Please note: Press Tour Impressions will not be posted for FOX or CBS as KSiteTV’s Craig Byrne was not able to attend for those days. Shows presented but not mentioned here are due to missing a panel because of separate interviews or events which prevented attendance at the presentation.
KSiteTV’s first day at the TCA Winter Press Tour in Pasadena, California focused on two series — Black Lightning and Life Sentence — and it also happened to possibly be the shortest day of the tour, as the Golden Globes would be held later that night. CW President Mark Pedowitz didn’t do his usual Q-and-A session though press did catch him at the event. It was a shame to miss Pedowitz who often is among the most forthcoming about network strategies and always offers assurances that Supernatural will continue as long as “the boys” (Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki) want to do it.
Here are some thoughts on the presentations of the day.
Black Lightning, from Executive Producers Salim Akil and Mara Brock Akil, has a very impressive first two episodes that have been provided to press; it’s also the latest entry of the wide CW lineup of DC super heroes. Although Executive Producers Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schechter of Arrowverse fame are involved, the show is at this point not tied to the other series, and once you see it, you’ll realize it’s a good thing: Black Lightning is a family drama, and the warmth between the “family” that comprises the cast was seen on stage.
If audiences find Black Lightning — sadly, it’s on at the same time as This Is Us — it could be a huge hit. Cress Williams stars as Jefferson Pierce, a hero who comes out of superhero retirement to save his home of Freeland, and Nafessa Williams and China Anne McClain are his daughters who will eventually be seen as the heroes Thunder and Lightning.
Black Lightning is based on the comic book character created by Tony Isabella with Trevor von Eeden. The show premieres January 16.
The press tour panel for Life Sentence at some points grappled with the same issue the show itself may face when it premieres in March: The show may open with cancer but that’s just the beginning of the story. Lucy Hale plays a young woman who faced cancer for several years, thinking her time was limited, when suddenly — she’s got a clean bill of health and her family has been hiding things from her for years.
Our advice: Get through those first five minutes. That’s all the cancer you’ll have to deal with. The rest is an exploration of some quirky characters in a Hart of Dixie type setting and the show is quite charming, touching, and, at times, hilarious. This isn’t Chasing Life redux, even though that was a well-loved series. Lucy Hale is great, but so are the actors making up the rest of the cast.