Superheroics relegated to network television tend to dwell in the 'villain-of-the-week' trends that dominate most action genres, a bread-and-butter aspect for most DC-related shows on The CW.
But Greg Berlanti's next project on the channel might have a different approach to the established formula.
Showrunners Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil spoke about the newest addition to the family of shows, Black Lightning, at the ATX Television Festival in Austin, Texas over the weekend.
"It's a character driven show. I don't know if there's going to be a fight every week," Salim said, according to the IB Times. "There's certainly not going to be a villain of the week. I don't want to do that. We really want to explore the characters, even the villains."
The show's first "big bad" will be a character named Tobias, probably Tobias Whale from the comic books.
"I think one of the most interesting characters right now from a storytelling standpoint is Tobias. Because we're not having him sort of twist his mustache," Salim said. "His hatred for himself and for others comes from a real place, so we want to know why he's like that."
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Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams) is a man wrestling with a secret. As the father of two daughters and principal of a charter high school that also serves as a safe haven for young people in a New Orleans neighborhood overrun by gang violence, he is a hero to his community. Nine years ago, Pierce was a hero of a different sort. Gifted with the superhuman power to harness and control electricity, he used those powers to keep his hometown streets safe as the masked vigilante Black Lightning. However, after too many nights with his life on the line, and seeing the effects of the damage and loss that his alter ego was inflicting on his family, he left his Super Hero days behind and settled into being a principal and a dad.
Choosing to help his city without using his superpowers, he watched his daughters Anissa (Nafessa Williams) and Jennifer (China Anne McClain) grow into strong young women, even though his marriage to their mother, Lynn (Christine Adams), suffered. Almost a decade later, Pierce's crime-fighting days are long behind him…or so he thought. But with crime and corruption spreading like wildfire, and those he cares about in the crosshairs of the menacing local gang The One Hundred, Black Lightning returns — to save not only his family, but also the soul of his community.