waynepygram.com: Raven's Home: Mid-Break Update

waynepygram.com: Raven's Home: Mid-Break Update

Yes, there haven't been any new episodes of Raven's Home in what seems like forever. That said, after having seen every episode...multiple times, in fact, I think it's a great way to re-evaluate the series especially since we last reviewed it pretty early in its run. Now here in February '18, I feel we can evaluate the series more fairly after the nostalgia filter and novelty has worn off and...it's not looking good, folks.

In fact to be brutally honest if it weren't for Bunk'd I think this might be the most mediocre show on the network right now.

The original That's So Raven was..really good. There's a reason why it got not one but two spinoffs (simultaneously the first DCLAU show to get a spinoff, and the first and so far only one to get a second one...though Suite Life came close). But there's also a reason why they say lightning never strikes the same spot twice, and if it did it's only because Raven's Home is following in Cory in the House's footsteps.

Yeah, what I'm saying is that...the show's a big pile of meh.

Updated Series Grade: D+. I know I said I've seen every episode multiple times but...I think that gives me the authority to say that the episodes aren't very watchable at all on second viewing, let alone third on (which is actually critically important for Disney Channel given how something like 95% of its programming is the repeat schedule). And really, a lot of them aren't really all that great to watch the first time either. That said, there are some decent episodes, like the most recent one but...eh.

I will say this: The episode where the kids sell snacks at school after the vending machines are taken away is a lot like the episode of That's So Raven where Cory and William sell soda in milk cartons at school after the soda machines are taken away. Except, it's not as funny....or entertaining.

I think the problem with Raven's Home is that it doesn't know which character should be the centerpiece. I mean, after Raven, obviously. Is the show about Booker or Nia? Honestly, I think Nia should have been the psychic. She comes off as the character with more to offer. I don't know how much you could do with Booker after a certain point. With Nia, I feel like there's more potential with her character to lead the show and she'll end up being more interesting than Booker is. The show made a really bad mistake right out of the gate.

Another problem is that I feel like Booker's psychic powers are inconsequential. Yeah, this goes back to making the show about Nia. He has them, yeah, but most of the time in season one, it doesn't feel like he has them at all or that they really mean anything. Booker will have a vision about the local concert going wrong, and then it goes wrong, and then he realizes that he was the problem, and then he'll say something like, "I think I'm the problem!" Also, whenever he has visions, a lot of the time, they just happen. He doesn't really do anything to stop it because they happen almost exactly as he imagined them. Plus, the visions he does have.....just aren't that interesting. In the original series, we were interested to see what would happen because Raven's visions would often move the story forward, or they wouldn't happen the way we think they would. There was always a hidden layer to the visions we didn't realize. With Booker, he'll have a vision that an ice cream truck will fall on his head. And then it falls on his head anyway despite him trying to stop it, and he'll learn some lesson about how you shouldn't be standing in the way of a falling ice cream truck. I'm pretty sure there's been at least one episode where his psychic powers don't come into play at all. If he didn't have them, the show would be almost exactly the same.

And lastly, the show's plots are just really childish. I get that these are kids, but when you have a plot about Nia being scared because she doesn't know how to dance, and in the same episode, you have a way more interesting subplot about Raven missing events in the lives of her children, I have to wonder what the hell is going on. It's called Raven's Home, not Nicky, Ricky, Dicky, and Dawn. The kids aren't that interesting that they should be the focus.....at least not yet. Raven should be the centerpiece for now and then when the kids get old enough that their range of stories increases, you can shift the focus to them. I really feel like Fuller House is the only show that has gotten this right. D.J., Stephanie, and Kimmy are the stars and the main focus, as they should be. The writers recognize this. It just seems all over the place to have one episode about Raven, another about Nia, and then one about Tess, a character who no one ever wanted an episode centered around. 

I remember when Sean and/or Christian from GMWReviewed said that if Girl Meets World did not have the connection to Boy Meets World, but the style was exactly the same, they wouldn't watch it. I couldn't relate to that because I didn't grow up with Boy Meets World and I don't have the same relationship with it that they do, but now I'm walking a mile in their shoes. If Raven's Home had absolutely nothing to do with the original series, and Booker and Nia were just everyday Disney sitcom characters, I wouldn't watch it. Raven and Chelsea were the only reasons to watch from the beginning, and of course, they have Raven divorce her husband like Chelsea instead of adding a much-needed story element. Replace Tess with Devon, and change the dynamic so we see how his parenting style clashes with Raven's, and the show becomes a lot more interesting. It doesn't feel like there's enough of the original series injected into this spinoff. Whereas Girl Meets World suffered from not having enough of its own voice, Raven's Home suffers from hardly acknowledging the voice it came from. The characters kinda feel like a blank slate right now, and I can only hope there's some improvement with the storytelling when season two comes around. 

But there's a plus side to all of this: Now that K.C. Undercover's retired, Raven's Home officially has the best theme song on Disney Channel. Don't tell me that song doesn't make you want to dance.
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