, At the time. It seemed like the only type of Black superheroes we had back then were either stereotypical blaxploitation characters like Luke Cage and Misty Knight or they were super dark like Spawn and Blade. Black Lightning was one of the few Black heroes to be positive and encouraging.
The best part is he will fit right into the DC/CW universe very well. All it takes is Rex Mason being introduced on this show then after that a crossover of epic proportions with Arrow. Let’s say there is some force that causes Oliver to reach out for help but he can't get to Barry so he reaches out to Roy, Tatsu and Ted Grant. Now you have a team consisting of Green Arrow, Speedy, Black Canary, Arsenal, Katana and Wildcat. Now let's just say that force brings Jefferson and his buddy Rex to Star City. Now you have all who were mentioned before plus Black Lightning and Metamorpho, you now have The Outsiders. You can have a superteam ripped from the comics and it not be a makeshift one. Granted Green Arrow would be taking the place of Batman, but let's be honest it won't be the first time that's been done on the show. Plus in the comics Green Arrow and Black Lightning have worked on a lot of missions together, he was even the one in the Justice League who fought the most to get BL on as member.
This is how i would envision the show. Just like Arrow and The Flash before it, the show should open with a short monologue by its main character. Something to the liking of…
“My name is Jefferson Pierce, after getting out of the slums of my neighborhood I vowed to return and help kids, giving them a better chance by becoming a teacher. But when I came home I learned things were worse than when I left. Now with the help of my childhood mentor and his invention I will clean up the slums and take my neighborhood back… I am Black Lightning!”
Synopsis of the show
Jefferson Pierce, a gold medal-winning Olympic decathlete, returns to his old neighborhood in the South Side section(The Slums) of Brick City, with his wife and his daughter, to become a teacher at Garfield High School. South Side is where his father, renowned journalist Alvin Pierce, had been murdered. Guilt over this event was a factor in his decision to leave Brick City. The Slums were being torn apart by a local organized criminal gang called the 100 and a crooked local politician named Tobias Whale. Peter Gambi, a family friend and inventor, had built a weapon to fight against the100 an electromagnetic power belt. Upon his return Gambi suggested to Jefferson that he should use his power belt to help the neighborhood. Forced by the public murder of Earl Clifford, one of his students, Pierce tried to intervene, but quickly learned that the 100 objected violently to any interference. So Pierce adopts the power belt and the costumed identity "Black Lightning".
What Arrow and The Flash has taught us is these shows are only as good as it's cast. For this show a cast could be made up of some great underutilized characters played by some pretty good actors.
Let's start with the main characters
Jefferson Pierce played by Orlando Jones
A gold medal-winning Olympian returned to his old neighborhood with his wife Lynn and his daughter Anissa, to become a teacher at Garfield High School. Enraged by the death of one of his students he decides to use a power belt created by his childhood mentor to fight crime. Jones would be a perfect fit, he has played many roles before where he was a teacher which is important for this character. His main goal is to show the kids of his neighborhood they can achieve anything. Also Sleepy Hollow fans will note that Jones is very capable when it comes to action scenes.
Lynn Stewart Pierce played by Golden Brooks
The younger sister to an ex-Marine Cop, Lynn is the tough as nails lawyer married to Jefferson. Before returning to Brick City she had taken time off to raise Anissa but now that she is back she has taken up politics in the city. She doesn't learn of her husband's secret hero activities until later in this series. Golden Brooks has always been a favorite actress of mine I've even modeled a Heroine of my own after her. She knows how to pull off intense moments on screen which would be important for the wife of a superhero.
Peter Gambi played by Timothy Hutton
Peter Gambi is an inventor though he works out of a hardware shop in the Slums. In his youth, he was a driver for a mob boss until he was reformed with the help of his friend Alvin Pierce. After Alvin’s death He became Jefferson's friend and mentor. When Pierce returns home Gambi convinces him to take up crime fighting using an electromagnetic belt that he designed. He is Pierce's first confidant in his war on the gangs. Hutton is the perfect choice for this role, he's good at playing leaders and mentors. He would be what Dr. Wells was for Barry in the first season of the flash.
Natasha Irons played by Brandy Norwood
Nat is the head mechanical engineer at her older brother John's company Steelworks. She dated Jefferson when they were in high school together but broke his heart when she was accepted into a prestigious Technical School. On her return back, wanting to rekindle their relationship, she learns that Pierce has moved on with another woman (Lynn). Somewhere in the series Peter needs help with the belt and goes to Natasha for assistance. Brandy is very talented actress but I will be honest the only reason I would want to see her in this role is because her brother Ray Jay technically played a different version of the same role in the movie Steel
Inspector Henderson played by Matt Dillon
Inspector William Henderson is the Policeman who gets most of the cases related to meta extra activities. A military man who went into law enforcement to make a difference. Dillon has always made a great cop in the movies he plays one in. Henderson has to be played by someone who can pull off that been around and know a thing or two attitude and harden by his experiences but still optimistic.
Now the recurring characters
Anissa Pierce played by Teala Dunn
The Pierce's teenage daughter. In the first season or two she isn't really relevant, but eventually she comes into her own like Miea on Arrow.
Karen Beecher played by Regine Nehy
Karen is one of Jeff’s recurring students who is very smart and obsessed with entomology. Eventually she becomes Bumblebee.
Lucas Carr played by Ross Lynch
Lucas is also one of Jeff's recurring students, he is the first person outside of Peter to learn about Jefferson’s altr ego
Arnold Duncan played by Marc John Jefferies
Arnold is one of Jeff's recurring students and a talented musician. Later in the series he becomes The Herald.
Rex Mason played by Adam Baldwin
The appointed CEO of Stagg Enterprises, after Simon Stagg was reported missing. He is also Simon's son-in-law married to Simon’s daughter Sapphire. He is close friends with his old Olympic bubby Jefferson Pierce. Some where in the show Rex will be in an accident that turns him into Metamorpho. I feel that Baldwin would be good for this role for two reasons, he knows how to play that reluctant hero part and he has also played the character before in Beware of the Batman.
John Henry Irons played by D.B. Woodside
The older brother to Nat and CEO and founder of Steelworks. Henry was a football star at Garfield and went on to join the Army then MIT. Irons was a brilliant weapons engineer for AmerTek Industries, he eventually became disgusted when a weapon he had designed fell into the wrong hands and was used to kill innocent people. Since then Irons left AmerTek and devoted his life to engineering devices to service mankind. Woodside is Irons anyone who has seen any of his movies will agree.
And of course VILLAINS
Tobias Whale played by Joseph “Fat Joe” Cartagena
Tobias Whale grew up in the Slums. He worked his way up from the rackets to being a Brick City councilman but is secretly the leader of the 100s. I know Joe isn't an albino and he really isn't all that fat anymore. But the thing is Amanda Waller isn't portrayed as fat nowadays and although Joe isn't as big as he used to be he still has that huge presence.
Josephine “Joey” Toledo played by Keesha Sharp
Joey is Tobias’s second in command, she handles most of the gang related activity so to keep up Tobias's appearance.
Johnny "Stitches" Denetto
Johnny is another general for Whale. Johnny is a serial rapist who cuts women up when he's done with them. Something Tobias has no tolerance for but still has use for Johnny’s steady hands.
An inner city gang made up of thugs and assassins specializing in different specialties and abilities.
Members of the 100
Demetrius Shaw AKA Painkiller
Shaw is a pharmacologist who specializes in narcotics and torture. He would differ from his comic book counterpart by not being a Metahuman and I would have him look different to better fit the role.
Walker is an everyman who knows how to blend into a crowd. This is useful to Tobias for intelligence gathering. Also not a Metahuman unlike his comic book self.
Kil Blackwell AKA Warhog
an ammunitions specialist.
Ned Creegan AKA Meltdown
was a small time thief suffering from cancer. He was in Central City for chemotherapy when the particle accelerator exploded giving him radioactive Metahuman abilities.
a street thug and enforcer who eventually loses his hand and has it replaced by a steel prosthetic one.
Well there you have it I have way more details that I have. I'll write more if people are interested to hear them. I hope you enjoyed.