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TV Brew: Black Lightning – Season One Review

Black Lightning has now finished the first season and has earned a name for itself. I dare to say this is one of the best superhero shows on television, even competing with the Netflix Marvel series.

There is far too much to talk about as we impatiently wait for the second season, but we’re going to try and discuss some of those opinions here. Instead of listening to this colonizer, though, I thought I’d bring in some better perspectives.

First, a big welcome to vidder, writer, and cybernetic ASA assassin, Holdt.

Holdt: Good to be back, man. The past few episodes leading up to the finale have been #SoLit I don’t even know where to start. I get way too excited talking about this show to be talking to myself.

Our special guest is author, poet, and metahuman experiment, Danielle Grace.

Danielle: Wassup, Lono! It’s going down in Freeland, and I am ready for the lightning to keep striking. Shout out to Cress Williams for being my Scooter crush for life (I swear, I am not a stalker).

Holdt: She lies.

And our usual warning – if you haven’t finished the finale (or even season), there may be spoilers!

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To start us off, tell everyone what you loved most about this show?

Holdt: The development of inter-neighborhood suburban connectivity and strife has been fantastic this season. The layers of nuance in public and private dealings – from the grittiest neighborhood deal to handling police barbarism, have been involved.

I love how one gets a real panorama of Freeland as Season One focuses on all the headliners representing the various facets of Freeland society.

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Danielle: The family love between the Pierces in this show is outstanding and very moving to me. I am glad we finally get to see a PoC co-parenting situation where the parents aren’t married, but still show respect and affection for each other.

There are so many stereotypical portrayals of the African-American family dynamic out there, but this show continues to get it right by showing that not all families are the same. We get a glimpse of abusive parenting through Tobias’ story and single parent issues with Lawanda and Khalil’s mom as well.

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Now for the hard part – what didn’t you like about the show? Was there something you felt they could have done better?

Danielle: This question is hard for me because I am a full fan of the writing and direction of this show. I do think that seeing more of a developing romance between Anissa and Grace would have made the show better.

I thought Anissa’s sexuality was handled tastefully and came through as just another typical aspect of life for her. I know some viewers are sensitive to non-heterosexual lifestyles and don’t want to feel beat over the head with these things, but there is no way that there weren’t more dates and interaction between Anissa and Grace.

Even in an inaugural season aspect, it was a missed opportunity for clarification that same-sex relationships are entirely natural and shouldn’t be taboo in the African-American or Asian community (or on American television).

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Holdt: I’m relatively unsure on this; I was sad to see so many complex-layered villains fall by the wayside, except each episode is so tightly plotted to work within the context that each death (and each life saved) becomes an integral part of the narrative. I’m a fan of almost every character they showcase, each feeling like a different and complete person, with virtues, passions, and flaws.

My only complaint, if I had one, would be that I long for more character-focus oriented content within the context of the broader stories. I’m ready to follow someone for an episode, to see things from their particular POV as it goes down.

I’d even be interested in an unreliable visual narrative, but I don’t think this is the kind of stylistic change that would be true to the show’s background.

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Given that fantastic finale, what would you like to see next season? What plots or characters are you hoping to see?

Holdt: I find Tobias Whale particularly impressive in the pantheon of Black Lightning; his dedication to money and underworld prestige over all else is fascinating. Watching him self-destruct is like seeing a disaster in slow motion – it’s almost impossible to look away.

The scenes where Marvin Jones shines brightest though, are those where you see him reinforcing his authority – without more than a word or two, minions snap to attention. It’s a terrible, scary vision.

To that end, I’d love to see more of his persona unravel, especially if it involves accepting that what he’s doing is wrong. He’s becoming the monster he was accused of being when he was a child.

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Danielle: I would like to see the real aftermath of Lady Eve’s death. Jefferson mentioned to Anissa that Lady Eve had a wife and children, and I have to believe that someone like Lady Eve does not marry a spouse who has no idea of what her wife was doing.

If she did manage to keep it from the wife and kids, then there needs to be a revelation about what Lady Eve was up to that got her murdered so violently. Even if Black Lightning were to kill someone (we know he was framed), he wouldn’t be seen as a person to choose random targets.

I would like to see if Lady Eve’s wife or children seek revenge or are involved in her business at a deeper level. Many funeral businesses are family run – who takes over that business, at the very least, and will it have other consequences for Black Lightning or Tobias Whale?

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Let’s be real – who’s your favorite character?

Danielle: Anissa “Thunder” Pierce, aka ‘Harriet Tubman.’

She has a strong sense of self when it comes to her overall identity (sexual and otherwise). Anissa has her mother’s mind for research, her father’s strong sense of social justice, and she is an amazing big sister (even if Jennifer doesn’t always appreciate her protective nature).

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Holdt: Lady Eve, ‘cause she’s MAGIC.

For real, though, they jacked her up; I demand justice – I demand reparations! Lady Eve could be resurrected like Lala; only she’d be better because she has a goddamn heart. A heart! I wanted so much more for this character than a third-act vengeance death and no follow through.

Ahem. So…yes. That.

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Do you have any final thoughts about Black Lightning: Season One?

Holdt: I can’t get over Jennifer’s character growth. Above all the other characters on the show, her journey is one that I feel will most likely resonate with younger viewers.

In a way, she’s the ‘everyman’ the show gives us to see through, and I love the writers for this.

Danielle: This first season of Black Lightning has been phenomenal. I expected a good ride because all of the CW hero shows have been effective at drawing the audience in and keeping us engaged.

Of course, as a woman of color, I did not expect the hard-hitting social commentary included in the storylines. It is about time we saw a realistic portrayal of the struggles in black suburbia, instead of an inner-city urban setting.

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Thank you two for joining us here at PCU and getting us even more hyped for Season 2 of Black Lightning.

Danielle: I hope the CW doesn’t go changing nights on me because: Remember, people – if it’s Tuesday, it’s Black Lightning!

Holdt: I trust they give me more delicious meta for fanworks and waxing poetic about the trials and tribulations of Freeland. Until next season though, stay lit!

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About Brook H. (151 Articles)
Generalist, polymath, jack-of-all-trades... what hasn't Brook studied. Knowledge is power, which is probably why he ended up with degrees in Human Behavior and Psychology, not to mention majoring in everything from computers to business while working in theater, security, emergency communications, and human services. He currently resides outside Baltimore where he tries to balance his children, local politics, hobbies, and work. Brook is a major Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing advocate (he's HoH himself), lifelong gamer (from table-top to computer), loves everything paranormal, and is a Horror-movie buff.

1 Comment on TV Brew: Black Lightning – Season One Review

  1. Reblogged this on holdtvids.

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