This past television season, The CW premiered new series New Tomorrow, Frequency, Riverdale, and CBS series Supergirl joined the schedule for its second season. The network took a pretty similar approach with their choices this year as evident in the trailers below. Black Lightning takes the resident new-DC series spot, Dynasty is the updated IP that Riverdale was, Life Sentence is the dramedy targeting young women like No Tomorrow, and Valor is the military procedural with a mysterious twist that takes Frequency‘s cop drama position.
From these trailers, Black Lightning will be a definite hit in that it is completely different than all the other DC series on the network. The titular character will be the first non-20-something to star in one of these superhero shows, and it is the first series to not be an origin story. In fact, it’s openly a sequel where the hero comes out of retirement, a la The Dark Knight Rises, while seemingly skipping over how he got his powers. The origin story looks to belong to his daughter who narrates the trailer and shows glimpses of her own powers.
As for the other trailers, Life Sentence has genuine laughs and doesn’t look as much like a No Tomorrow 2.0 as its logline sounds. Hopefully it will fair better than its predecessor, but odds are it won’t draw the same critical acclaim that Jane the Virgin and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend have. Meanwhile, Dynasty seems disconnected with the current version of The CW, belonging more in the era of Gossip Girl and 90210 than the millennial-positive “Dare to Defy” brand. Valor appears a valiant attempt to reach the Middle America audience that so many networks are working hard to reach out to, but everyone’s approach is military-centric and that saturation of military dramas could work against this series chances of survival.
Summary: Jefferson Pierce made his choice: He hung up the suit and his secret identity years ago, but with a daughter hellbent on justice and a star student being recruited by a local gang, he’ll be pulled back into the fight as the wanted vigilante and DC legend Black Lightning.
Summary: Hourlong dramedy centers on a young woman who is diagnosed with terminal cancer. When finds out that she’s not dying after all, she has to learn to live with the choices she made when she decided to “live like she was dying.”
Summary: A modernized reboot of the 1980s primetime soap that follows two of America’s wealthiest families, the Carringtons and the Colbys, as they feud for control over their fortune and their children. The series will be told primarily through the perspectives of two women at odds: Fallon Carrington, daughter of billionaire Blake Carrington, and her soon-to-be stepmother, Cristal, a Hispanic woman marrying into this WASP family and America’s most powerful class. Features the 1% in all its glitz and gloss, while exposing the dark underbelly: a corrupt world built on backroom deals.
Summary: The boundaries between military discipline and human desire are tested on a U.S. Army base that houses an elite unit of helicopter pilots trained to perform clandestine international and domestic missions. The drama unfolds in the present as well as in flashbacks to a failed mission involving one of the first female pilots in the unit, ultimately uncovering layers of personal and government/military secrets and leading to a season-long plan to rescue a group of MIA soldiers.
Emily J | TV Editor