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Raven's Home - Baxter's Back - Review: "Oh Snap, She's Back!"



That's So Raven is a show, like many of us late 1990s-early 2000s kids, I grew up watching religiously. Every Saturday morning i'd roll out of bed and rush downstairs to catch an episode - even though it was definitely a rerun I had likely already seen dozens of times. The show was iconic on Disney Channel - for starters, it was the only Disney show producing new episodes during my childhood starring a family of colour (that wasn't a cartoon - shout out to The Proud Family which was equally as amazing). It opened a door for diversity in modern day children's television, and the humour could be appreciated by kids, their older siblings, and even their parents. So, coming into the series premiere of Raven's Home, my bar was set high. Those of us who were diehard Raven fans ten years ago are adults now, and looking back the show was a staple of our upbringing. This is our moment, fam.

The thing about spinoffs is though, simply put, we can't compare them to their predecessors. Yes, some of the characters are the same, but we're in a totally different time now and these shows are tailored to kids whose ages we were when we watched That's So Raven. It's easy to fall in to the trap of being disappointed when a spinoff doesn't live up to our expectations, or hopes. But this show, above anything, is for today's generation of children. It was created to entertain them, with us being the secondary target demographic. Raven and Chelsea are there to give us the 'TBT' we've waited for, however the real stars of this show are Booker, Nia, Levi and Tess. If you've yet to watch the show, try going into it with this mindset. Hopefully it'll enhance your viewing experience :)

Now, let's get down to business. Here's what we know about the characters thus far. Behold, the 'Raven's Home Family Tree':

We start off with Booker. It becomes evident in this first episode that Booker is a total mama's boy. Raven alludes to him being her favourite child and she has a vision - the first one of the series - of his twin sister Nia making a comment about everything revolving around Booker. He's a caring kid who's concerned about the wellbeing of those around him, and needs reassurance of his capabilities in order to feel confident. Booker discovers in the pilot episode that he's psychic like his mom, and attempts to tell her this news - while Raven is trying to give all of her attention to Nia based on her own vision. I'm interested in seeing how Booker eventually breaks the news to her, and what the dynamic of having two psychic family members in one household will look like.



Next up we have Nia, twin sister to Booker. I really like Nia's independent, confident personality, which I think will serve as great inspiration for young female viewers. Her style is trendy (just like her fashion forward mom - by the way, I wonder if Donna Cabonna will be making an appearance on the show? Hmmm...), and she makes it clear in the pilot that she feels like most of her mom's attention is given to Booker. When Booker tries to overcompensate, telling humorous fibs about his physical strength and impressive dance moves, Nia is quick to shut him down and debunk the lies. The two deal with a power struggle, and I wonder how Booker being psychic will affect Nia's relationship with her mom and her sense of self worth. I have high hopes for her, though.


Levi's personality couldn't be more different from that of his mom, Chelsea. It's like a role reversal has taken place, and Levi is the parent in their relationship. He's very matter-of-fact, offering advice to Booker after his first vision and encouraging Nia to hear her brother out when she doubts his psychic abilities. Based on the pilot, it appears as if Levi's main function is to balance out Chelsea's... childlike ... mind with his own maturity. I bet she'll learn a lot from her wise beyond his years son throughout the show.


Tess is Nia's best friend, and coincidentally lives across the hall from the twins and Levi. She's very laid back, but will quickly stand up for her friends if they're in trouble. While Nia won't believe that Booker is psychic, Tess does, immediately. She also comes across as very street smart. We get the impression that she likes to spend time at the Baxter/Daniels residence as her parents may not be the greatest parental figures. We find out that her mother recently had her driver's license suspended, and we hear Tess yell at her mother about keeping the table they eat on clean. I don't want to make too many comparisons between That's So Raven and Raven's Home, but Tess definitely reminds me of Eddie (Raven and Chelsea's other best friend). I'm looking forward to seeing more of Nia and Tess's friendship.




Photo Credit: Disney Channel

And finally, we have Raven and Chelsea. Their characters haven't differed much from the That's So Raven days, except now they're two single mothers living together in Chicago. Chelsea remains naive and free spirited (asking Levi if she is his favourite in their relationship after Raven lets it slip that Booker is her child of choice), and Raven continues to try and save the day through her visions while keeping an eye on Chelsea's shenanigans. She seems like the only real parent in the house, meaning she has a lot on her plate.


Having these two stay true to the personalities they left us with a decade ago is a beautiful homage to the endless laughs they supplied then, and already have now. The humour, which is obviously G-Rated, is still very relatable to an older audience; making this show ideal for co-viewing.

Like most pilots, the series premiere gave us an overview of the characters and the big inciting incident that will keep us coming back to watch future episodes. In this case, Booker has his first vision, involving Levi getting hurt, and then one later of Nia being hit by a giant punching bag in gym class. Wondering if his vision comes true?


It does. And Nia realizes that her brother is telling the truth about his newfound powers. The two have a heart to heart, and Raven discovers her vision of what she thought was her kids getting suspended from school was actually of her getting suspended from being on school premises after injuring a gym teacher during this ordeal:


OH SNAP! (but also, the funniest scene of the episode)

All in all, my expectations were surpassed with the series premiere of Raven's Home. The kids were cast, in my opinion, perfectly, and for us who are watching because of our love of the original, Raven is like fine wine - she's only gotten better (and funnier) with age. I can't wait for what's to come in future episodes. Ya did good, Disney. This is one spinoff I have a whole lot of faith in.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the show down below! Were you impressed, or could they have done things differently? Let's get it all out on the table y'all - this ride is just getting started.

Catch Raven's Home Friday nights on Disney Channel.


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