Raising Dion Season 1 has its heart in the right place, but it suffers from the inability to focus on a single genre and ends up feeling like a failed experiment.
This review of Netflix Series Raising Dion Season 1 does not contain spoilers.
Raising Dion Season 1 is my first exposure to the story. I had no idea that it started as a 2015 comic book and a short film. The premise is appealing for parents and children alike. A young boy one day learns that he can do “magic” but soon realizes he has superpowers. His mother Nicole, along with her friend Pat, has to keep his powers a secret and protect him.
And that premise is delivered more or less, but the Netflix series decides to bamboozle between a family-feel story and a superhero origin story. Raising Dion struggles to be what it wants to be, and thematically throws the stories to different, and sometimes minute corners that leave some episodes feeling empty and worthless.
The intentions of the series are correct; Dion should be a loveable kid, the mother (who is also widowed) should hone in on the sympathy and Pat, her friend, should wait on the sidelines and be as encouraging as possible. The trio of characters works, but it’s the progression of the story that lets the characters down. One minute Nicole is fretting over the safety of her son, but a scene later, she is choosing a career opportunity over Dion. It’s not emotionally realistic. The narrative is naive and compounded with a variety of story strands that the production team was so desperate to wedge in.
As the Netflix series progresses, Dion’s world opens up, and the mystery deepens. One of the executive producers, Michael B. Jordan, is the father of Dion, and he plays a side-role part that enhances the story slightly. Unfortunately, A-lister appearances are not enough to save such a drag, with each episode becoming tiresome to consume. And just when you feel it is giving the audience something to be excited about, Raising Dion resorts to heavily embedding a side story to extinguish all hope for an exciting continuation.
In terms of the effects, I was okay with how they portrayed powers with the special visuals. They are not budget-busting, but Raising Dion uses enough to give you a sense that this is a niche superhero film. It doesn’t overegg the special effects, but you can almost tell that the kid who plays Dion, Ja’Siah Young, really enjoyed playing with the green screen.
I think what irked me the most is that the story is sold from the perspective of a mother trying to protect her son’s identity, but Raising Dion barely becomes that “siege” mentality that you’d expect to come from such a story. I think Netflix’s choice to PG the story shortened their scope, and instead, the family genre took precedence.
Netflix Series Raising Dion Season 1 is sadly disappointing, and although I believe everyone should give it a go, at least for the feel-good, family-feel factor, I wouldn’t campaign for a Season 2.
You can read the recap of Episode 1 by clicking these words.
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.