Netflix has had a monopoly on streaming originals for a while but now that the streaming war has started, their next batch of original will be their make or break moment. It will become a major factor if people will stay or migrate to other services. Raising Dion is part of the next wave of original content that Netflix hopes will keep its customers around. Produced by Michael B. Jordan (Creed, Black Panther) and based on the comic of the same name, Raising Dion tells the story of a widow trying her best to raise her child only to find out he has superpowers. While banking on it’s superhero nature to attract people, Raising Dion is much more than what it looks at first glance.
Nicole (Shadowhunters’ Alisha Wainwright) is trying her best to raise her son Dion (Ja’Siah Young) while still trying to recover from her husband’s (Michael B. Jordan) mysterious death years prior. When Dion starts exhibiting supernatural abilities, she finds herself having to find a way to teach her eight years old how to use powers she knows nothing about and tries to keep him safe when her husband’s past comes to haunt them and threaten their lives. A mix of action and drama, this family show tries to change the game and brings a breath of fresh air to this already crowded genre.
In the world of reboot and adaptation, family-friendly shows that have something to say are rare. While I know that some controversy followed the show after the casting was announced, it does bring something fresh to the table. While the first episode is a bit messy and clumsy, the more you watch, the more confident the show is. Once it’s found its footing, the story works well and flows. The show might be messy at times but it always feels like it has something to say. The way the show is able to bring the fun of a superhero origin story and link it to the real world is done in a way that never feels forced. Racism, consent, family, death, all these subjects that we wouldn’t see in a show that is oriented more towards children are approached.
What is great about Raising Dion is the fact that yes it’s clearly marketed towards kids but because Nicole’s story is such a big part of the show that it’s also enjoyable for adults. She never feels like second fiddle, her story is just as important. Her coming to terms with her son’s abilities, her navigating the world without her husband, going back to what she loves, etc. It’s all stories that maybe would have been sidelined in other shows, the focus would have been solely on Dion’s story, but that isn’t the case. Raising Dion finds a balance in a non-balanced world, it navigates its story quickly and swiftly but it never feels rushed. It doesn’t overstay its welcome and once it really gets going, it’s really good.
This show could have been a failure, the first episode is proof of that but it adapts itself and deviates from the expectations that we have when it comes to origin stories. Because of that, the show doesn’t fall into the tropes that we all know. While not always perfect and sometimes messy even, Raising Dion feels like a welcome into the world of superheroes stories and will be a hit with kids and adults alike.