ISSUE #101 – | Review Score – 3/5
ISSUE #102 – | Review Score – 3/5
ISSUE #103 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
ISSUE #104 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
ISSUE #105 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
ISSUE #106 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
ISSUE #107 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
ISSUE #108 – | Review Score – 4/5
ISSUE #109 – | Review Score – 4/5
Netflix’s Raising Dion is a show that, like it’s superpower-wielding protagonist, takes a while to settle down and really focus its groove. Despite a bit of a rocky start, Raising Dion soon adds layers of mystery and drama to the story and when it does, manages to tap into a unique genre of superhero action that feels designed specifically for families. Between the quirky humour, patchy special effects and numerous science fiction references, Raising Dion feels both experimental and safe in its design, making it a decent choice for families with older kids or fans of this genre.
The story itself revolves around 7 year old Dion and his Mother Nicole. Following the mysterious death of her husband Mark, Nicole is left to raise Dion alone and her situation is made all the more difficult when she discovers Dion has superpowers. Beginning with levitation and quickly escalating to teleportation, healing and a few other unique tricks, Raising Dion’s narrative splits between Nicole and Dion’s godfather Pat teaching him how to control his powers, whilst learning more about BIONA, the company Pat and Mark work for, and a powerful antagonist that arrives partway through the series.
As the episodes tick by, the narrative does become a lot more structured, following all the usual conventions found in this genre whilst offering enough twists and turns along the way to keep things engaging. Most of the episodes end with a big reveal or plot twist too, helping to keep that binge-factor high whilst keeping the story itself rooted in the conventional tropes found in this genre. If you can go in with an open mind and not expect anything particularly groundbreaking or original, you’re sure to find some enjoyment here.
This, ultimately, is where Raising Dion both excels and falters. On the one hand, when the show doubles down on its cheesy effects and really revels in its mystery the show feels like it carves out a unique slice of family-friendly superhero drama that could easily be watched by the whole family. As the drama becomes more intense though, the series changes tonally to something a lot darker and it’s here where Raising Dion doesn’t always balance these elements as well as it perhaps should.
There’s a fair few themes cropping up here around racism and inequality, with the early episodes doubling down on these ideas before these are sidelined to make way for more generic themes involving an evil corporation and someone using their electrified powers for personal gain. It’s all very cliched stuff and if you’ve seen anything superhero related before, Raising Dion will raise no eyebrows with its story.
There’s a whole slew of different hip hop songs used here and the early episodes, in their eagerness to entice you in, give little room for the narrative to grow organically. Almost every minute is stuffed full of different songs and it’s not until around the third episode that Raising Dion settles down and adds some much-needed orchestral chimes and string segments to balance the series out. The result is something that begins quite erratically and may turn some people away. This is most definitely a show you need to have some patience with and if you can give it that time, the show does reward you with some decent stuff late on.
It may not be the best superhero show, nor does it do anything particularly original or different that hasn’t been done before, but it does execute its story with confidence and a decent enough pacing to see you through to the end. Despite a bit of a rocky start, Raising Dion soon settles into its groove and when it does, you’re sure to take to this Mother/Son superhero story. The plot line is admittedly basic and the characters are pretty archetypal for this genre but when Raising Dion doubles down on its family-orientated focus, the show excels. While it is a little dark for younger kids to watch, the show is good enough to see you through to the end, which leaves the door wide open for a second season to follow.
Verdict - 7/10