Disney // 2003 // 90 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Joel Pearce (Retired) // February 9th, 2005
She can see the future. But she can't quite see what's coming next.
In a fair world, a 12 year old girl would be writing the review for That's So Raven. That's the target demographic, and I'm pretty sure that's what it would take to have any appreciation at all for this series. Alas, I am not and have never been a 12 year old girl, so this review will be unfair in nature. There's no way around it.
For the fortunately uninitiated, That's So Raven details the misadventures of a school-age girl named Raven (Raven, The Cosby Show, Dr. Dolittle 2), who has psychic visions. She has two friends who are in on her secret: Chelsea (Anneliese van der Pol) and Eddie (Orlando Brown, Max Keeble's Big Move). They have a variety of problems, which always somehow get sorted out in the course of the episode.
This volume contains four episodes, seemingly pulled willy-nilly from throughout the series without any thought to continuity or thematic connection:
* "That's Not So Raven"
Raven sees a vision of herself winning a fashion show, but she will have to battle a magazine editor who doesn't want to see anyone but stick-thin models on stage in order to make her dream come true.
* "If I Only Had a Job"
Raven gets her dad fired, then makes a huge fool of herself in the restaurant where he used to work.
* "He's Got the Power"
Eddie gains some temporary psychic powers when he is zapped by a nearby comet. But he isn't as secretive about his powers as Raven -- which gets him into plenty of trouble.
* "Boyz 'N Commotion"
One of the selling points of the DVD is this never-aired episode about a popular boy band that moves into Raven's house. I think I know why it was cut.
Reading viewer responses to That's So Raven on IMDb and Amazon reveals that many preteen girls think that it's about the funniest thing around. To be fair, I used to watch shows like Saved by the Bell and Full House, and I can only imagine how painful they would be to sit through now. This series doesn't feel any different than the after-school junk heap from when I was a kid. Although the gimmick of Raven's visions should make this feel different than other teeniebopper shows, it doesn't really have any effect on the plot or characters.
My biggest complaint with the show is that there is virtually no sense of continuity or development in the series. Perhaps I simply haven't seen it because I have only watched these four episodes, but I didn't feel as though I was missing anything between these shows, and I was never curious what was going to happen next. Although the message in the first episode about valuing people of all shapes and sizes is excellent, the overall message in the series seems to be that no matter how badly you screw things up, things will always sort themselves out. Raven bumbles through her life, but there are never any consequences for any of her actions, even when she does dangerous or hurtful things.
Although the first two episodes are just mildly obnoxious, the last two are significantly worse. "Boyz 'N Commotion" is so horribly conceived and executed that I feel terrible for fans of the show that pick up this DVD just for the chance to see something new.
The transfer is certainly acceptable, presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The colors are accurate and the black level is perfectly acceptable. No flaws are apparent. The audio transfer is solid as well, with a 5.1 mix that surrounds the viewer with laughter. They aren't fooling me, though. Just because they're laughing doesn't make it funny. The only extras on the disc are two music videos featuring Raven. I'm sure fans of the show will think the videos are great. The rest of us will wonder why. In fact, that's probably true about the whole show.
This DVD doesn't represent much in terms of value. When so many shows are being released by the season, a single disc with four episodes seems like a money grab, even if it is cheap.
That's So Raven is guilty, but I guess you didn't have to be psychic to see that coming.
Review content copyright © 2005 Joel Pearce; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2003
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Music Videos