Last week, Netflix premiered a sci-fi series called Raising Dion. Based on Dennis Liu’s comic book of the same name, the shows centers on a single mom helping her 8-year-old son, Dion, handle emerging supernatural powers. Although the show features the evolution of a superhero, the story is endearing because of its relatability to the mundane.
Superheroes are still human
As much as the story is about superpowers, the foundation of the story is grounded in the human experience. Mostly told from the mother’s point of view, the story follows the widowed mom and son as they piece their life back together without the dad. Nicole, played by Alisha Wainwright, is a widowed mother reeling from the mysterious death of her husband, played by Michael B. Jordan in flashback sequences. As she processes her grief, she moves into a new house, enrolls Dion in a new school, coaches him through making new friends, and finds a new job.
Nicole’s battle with daily life gets more complicated when Dion’s abilities emerge. She attempts to juggle relationships with her sister, a possible suitor, and her awful landlord while protecting Dion from his increasingly destructive powers. Her balancing act is often shaky, so she comes to rely on her husband’s best friend and Dion’s godfather, Pat. Played by Jason Ritter, Pat’s bumbling and quirky optimism helps move the story forward. Like all single moms, she is constantly pulled between work and home.
The scientific mystery underlying the superpowers keeps viewers engaged in the search for a villain. It could be a powerful corporation, the CDC, or the mysterious storms. Plenty of conclusions are reasonable, and a few red herrings keep you guessing. Even as Dion’s powers become unpredictable and dangerous, his mom struggles to pay the rent, pick him up from school, and childproof their home.
Twists and turns
Raising Dion balances the storylines of human and supernatural with enough edge to appeal to everyone. Nicole is appealing as a character who needs help raising a child as a single mom – keeping Dion’s powers secret adds to the chaos. The supernatural mystery and search for the truth move the nine-episode series through surprising plot twists to a supercharged ending.
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