Greg Berlanti seems to hold the whole of the DC universe in his hand — perhaps more than anyone over in the DC Extended Unvierse does. This is a guy who helped to create Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and Supergirl — all four distinct shows within the same universe. Each show has their own distinct tone, and each has played marvelously with the DC canon.
Recently, Berlanti finished pitching the DC property Black Lightning to several studios, and the show eventually ended up at Fox, much to my chagrin. The reason I disliked the choice? It had nothing to do with Fox, but the last time one of Berlanti’s DC show — Supergirl — ended up on a network other than the CW, it wasn’t long before it ended up sharing the same universe, and eventually headed over to that very network after a single season. It was as if though everyone knew the show should’ve been on the CW to begin with, but they just had to go through the motions of going to another studio.
When it was announced that Black Lightning would end up at Fox, I worried that we were going through the same motions. Would this be a show that would eventually find a home on the CW? I thought so.
But in a recent conversation with IndieWire, Berlanti made some comments regarding the show that made me second guess my initial thoughts. When asked how he got involved in the project, he seemed to downplay role in the show’s development:
“That was mostly [executive producers] Mara [Brock Akil] and Salim [Akil], who are incredibly talented, and the studio just asked me to godfather them a bit, since this genre is newer for them. But they really have a vision for that show, so I hope I can help them execute it.”
Makes a lot of sense. If I was working on a DC show that I wanted to get picked up by a major network, one could do worse than call in a favor from the master himself, Greg Berlanti. As such, I have little problem thinking this Black Lightning will likely exist in its own little bubble. It was likely created without the intention of connecting with the Arrow-verse, and as such, I don’t foresee the same Supergirl issue coming up again.
Indiewire went on to ask Berlanti what kind of advice he was able to impart onto the duo. Berlanti answered:
“A few of them would be that the shows have to exist as if they had nothing to do with superheroes as well. What kind of show would it be? What would it be about? Whatâ€™s the emotional core of the main character and their journey? Inevitably if that stuff isnâ€™t there, everything else feels like noise. Iâ€™d say also, your heroes are only as good as your villains. They have to have a great villain as well to challenge the hero. And to not be afraid to make it as specific as possible. Obviously we participate in a lot of these shows right now, and there are a lot of them in TV and movies. The ones that succeed have a real specificity to them. They did that and worked their heart and soul into their pitch. Itâ€™s a very personal story for them. I hope people will connect with it.”
Truer words could not have been spoken. There is a reason why these comic book characters have survived for as long as they have. Readers didn’t simply connect with them because of their abilities, but because of the struggles they faced as people. That’s the core of every story, and the reason we consume stories at all.
What are your thoughts on what Berlanti had to say? Do you still think Black Lightning will eventually move on over to the CW or was this enough to convince you otherwise? Let us know your thoughts down below!