The Complete First Season of the CW series Black Lightning hits Blu-ray and DVD this week, with all 13 episodes of Season 1 represented over two discs on the Blu-ray. KSiteTV has been provided with a review copy of the Blu-ray set, so here’s what we think:
The Episodes: Black Lightning was consistent and special in that, under the DC Comics exterior with super abilities, it’s a series about a family. Jefferson Pierce is still very much the community leader and great character originally created by Tony Isabella with Trevor von Eeden over 40 years ago; later additions to the mythos such as his two daughters sweeten the story more.
Every member of the cast was a standout, with Cress Williams being an older-than-usual lead hero while his two daughters, played by China Anne McClain and Nafessa Williams, began their heroic journeys. Marvin “Krondon” Jones III was a formidable foe as Tobias Whale, and other cast members including Damon Gupton, Christine Adams, and James Remar rounded out the cast.
Particularly in the earlier episodes of the season, Black Lightning shines because the danger in the fictional Freeland seems real, and thus, very scary. More fantastical elements pop in throughout Season 1 but it still doesn’t feel like you’re watching, say, The Flash. (Not that there’s anything wrong with The Flash!) The episodes are enhanced with a musical track that is also unlike any other CW superhero drama.
Graphics and Sound: I thought Black Lightning looked good already, but the crisp and clear views of the Blu-ray are fantastic. I still will never understand why Blu-ray menus are so bland, but the episodes themselves look and sound fantastic.
Packaging and Design: I mentioned before how the menus look bland; I also am not sure of the single-color cover art. The back cover of the set, which shows Black Lightning with electricity everywhere, was and is a lot more appealing to me.
Also, I get it because it’s only a 2-disc set, but these sets are getting flimsier and thinner every year. Pretty soon we’ll barely be able to read the name of the set on the spine! A far cry from the days when a DVD set would be 10 times as thick.
The Extras: I have to admit I was a bit disappointed with the extras. I get it as the show was probably not in production when the set was assembled, but I KNOW there are some great cast interviews out there. It’s not to suggest that the extras aren’t of importance — show creator Salim Akil discussing the real-life dangers seen in the series is very important — but what we end up with are two fairly short featurettes, the Comic-Con panel, and a gag reel that’s not really even that funny. Probably the best extra of all is the collection of deleted scenes, which of course builds up the world of the series even more.
There are also “Come Visit Georgia” PSAs and I fully admit I didn’t even bother to look at those.
Still, I would have loved to have had a commentary on the premiere with Salim Akil and Cress Williams, or something like that. Or more of what it was like for the others to bring these characters to life.
Is It Worth It? That’s the thing. A set like this needs good extras; otherwise, people will be content with just watching the episodes on Netflix. I will say that it is worth it to see the show at higher definition, if that’s enough to sway you. It’s a great show, and it would definitely make for being a great gift to someone who may not have seen it yet.