DC’s Black Light­ning zaps view­ers with a dose of re­al­ity...

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most DC su­per­hero TV shows be­gin with their pro­tag­o­nists’ ori­gins. Not so Black Light­ning. Based on the char­ac­ter cre­ated by Tony Is­abella and Trevor Von Ee­den, it in­tro­duces its tit­u­lar cham­pion nine years af­ter he re­tired from fight­ing crime.

“I wanted him to be fully out of the game,” says ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Salim Akil, who de­vel­oped the show with his wife, Mara Brock Akil. “What’s in­ter­est­ing to me is not what you’re do­ing it’s why you do it and why you are pulled back in. He quit for the love of his fam­ily: ‘I love my wife, I love my kids, and I’m com­ing home beat up…’ So when [his wife] says, ‘I need you to stop,’ he did. Nine good years you’re on the wagon – be­cause your su­per­pow­ers can al­most be like a drug. So she’s telling him to get off this drug.”

Now back in the game, Jef­fer­son Pierce (Cress Williams) has two daugh­ters (China Anne McClain and Nafessa Williams) who might just be fol­low­ing in his foot­steps.

“It’s a fam­ily drama,” says Brock Akil, “and it’s also about, ‘How do you be a su­per­hero and a fam­ily man?’ There’s not very of­ten that bur­den put on most of the he­roes. Imag­ine wor­ry­ing about dy­ing – and he can die – ‘If I go out here and use my gift I might lose the great­est gift of my life, which is see­ing my girls grow up, and walk­ing them down the aisle…’ All the things that we dream of do­ing while we strug­gle ev­ery day, putting one foot in front of the other, he’s got that too.”

While Black Light­ning will face his long­time arch­en­emy To­bias Whale (played by Marvin “Kron­don” Jones III) and his gang, the 100, the show, shot and set in At­lanta, will tackle plenty of real-world is­sues.

“We chose a real city be­cause we’re liv­ing in real times,” says Akil. “Any­body from At­lanta knows that sex traf­fick­ing is huge. We can’t ig­nore that. We want to ad­dress that. That’s why we chose a real city – be­cause we want peo­ple to be able to recog­nise the vil­lains and the prob­lems that are sur­round­ing us. We’re not fight­ing aliens. We’re fight­ing real vil­lains, and you’ll be able to recog­nise the is­sues. And this guy is vul­ner­a­ble, so he can be hurt.”

Black Light­ning will air on the CW in the US in 2018. A UK broad­caster is TBC.

Cress Williams and the on-screen fam feel­ing pumped.

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