Cast: Cress Williams, China Anne McClain, Nafessa Williams
Release Date: June 26, 2018
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
Black Lightning follows Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams), 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 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. 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.
Please Note: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
The latest live-action television series from the DC Comics Universe, the debut season of ‘Black Lightning’ introduces viewers to goodhearted Principal and father Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams) who has managed to build a respective and purposeful life after giving up his superhero personae of Black Lightning years prior. But when his daughters are thrown into a deadly situation, Jefferson can’t resist donning the mantle once more in order to save them. Intent to truly be done now that his family is safe, the threats against the city he loves and those closest to him, along with the increasing levels of danger and violence plaguing the streets soon causes him to realize that Black Lightning may in fact be the answer his city needs, even if it might cost him personally.
The most recent entry in the DC Comics TV Universe and marking the fifth DC series currently airing on The CW network, although the first not to share a connection to the other bundle of shows (The Flash, Supergirl, Arrow and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow) which all interconnect to some degree or another within the so-called ‘Arrow-Verse’. ‘Black Lightning’ makes for another enjoyable, fairly tense and often somewhat emotional superhero saga with plenty of action and heart that does a solid job of building up some interesting characters throughout the debut season that most folks will likely be anxiously anticipating the return of when season two debuts on The CW this October. The Blu-ray release of ‘Black Lightning: The Complete First Season’ delivers pretty fantastic high definition video and audio presentations on all 13 included episodes, along with some enjoyable extras including over 30 minutes of ‘Deleted Scenes’ from the season and more (more detailed information regarding the bonus content can be found in the special features section of the technical specification coverage below). Interestingly enough the menu, extras and other elements of the release’s content in many ways strongly resemble the Warner Archive Collection’s Blu-ray season releases far more than the standard WB Home Entertainment releases such as ‘The Flash’, ‘Arrow’, etc. particularly in its lack of both episode numbers appearing when paused and seamless disc-to-disc play all options, as well as the general overall layout of the disc menu. Nonetheless it’s a pretty solid 2-disc Blu-ray set that should generally please the fellow DC Comics fanatics out there who know as well as I do that we’re fortunate to simply see all of these great shows continue to be released on Blu-ray year after year.
Overall, the debut season of ‘Black Lightning’ introduces yet another hero in the DC Television Universe and serves up a healthy supply of action-packed fun and heart that should have little trouble pulling in fellow fans of the other DC-TV shows airing on The CW. It may be the first on the network not to interconnect with the other DC shows, but fortunately manages to deliver enough tension and excitement that it should be more than capable of standing on its own. ‘Black Lightning’ is definitely recommended for fellow fans of the ever expanding DC Television universe, offering a more than enticing first season in a show that could easily build to be something pretty great. Fans of the series who caught the first season during its initial airing and are considering picking up a copy of the ‘Black Lightning: The Complete First Season’ Blu-ray release should also find themselves fairly satisfied should they choose to do so thanks to the solid high definition video and audio presentations on every episode combined with some fun bonus content that all comes together into a 2-disc Blu-ray set that should largely please.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Black Lightning: The Complete First Season’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the show’s original 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio on all of the first season’s episodes. The video presentations look pretty great as a whole and provide sharp, detailed and clean presentations on every episode. They hold up admirably even during the numerous darkly lit, fast moving and heavily populated sequences, never causing anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, these are quite capable high definition video presentations that should largely satisfy the show’s fans.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on all 13 Season One episodes. These multichannel soundtracks sound wonderful and deliver clean, crisp and notably active audio presentations on each episode. They frequently take advantage of all five available channels in order to send the music, bolts of power and electricity, along with gunshots and plenty more regularly whipping throughout the various speakers, and never allowing any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible in the process. Overall, these are pretty fantastic 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtracks that contribute their share of additional fun to the overall viewing experience and should not disappoint.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Black Lightning: The Complete First Season’ includes a few worthwhile extras that fans should enjoy, the majority of which can all be found on the second disc with the exception of ‘2 Come Visit Georgia PSA’s’ (approximately 5-6 minutes each) which are included on the first disc. The second disc includes a collection of ‘Deleted Scenes’ from the season (running approximately 33 minutes in length altogether) although they aren’t selectable by episode like most Warner Home Entertainment releases, but instead all compiled into one (yet title cards give some info regarding episode numbers). Also included is a ‘Gag Reel’ for the season (running approximately 2 minutes) along with a few Behind the Scenes Featurettes: ‘Art Imitating Life: The Pilot Episode’ (approximately 5 minutes), ‘A Family of Strength’ (7 minutes), plus the ‘Black Lightning: 2017 Comic-Con Panel’ (17 minutes).