Several years ago, a new graphic novel written by Dennis Liu came out and, as was newly fashionable at the time, a short movie was made of snippets from the book, to effectively act as a trailer.
And those of us who saw this trailer for Raising Dion were absolutely astounded - here was a book that turned the whole Super Hero trope on its head, giving us a look at how those around young people with powers dealt with the new problems in their lives, rather than focusing on adults who were in full control of their abilities.
Fast Forward to 2019, and Raising Dion, the new show from Netflix, attempts to tell a story loosely based on the comic book, trying to show the same parental struggles, along with the development of thois child with nascent super-powers. The fact that it doesn't quite meet expectations is down to the usual Netflix problem - a script that isn't quite there yet, some seriously dodgy acting, and inconsistent direction.
There is a really good story buried somewhere in here, and there are some great set pieces, as well as some fantastic performances, especially Ja'Siah Young as Dion, and Sammi Haney as Esperenza, his best friend at school - it's almost worth watching just for her sassy performance!
Some of the adults put in some good performances - Donald Paul as Dion and Esperanza's teacher, and Deirdre Lovejoy as the slightly-unhinged (and justifiably so) Charlotte Tuck, while Michael B Jordan is pretty much wasted in his few scenes as Dion's Father.
There were a few other little niggles - the way that inserting an SD card in to a computer caused a cascade of pop-up windows, (some thing that hasn't been an issue in years on all majoer Operating Systems), an organisation allegedly affiliated with the CDC dealing with an assumed Level 3 Contagion by ripping the subject out of his mothers arms and throwing him in the back of a van, then leaving everyone else (the whole building should have been sealed off), the Level 3 containment unit that was barely Level 1 (!) - these (and others) all served to pull the vieewer out of the world we were experienceing, if only for a moment.
It's not all bad news, there are some lovely little touches (my wife and I laughed every time one characters phone rang, for instance - nice little Easter Egg there for fans of Netflix's most popular in-house show), but it largely felt like another missed opportunity from Netflix.
One little oddity - several times during the show, I got the distinct impression they were trying to link in to the Stranger Things story/universe - Biona is exactly the same sort of shadowy organisation as Hawkins National Laboratory, early sightings of The Crooked Man (and later, Dion's depiction of him) bear some resemblance to The Mind Flayer, not to mention the ring tone mentioned earlier, all seemed to suggest that... something was going on behind the scenes.
6/10 - Would have been less, but the score was dragged up, kicking and screaming, by the performances of some of the younger actors, who put some of their older compatriots to shame with their abilities.
Incidentally, it looks like Dennis Liu has more ideas.