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That's So Raven on DVD: Supernaturally Stylish (Volume 1) • Disguise the Limit (Volume 2)
Raven's House Party (Volume 3) • Raven's Makeover Madness (Volume 4)

"That's So Raven" Supernaturally Stylish DVD Review

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Show & DVD Details

Directors: Sean McNamara, John Tracy, Debbie Allen, Rich Correll

Cast: Raven (Raven Baxter), Orlando Brown (Eddie Thomas), Kyle Massey (Cory Baxter), Anneliese van der Pol (Chelsea Daniels), T'Keyah Crystal Keymáh (Tonya Baxter), Rondell Sheridan (Victor Baxter)

Notable Guest Stars: Ernie Sabella (Mr. Petrachelli), David Joyner (Pizza Pals), Haylie Duff (Katina)

Running Time: 90 minutes (4 episodes) / Rating: TV-G
1.33:1 Fullscreen (Original Broadcast Ratio) / Dolby Digital 5.1 (English)
Subtitles: English; Closed Captioned; White keepcase
DVD Release Date: December 7, 2004 / Originally aired between 2003 and 2004
Single-sided, dual-layered disc (DVD-9); Suggested Retail Price: $19.99

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By Jack Seiley

After the successes of shows like "Even Stevens" and especially "Lizzie McGuire", the Disney Channel seems to have found what they think is the formula for creating a popular sitcom for tweens.
This is evident when viewing their newer batch of television shows, such as "Phil of the Future" and the oddly-titled "That’s So Raven", which both seem to have generally adhered to the format of previous shows. While "Phil" seems similar to "Stevens", "Raven" takes after "Lizzie."

There are several obvious connections between it and the Hilary Duff star vehicle. The setting is a four-person family - the San Franciscan Baxters. An older sister is the main character (who just so happens to be psychic), having two other friends who feature prominently, all serving as the focus of the series. A younger brother is generally the source for comic relief and side stories within the individual episodes. Also like "Lizzie", it tries to be fresh and original, and does its best to have a mix of both comedy and moral lessons. These elements are all used to prop up what Disney Channel obviously hoped would become the next teen idol, Raven Symone (who alternates between using her first name only and using her full name), who previously played side characters on "The Cosby Show" and DC’s own Zenon movies.

Does "That’s So Raven" achieve the quality of the channel’s previous efforts? I’d answer with a resounding “no.” The show is plagued by several problems that I, frankly, could spend hours nit-picking. However, I’ll do my best to condense my viewpoint on all the flaws the show possesses into a few paragraphs.

Raven, Chelsea, and Eddie spew poorly-written slang.

First off, the concept isn’t very good. By having the main character possess psychic powers, it is expected that each episode’s story will revolve around that ability. That’s exactly how the series plays out . . . and it gets tiresome . . . quickly. Every episode I’ve watched begins with Raven having a vision, usually about someone else, and then spending the rest of the runtime trying to prevent whatever it is she foresaw from happening.

Browse through more available That's So Raven posters
This almost always leads to her dressing up in weird, over-the-top outfits for the climax of each show to get what she wants, being foiled, and then realizing some lesson. There’s little to no variation.

Now, while such severe predictability is inherently bad for a TV series, I’m willing to believe it could have worked with good writing. Unfortunately, the writing is horrible. The dialogue Raven exchanges with her friends Chelsea and Eddie oftentimes sounds like it was written by a bunch of 40-year-olds going through mid-life crises, who are desperately trying to sound “hip” and “cool” for today’s generation.

In addition, the actors all do piss-poor jobs. I get the vibe that everyone in the cast is capable of doing better, but it seems they over-overact on purpose because it’s a “kids' show.” This makes the whole thing feel extremely staged and acted-out, making it darn near impossible to give a rat’s hiney about any of the characters.

In the end, the thing that really kills the show is that it doesn’t succeed at anything its trying to do. It does its best be over-the-top and cheesy to get laughs, and then be serious to deliver a moral, but it fails for all the reasons I’ve stated above. Still, some shows are funny because they are so bad - in the case of "Raven", I can’t even say that much. I’m willing to admit that there are a few amusing jokes once in a while, but the show is almost completely devoid of entertainment value and feels completely manufactured. Without restraint, I believe it’s the worst show on the Disney Channel, and definitely one of the worst on TV today.

The cheap series makes its DVD debut in "That’s So Raven": Supernaturally Stylish, a single-disc package that contains 3 episodes from previous airings, and 1 never-before-seen show. The release’s theme is obviously fashion, and all the episodes keep with that, some more directly than others.

Raven - the chuckiest model in town. The three friends dress up, as they do in nearly every episode.


“That’s So Not Raven” (Originally aired April 9, 2004)
After having a vision of herself walking down a model runway in a self-designed dress, Raven confidently tries out for winning a place on the cover of a popular teen fashion magazine. Though she’s a hit at the tryout, the judges aren’t too happy with her chunky figure, so she decides to try to work out and slim down.
After a cheesy CGI fly ruins her exercise, Raven feels discouraged and almost decides to let a sooooo skinny model wear her dress instead, until a sass-talkin’ make-up assistant makes the teen proud to be plump. All the while, little brother Cory is doing his best to acquire a “Game Ball” (ew?) video game system.

“If I Only Had a Job” (Originally aired September 12, 2003)
Raven has a vision of her father being fired from his job as a chef, and decides to go down to the restaurant to praise Dad and suck-up to the guy in charge. However, this only irritates the prissy owner further, and Papa Baxter is fired anyway. Determined for him to get his job back, Raven dresses up as a fake music star, with Eddie and Chelsea playing her assistants. They go down to the restaurant and convince the owner that they are legit (*rolls eyes*). They proceed to loudly sing “Since Victor Left the Food’s No Good” (set to “When the Saints Go Marching In”) and pretend to complain to Jennifer Lopez via cell phone about Mr. Baxter’s job loss. In the end, the boss discovers their true identities, and Raven’s dad still doesn’t get his job back, but father and daughter “come together in a touching moment” anyway.

“He’s Got the Power” (Originally aired July 9, 2004)
When a comet flies over San Fran, Eddie seems to have been stricken with the same psychic powers Raven has. Though his two friends discourage him, Eddie uses his power to see into the future to gain superficial popularity in the school, trying to get the attention of one girl in particular (Hayley Duff, Hilary’s older sister, playing a part very similar to her role in the excellent movie Napoleon Dynamite). When the comet leaves earth, Eddie loses his visions, and soon gets into trouble with a bully who was depending on the teen’s abilities for gambling. Raven and Chelsea save Eddie from being beat up, though, when they dress up as ‘70s funk-talking undercover cops who “inspect marshmallows” (again, rolls eyes).

“Boyz ‘N Commotion” (Never-Before-Seen Episode)
A popular boy band (a fake one – looks like they are played by models) comes to eat at Raven’s father’s restaurant, and Raven manages to spread the news all over school, causing a mob at the eatery. To get away from the throng of fans, Raven takes the three boys to her house. Upon having a home-cooked meal, the guys decide to stay for a while, and in return, promise to have Raven’s back for anything. Therefore, to prove she knows the “Boyz”, Raven promises her school they will perform that night. But in getting used to staying at a real house, the band decides to quit showbiz, and it seems Raven’s promise won’t be fulfilled . . . until Mrs. Baxter talks some hard-core “Miss Attitude” sense into the band. During this, Cory tries to collect anything the members of the pop group touch to sell on the internet for big bucks. The episode ends like most of this kind do – a lengthy on-stage performance.

Does Hilary know Hayley likes Orlando? The Boyz 'N Motion perform, and manage to be almost as bad as Raven . . . almost.


The shows are presented in their original aspect ratios of 1.33:1. They look as good as expected, perhaps a small step above the television airings. It’s very clear and colorful throughout.

One problem with the visuals: the series is shot with low-grade digital video and the whole program showcases the blurry shortcomings of less-than-first-rate DV. This isn't at all unique to the DVD; it's how the show looks when it airs. Surely the producers must recognize this, but they probably keep using it for the technological appeal, efficiency, and evident cost-effectiveness. The result is that the show looks like the quick Lizzie McGuire "flashback" sequences all the time.

The audio surprisingly comes as Dolby Digital 5.1. It’s a strong mix for a TV show of this nature, particularly during the opening song of each episode, delivering excellent bass. Of course, most of it is dialogue-based, but the audio contains good balance for that end of the spectrum as well. I didn’t notice any audio coming from the rear surround speakers. I’m sure some is there, but it's not prominent, and probably few-and-far between.

That's So Raven: Supernaturally Stylish Main Menu "Supernatural" Music Video "That's So Raven" Music Video


All we get are 2 Raven music videos (actually, I’m glad there weren’t more). The first is “Supernatural” (3:36), featuring Raven performing in a concert-like setting.
The second is “That’s So Raven” (1:31), a video for the song’s theme song. Raven’s minimal talent aside, the videos are run-of-the-mill. There’s nothing different about them from nearly every other teen pop act we’ve seen from Disney.

Sneak Peeks are included for Bambi: Platinum Edition, Kim Possible: The Villian Files, Mulan 2, Where the Red Fern Grows, and The Cheetah Girls.

Inside the standard white Amaray keepcase are a 1-page insert listing the episodes and advertising other Disney Channel DVDs, a sweepstakes entry form to win a Disney DVD Library, and a coupon booklet for other titles.

That's So... Raven!


I’ve already expressed my feelings about this show extensively, so I’ll put it simply: I would never recommend any DVD incarnation of it. That being said, for those who actually like the series, I still wouldn’t suggest picking up this release. If Disney follows the same pattern as the "Lizzie McGuire" DVD releases – several of these mini-compellations will eventually give way to a more satisfying chronological box set. If anybody wants this series in their collection (I couldn’t imagine why), they’d be better off waiting for a "Raven" season set.

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Related Reviews:
The Disney Channel:
Kim Possible: The Villain FilesLizzie McGuire: Box Set Volume 1Hannah Montana: Livin' the Rock Star Life!
That's So Suite Life of Hannah MontanaCory in the House: All-Star EditionWish Gone Amiss
The Cheetah Girls 2: Cheetah-licious EditionThe Suite Life of Zack & Cody: Taking Over the Tipton
Disney Channel Holiday (Featuring Christmas episode of "That's So Raven" and other comedy series) • High School Musical: Remix
Mickey Mouse Club: The Best of Britney, Justin & ChristinaPhil of the Future: Gadgets & Gizmos

Other Disney DVDs with Raven on them:
The Princess Diaries 2: Royal EngagementThe Lion King 1½The Haunted Mansion

UltimateDisney.com | DVD Review Index | TV Shows Page - Disney Channel | Search This SIte

That's So Raven on DVD: Supernaturally Stylish (Volume 1) • Disguise the Limit (Volume 2)
Raven's House Party (Volume 3) • Raven's Makeover Madness (Volume 4)

Reviewed December 10, 2004.