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Shocking! Black Lightning in the News

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The Science Behind 'Black Lightning' - from Inverse.com, a 'Science and Chill' video.

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While they aren’t trained in karate, several species of fish share Black Lightning’s ability to conduct electricity and electrocute their enemies. Electric catfish, eels, and rays are just a few species who possess this power. Some fish can produce charges of up to 800 volts. That’s more voltage than the third rail of New York City’s subway system.

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TVLine talked to Cress Williams;

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Williams fronts the series as Jefferson Pierce, a high school principal who years ago retired from fighting crime as the electrically empowered Black Lightning. Christine Adams (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) plays ex-wife Lynn, while Nafessa Williams (Code Black) and China Anne McClain (Descendants 2) round out the splintered-but-strong Pierce family, as daughters Anissa and Jennifer. The cast also includes James Remar (Sex and the City) as Peter Gambi aka Jefferson’s confidant/Black Lightning’s “support team,” Damon Gupton (Bates Motel) as Freeland police inspector Henderson, and actor/hip hop artist Marvin “Krondon” Jones III as the villainous Tobias Whale.

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Christine Adams "Lynn Pierce" Interview: she talks about Lynn, as well as her relationship with Jefferson.

Edited by Trini

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'DC Comics explore the many shades of heroism at inaugural DC in D.C. event' -- about the Many Shades of Heroism panel this weekend:

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All of the panels provided rich discussion and fascinating insights, but—for me—the highlight of the event came in the middle of the day. "The Many Shades of Heroism: DC Heroes through the African-American Lens" assembled a stunning roster of talent that should make any company jealous.

A mere hour wasn't enough time to fully explore the topics that came up, and with 10 wonderfully talented people seated on stage, it was—as many panels are—tantalizingly brief. It could have easily lasted another hour, and it still wouldn't have been enough time.

The marquee event of the weekend was the premiere of Black Lightning, and Salim Akil, co-executive producer of the show (along with his wife, Mara Brock Akil), recognized the influence language has over the conversation when it comes to representation. Even though discussion about Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning will inevitably lead to the term African-American superhero, it's important to use the term judiciously. Take African out of the equation and what's left is no less true.

Yes, the character is an African-American and yes, the show will portray black culture in the United States, but it also depicts a man who loves his family and children and just wants to do right by the people around him.

Akil confessed, "He's the better part of me. He's who I aspire to be. He's a proud black man who's proud of who he is."

...

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More reviews/previews:

TV Insider; some producer quotes:

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“Of course he’s grappling with the question of whether he should become Black Lightning again,” says Akil, who drew inspiration for Pierce’s journey from both Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. “He’s certainly a peaceful man and he wants to stay peaceful, but for how long? How long can you allow things to get out of hand before you have to take on the mind-set of Malcolm and say, ‘We’ve got to do something for ourselves’?”

Hollywood Reporter:

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In familiar comic book fashion, the first season of Black Lightning is set up as the battle for the heart of a city, and like Netflix's Luke Cage, the use of a predominantly African-American urban space for commentary on gentrification, community organizing and tense relationships between law enforcement and civilians. The series is driven by some solid action scenes, a bass-pumping soundtrack, stylish treatment of Black Lightning's sizzling powers and character pragmatism.

Jefferson is constantly wondering whether he does more good in a suit beating up hoodlums or in the hallways at Garfield High inspiring pupils. He knows that being Black Lightning jeopardizes his chances for reconciliation with his ex and puts his girls at risk. He also knows that whatever his powers might be, he's getting too old to be brawling with young punks.

It's a wonderful thing that, familiar as D'Shawn Hardell on Beverly Hills 90210 and Lavon Hayes on Hart of Dixie, Williams is getting the chance at 47 to play a character who kicks ass, quotes Martin Luther King Jr., raises two daughters and gets to turn the head of every other woman onscreen. He's never lacked for charisma and his physicality has always been central to his performances, and he slides effortlessly into what is a meaty star turn. Williams and Remar make the most of their dynamic, an amusing inversion of minority sidekick conventions, and I look forward to getting a better sense of the Black Lightning/Gambi partnership.

A.V. Club:

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But the Akils’ thoughtful characterization doesn’t slow down any of the action—this is a comic book show, after all. There are plenty of kinetic fights and droll one-liners, which Williams delivers with aplomb. The Living Single and ER alum looks every bit the hero whether his bespoke suit is spandex or a three-piece. Williams’ portrayal of this conflicted hero, who feels he’s given both everything and not enough to maintaining peace in his hometown, is already head and shoulders above his CW brethren. There’s a playfulness and gravity to his performance that helps makes the case for older superheroes in the network’s young and chiseled lineup. Not that Williams or Black Lightning is any less vibrant or telegenic than the other CW shows; it’s just a kind of “grown sexy,” which instantly has viewers ’shipping a couple of divorcees.

NY TImes:

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In the first two episodes, “Black Lightning” is suffused with the ideas of Black Lives Matter, though it comes at them from an angle. The pilot, for instance, involves street protests, not against police brutality but against gang violence. But the parallel images are unmistakable, as is the use of smartphone video by ordinary citizens, in both episodes, as a means of fighting back. ...

The superhero who must hide his nature from the authorities is old hat in comics. So are arguments over vigilantism and the limits of nonviolence. But the context of “Black Lightning” is everything. Here, the image — a powerful black man quelling his emotion and struggling to present as calm, smaller, nonthreatening — has the strength of parable.

The weakest part of the show so far is the actual superheroism. The One Hundred’s members are thinly sketched, and they make paltry competition for an armored superguy who shoots lightning from his fingertips.

LA Times:

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The potential for “Black Lightning” to be heavy-handed yet shallow was high, because it tackles complex issues of race and power on the same platform that gave us “Riverdale.”

Though “Black Lightning” employs a similar formula as the latter — tucking topical allegories inside larger, action-packed narratives about family dynamics and high-school life — the stakes are higher here in wake of #BlackLivesMatter and the rise of white nationalism.

“Black Lightning” successfully walks the line between advocacy and entertainment thanks to deft storytelling and a sense of when to be obvious and when to pull back.

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Preview and interview quotes from a set visit at The Root: Let’s Get Lit: 'Black Lightning Is the Superhero Show for the Trump Era'

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He talked about the crime in Black Lightning’s Freeland being based on his hometown of Richmond, Va. (which has had a top 10 murder rate for the last 20 years). He talked about a showing a new kind of black masculinity on-screen, the kind that is usually suppressed in the sci-fi and fantasy genres.

“In so many shows, the black man NEVER gets the woman … it’s like he doesn’t have a PENIS!” Akil said, talking about how Jefferson Pierce was going to be a three-dimensional character with love, sexiness and action. I knew I was going to see something new. Turns out I was right.

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Ratings reports:

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The CW continues its streak of strong midseason launches. The network’s newest DC series, Black Lightning, debuted last night to 2.3 million viewers and a 0.8 rating in adults 18-49 (Live+same day). It held 100% of its The Flash lead-in in both 18-49 and 18-34 (0.6).

This was the CW’s highest rated new series premiere in two years, since another DC midseason entry, Legends of Tomorrow. It was +34% ahead of last season’s midseason debut of Riverdale in total viewers and +33% in A18-49 (0.8/3). Black Lightning also was up significantly from the last new series premiere in the post-Flash Tuesday 9 PM slot, No Tomorrow, ...

http://deadline.com/2018/01/black-lightning-premiere-ratings-lethal-weapon-chicago-med-season-high-1202244659/

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“Black Lightning” premiered to very solid ratings for The CW Tuesday night.

The show scored a 0.8 rating among adults 18-49, retaining all of its lead-in from “The Flash.” Aside from the “Legends of Tomorrow” crossover episode in late November, it was the best rating for The CW in the time period this season, and the highest-rated series debut on The CW since “Legends” in January 2016.

http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/daily-ratings/tv-ratings-tuesday-jan-16-2018/

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Episode 2 ratings reports:

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Black Lightning (1.94 mil/0.6) slipped 17 and 25 percent in Week 2, but is still just ahead of Legends‘ fall average....

http://tvline.com/2018/01/24/bull-ratings-season-2-episode-13/

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Episode 2 of “Black Lightning” put up more solid ratings for The CW. Its 0.6 was down two tenths of a point from its premiere but is still a little bit ahead of the average for “Legends of Tomorrow” earlier this season.

http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/daily-ratings/tv-ratings-tuesday-jan-23-2018/

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CW’s Black Lightning (0.6, 1.942M) showed promise in Week 2, dipping couple tenths (0.6 vs. 0.8) off premiere, but finishing 9 PM within 0.1 of its lead-in, which was CW’s top series, The Flash (0.7, 2.071M). With Tuesday’s results, Black Lightning ranks No. 2 among CW series this season.

http://deadline.com/2018/01/this-is-us-wins-ratings-jack-death-bull-season-high-black-lightning-steady-tv-ratings-1202268222/

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Now with 2 weeks of ratings info, I think we might be getting news about which shows are renewed soon.

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So every other broadcast network except CW will be airing the State of the Union Address Tuesday at 9pm. That may not negatively affect ratings, however.

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'Cast Magic' featurette:

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2 hours ago, Trini said:

So every other broadcast network except CW will be airing the State of the Union Address Tuesday at 9pm. That may not negatively affect ratings, however.

I doubt it will affect the ratings that much.  Figure most of the Black Lightning audience are either African-Americans and/or young people who like superhero stuff.  Which would they prefer, Jefferson Pierce kicking bad guy ass or Donald Trump talking out of his ass?  Jefferson Pierce by a Yuuggge margin, obviously.

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'Black Lightning star previews Tobias Whale's growing anxiety, Lady Eve's debut'

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“Tobias Whale is in a state of shock right now,” Jones tells EW. “He has been in a state of comfort knowing that Black Lightning is gone and that he’s in the position in the underworld he’s in and able to rule the One Hundred the way that he has with an ironclad [fist]. Now, it’s a thing where you think you’ve cleaned the spilled milk, but there’s still a little bit there, and you don’t want to slip on it in the kitchen in the middle of the night. [There’s] a little bit of anxiety.”

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“She is, for now, the only woman that has a closeness with Tobias,” says Jones, who says she’s somewhat motherly toward him. “Tobias Whale has an affinity and such a respect level for women. Lady Eve being a woman of power on the side of the underworld, he gives her and allows her a playing field of authority [over him]. He deals with his own issues with that, if you continue to watch.

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Live+3 ratings for the week of January 15-21:

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Outside the top 25, the premiere of “Black Lightning” grew from 0.8 to 1.2 in adults 18-49 and from 2.31 million to 3.28 million total viewers.

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As the Big 4 cut to SOTU coverage from 9 – 11 PM on Tuesday, the CW stuck to its superhero series for the most part. Looks like it was strong counterprogramming as the Scarlett Speedster and the Cress Williams led newbie were rewarded with a 29% and 33% respectively jump from last week among adults 18-49s. ...

http://deadline.com/2018/01/state-of-the-union-tv-ratings-donald-trump-barack-obama-1202274787/

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... Black Lightning (2.2 mil/0.8) is currently up 17 percent and two tenths, matching its premiere rating.

http://tvline.com/2018/01/31/president-trump-state-of-the-union-ratings-2018/

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Great Seth Meyers interview with Nafessa and China. There is a spoiler for later in the season—skip 3:50-3:57 if you don't want to know.

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Interview with Marvin Jones III (Tobias) at TVLine:

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TVLINE | Tell me about the audition process for this show, how this role came to be yours.

I was working on an album with an artist by the name of Evidence from [the hip hop group] Dilated Peoples, who has been a great collaborator for years. People actually reached out to him, and to another friend of mine, and a friend of his… they were looking for me, and not necessarily to give me the part. When I received the script and read it and did some homework on Tobias Whale and his backstory, I immediately felt like, “OK, I really should play this guy.” This really spoke to me  to my spirit, my look, everything.

The first audition, I felt, went great. I went in there prepared. By the grace of God I got a callback, and this time they wanted to see me in a suit. [Chuckles] So I put my best foot forward in that way and auditioned again, and I got another callback. Next thing you know, I’m auditioning in front of [showrunners] Mara and Salim Akil, which at that point was nerve-wracking! But at the same time it was affirming. A couple weeks later, I got the job — and my life flipped upside-down on that day.

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This cast is adorable!

 

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The Black Lightning cast visited the original Ben’s Chili Bowl, a historic African-American landmark in Washington, D.C.

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Episode 4 ratings:

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“Black Lightning” (0.6) ... dipped by two tenths

http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/daily-ratings/tv-ratings-tuesday-feb-6-2018/

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The CW did not see anything going up as The Flash (0.8/3) and Black Lightning (0.6/2) declined a tenth and two-tenths respectively from their State of the Union counterprogramming of last week.

http://deadline.com/2018/02/this-is-us-ratings-super-bowl-l1-record-bull-flash-blackish-nbc-1202280274/

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Episode 5 ratings:

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Tuesday’s only other fresh fare, The CW’s Black Lightning (1.78 mil/0.5), dipped 5 percent and a tenth, to new lows.

http://tvline.com/2018/02/14/pyeongchang-winter-olympics-ratings-halfpipe-shaun-white/

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“Black Lightning” drew a 0.5 rating in adults 18-49, off a tenth of a point from last week. That’s a season low, but given the circumstances it’s a pretty solid performance for the show.

http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/daily-ratings/tv-ratings-tuesday-feb-13-2018/

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Also there's no new episode next week.

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Article reviewing the show so far, from The Atlantic: 'In Black Lightning, There’s No Right Way to Fix a City'

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Black Lightning, like all superhero shows, is about many things at once. It’s about the dynamics within the Pierce family; about Jefferson’s old nemesis Tobias Whale (Marvin Jones III) seeking revenge after learning Black Lightning is alive; about the Pierce daughters’ budding relationships with their respective partners; about a young woman coming to terms with her mysterious abilities. And this means that, like all superhero shows, it can sometimes feel too crowded or uneven. But Black Lightning’s greatest success so far is how it has surveyed the different ways black people tackle problems in their own backyards. Viewers see Henderson putting his faith in his own police department, Reverend Holt (Clifton Powell) organizing a march, and a Garfield High student, Khalil (Jordan Calloway), hoping to use sports as his way out, until violence jeopardizes that, too. And Jefferson is somewhere in the middle of it all, unsure of the right approach but knowing something has to be done.

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Black Lightning at WonderCon, March 23-25: http://www.thefutoncritic.com/news/2018/02/28/warner-bros-television-announces-wondercon-2018-schedule-100212/20180228wbt01/

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Stars and producers scheduled to attend WonderCon 2018 include:

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· Black Lightning executive producer/showrunner Salim Akil with series writers Jan Nash, Pat Charles, Adam Giaudrone and Lamont Magee.

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Sunday, March 25

12:45-1:45 p.m. Black Lightning All-New Episode and Q&A - ...

Join series producers and writers to watch the electrifying never-before-seen "Sins of the Father" episode of Black Lightning, followed by a Q&A session. ...

Room: Arena

"Sins of the Father" is probably episode 10.

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Talent Appearances & Signings: Visiting talent from both WBTV and DC Entertainment will stop by to meet fans and sign autographs. The cast from WBTV’s Black Lightning are currently schedule to attend, alongside noted DC writers and artists including DC Publisher Jim Lee (Batman: Hush), Frank Miller (The Dark Knight Returns, Batman: Year One), Brian Michael Bendis (Action Comics #1000, Man of Steel) and Dan Jurgens (The Death of Superman, Action Comics).

Tickets will be available on Eventbrite starting Friday, March 2.

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‘Black Lightning’ Star Cress Williams on the ‘Humanity’ Behind His Superhero

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The hits keep on coming for Jefferson Pierce aka “Black Lightning.”

After learning his firstborn Anissa (Nafessa Williams) was developing powers of her own, Jefferson (Cress Williams) is now tasked with keeping her safe if she wasn’t going to be dissuaded from going into the family vigilante business.

But he couldn’t focus on training her, as he recently learned Tobias Whale (Marvin Jones III) was not only still alive but unaging. Haunted by memories of Tobias attacking his father when he was still a boy, Jefferson converged on a turf war and accidentally shot Tobias’ sister, Tori (Edwina Findley).

And since some of the players in the turf war were using weapons that mimicked Black Lightning’s powers, when Lady Eve (Jill Scott) was killed by one such weapon, it looked like the vigilante had moved from saving people to striking them down.

Here, Williams talks with Variety about the ever-evolving complications for Jefferson, how he handles working alongside his daughter, and what’s to come after Lady Eve’s public demise.

Edited by Dee
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'DC TV Watch: Cress Williams Breaks Down All Those 'Black Lightning' Deaths'

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"If you’re not afraid to kill people off, it raises the stakes," Williams says of losing so many major characters in one fell swoop. "Sometimes you watch shows where you can never really sit on the edge of your seat because you’re like, 'I know they’re not going. I know they’re not dying.' I was sad to see [Scott] go, but also at the same time, our show is a bit quirky, so we always jokingly say that nobody’s really dead necessarily."

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