Netflix debuts an adaptation of a comic about a single mother raising her superpowered son.
Nicole Reese (Alisha Wainwright) is a single mother raising her son Dion (Ja’Siah Young) after the death of her husband Mark (Michael B. Jordan) in a freak storm. She is shocked one day when she finds that Dion can move objects with his mind, something he cannot quite control yet. Nicole and her husband’s best friend Pat (Jason Ritter) struggle to keep Dion’s abilities secret from the world while also dealing with the impact this development has on her and her son.
The best part about this show is that, for the most part, the focus is on the difficulties of being a single parent, rather than on superheroics. Except for when she’s worried that Dion is going to get caught by some assumed shadowy government agency or something like that, Nicole treats him just like a normal kid. We also see Dion handling most situations like he was a normal kid. He has issues with other students. He has trouble making friends. He gets embarrassed when what he enjoys isn’t “cool.” Most of the time, this is just a drama about single parenting.
That isn’t to say that the superhero elements aren’t well done. The powers and abilities that Dion manifests are interesting and his difficulties in using them are understandable. He’s a child who has unbelievable power, so naturally he doesn’t focus it well. Hell, he doesn’t focus well in general, because, again, child. When he uses his abilities, they frequently spin out of control or operate on a bigger scale than he intended. This means that he’s dangerous not only to himself but to everyone around him. Worst of all, he likes seeing his powers work, because of course he does. Who wouldn’t? I mean, Peter Parker enjoyed being superstrong and sticking to stuff and that’s significantly less interesting than seemingly limitless telekinesis. Also, without spoiling too much, he gets to use them in the traditional “end of a superhero arc” capacity and it’s pretty fun to watch.
The performances in the series are excellent. I do admit that I’m sad that Michael B. Jordan isn’t in it too much, as he’s just… so damned good in everything. I mean, the man was good in Fant4stic, and that’s basically the equivalent of overcoming cinematic ebola. Still, the rest of the cast are no slouches. Alisha Wainwright does a great job portraying a mother who suddenly is dealing with an unnatural situation but still trying her best. She makes us feel the concern that permeates her every action towards Dion. Ja’Siah Young is also excellent as Dion. He’s so likeable and conveys his childish curiosity so well that you do believe he’s moving all of the stuff with his mind. He also gives realistic responses to issues with others. He cries, he whines, he gets upset easily, but he also has unnatural resolve when he needs it. Jason Ritter manages to probably portray the widest range in the series and it’s all believable, to the point that you will be very uncomfortable at some parts.
The problem with the show is that the script is just pretty mediocre. The effects are decent for the budget, but it never really grabs you the way that a show like this should. It just doesn’t find the hook.
Overall, I enjoyed the show for what it was. I recommend giving it a shot. It’s not Stranger Things or The Good Place or something that strong, but it’s still good.
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