Netflix‘s newest science fiction-series, comes from the producers behind Jericho and 24: Legacy. The show is based on the by Dennis Liu written comic book “Raising Dion“, which celebrates diversity, while tackling the challenges of raising a child with superpowers.
Nicole (Alisha Wainwright), a recently widowed, African American woman is trying to balance her professional life with her duties as a mother. After losing her husband Mark (Michael B. Jordan), during a freaky thunder storm, she is left alone, caring for her 7-year-old son Dion (newcomer Ja’Siah Young), who has trouble fitting in at school. When Dion suddenly notices weird things happening at the most unpredictable times, he realises he’s definitely different from the other kids in class.
Raising Dion could easily be mistaken for another superhero tv-show. But it’s so much more than that. Dion isn’t a superhero (just yet) to begin with. He’s a kid that is only just realising he has abilities, most kids would dream of. The thing that got me so invested into the show, is the mother/son dynamic. You rarely see a show like this, focusing on a strong female character trying to raise a boy with a lot of questions. Of course the mom wonders how she’s ever going to raise a child with powers she can’t comprehend herself?! Or, how she’ll protect her boy from the cruel world?!
The other thing that’s so important in this show, is the diversity of the cast. Characters of different ethnicities and backgrounds, telling original stories are in high demand, and Raising Dion is definitely pushing that gate wide open – which is glorious to witness. One can only hope to see more projects with this quality of storytelling, sooner than later.
While Nicole goes job hunting, she gets the help from her successful sister Willa (Moriah Brown) and her late husband’s best friend, Pat (Jason Ritter), to make sure Dion stays out of trouble and does his homework. What they don’t know is that BIONA, the company Mark used to work for, is keeping an eye out on Dion as well..
The show has great spirit and the dynamic between the young actors and the more accomplished actors is something unique. Newcomer Young has the talent and range to show exactly how a 7-year-old with these responsibilities would react to these massive changes in his life – adorable and you can tell he’s having a great time. Wainwright (Shadowhunter: The Mortal Instruments), who plays Dion’s mom, is truly something else. She reminds me of a breakthrough Tessa Thompson. With the right agent and well-chosen projects, her career could go in any direction she wants it to go. Even the supporting cast is strong – although some of their dialogue seems a bit weak at times and comes across as less important. Nonetheless, because of the diversity, each one of them sticks with you, with what they contribute to the story.
The character development of both Dion and Nicole is what makes Raising Dion, such a bingeable tv-show. I could’ve watched all nine episodes in one go, but was afraid I was going to like it too much (which I did!) and didn’t want to say goodbye to these characters. Congratulations to the creators and the writing team, for erasing those stereotypes and bringing such a unique view on the world, combined with some sci-fi, to the small screen.
Raising Dion is an enjoyable and interesting take on the superhero-genre, without becoming a cliche, due to the broad range of talent in front and behind the camera. The show has its heart in the right place and knows exactly how to influence your emotions. Whenever you think you’ve seen it all, there’s a new twist waiting to be revealed. Lightning, fireballs and flying cereal – Dion and his mom are the heroes we didn’t know we needed.
Raising Dion is set to premiere October 4, 2019, only on Netflix.
Review – Raising Dion
Reviewed from Netflix screener, Sydney, Sept. 9, 2019. Rating: TBC. Running time: 9 episodes of approx. 45min.
PRODUCTION: Distributed by Netflix, MACRO, Outlier Society Executive producers: Dennis A. Liu, Michael Green, Carol Barbee, Kenny Goodman, Michael B. Jordan, Dennis Liu, Charles D. King.
CREW: Creator: Carol Barbee, Dennis Liu. Directors: Neema Barnette, Rachel Goldberg, Dennis A. Liu, Seith Mann. Writers: Edward Ricourt, Joshua Sternin, J.R. Ventimilia, Leigh Dana Jackson, Kimberly Ndombe, Michael Poisson. Camera (color, widescreen): Armando Salas, Peter Flinckenberg. Editor: James Wilcox, Elisa Cohen, William Yeh. Series Music: Kris Bowers.
WITH: Alisha Wainwright, Ja’Siah Young, Jason Ritter, Sammi Haney, Gavin Munn, Donald Paul, J. Harrison Ghee, Moriah Brown, Dana Gourrier, Michael B. Jordan.