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Kevin (Probably) Saves The World - Pilot - Advance Preview: "Something Different"



Kevin (Probably) Saves The World is an unusual show. It’s deeply sappy and emotional, itching for a dramatic undertone while never abandoning a joke even when it’s clear that the scenes are playing out to be more serious. Somehow, it is a drama and comedy in every single second, and while that may be considered a “dramedy” in reality what dramedies do is to switch between drama and comedy as the scenes progresses, not blend them. I feel many times this show blends drama and comedy and for some people it’ll be off putting, but I see it as refreshingly new and interesting, especially when the show pulls it off well.

The premise is insane and it has a seriously big risk of being too preachy: a meteor strikes and through interacting with it our main protagonist, Kevin, becomes the man who will save mankind by essentially spreading love. It’s a super cheesy concept that could have easily become “Being catholic saves the world, the show”, but the show (thankfully) never goes there: in fact, it doesn’t make allusion to any religions, with Kevin’s guide (Yvette) rejecting the term “angel” to describe her (she is more like a “warrior from god”, and while the term god itself will flee some audiences, it is clear the show doesn’t want to alienate people of beliefs that differ from christianity or catholicism).

The show never tells you a specific religion is right, it has a wider message of being good to others. However, the show will have to keep steering away from religion comparisons in the following episodes to be truly universal, and while the allusions could and should be made in the future, it should never marginalize other for its believes and it is a risk inherently tied to this premise. But as far as the pilot goes, the show never goes there, it invites everyone to be part of this feel good message regardless of their beliefs, and for the most part, it succeeds.

Now, Kevin pilot presents 3 different plot lines: Kevin’s family life drama, Kevin’s sister Amy’s job, and Kevin’s spiritual awakening and task to save mankind. All of these works to different degrees, with Amy’s job being the weakest plot line and one I’d suggest the show to drop unless they can find something compelling about it that doesn’t fall into the generic subplot that high concept dramas usually have, because I can see this plotline breaking the suspension of disbelief and possibly leading audiences to believe this show makes no sense as it clearly distracts you and breaks the immersion because it is clear what it intends to do.

However, the other two plot lines work well, and there are moments that are incredibly poignant: Kevin’s family drama starts with some known ground but soon starts becoming its own thing. What started as a distant family member moving in with family quickly starts becoming something deeper as we see Kevin growing closer to his niece (Reese) and reconnecting with his sister. It doesn’t happen all at once, it is spread out through the episode, and Jason Ritter’s performance as Kevin is so nuanced that it was impossible for me not to feel for him. While this show has for the most part an uplifting vibe that it never truly abandons, it has some moments that are truly touching and sad. The bright colors of this show and the empty atmosphere around these scenes, curiously enough, only enhance the sense of honesty while the characters bear out their true feelings.

The weird part of these scenes is that gags are usually sandwiched in the middle of these truly touching scenes, making for comedic inclusions that would seem tone deaf, but actually manage to hit just when they need to. It is a back and forth of drama and comedy that works surprisingly well within said scenes, a blending in the same space that works even when it shouldn’t, and I have to compliment the performances and the art direction for making it possible. The show’s atmosphere allows for light hearted comedy in the same space as honest character drama, as it feels story significant and character rooted. It is weird that such a blending works, but it does, and these are some of the moments when the show truly soars.

Kevin’s spiritual awakening and guidance through the “angel” like figure of Yvette is what leads most of the comedy as Kevin shows to be the reluctant hero that shows no faith or will to perform the important task he has been given. Treating the spiritual awakening as a comedy for the most part works well to swallow the premise of the show, it also gives us a platform to sustain our suspension of disbelief. This part of the show is also what moves the plot forward, so it has its dramatic moments, but the beats are mostly played for smiles. Not laugh, smiles, this is a show that aims to make you feel good more than make you laugh out loud.

Suffice to say the pilot is not perfect: the start and the dialogue on the first 10 minutes are very clunky, the effects on the screening (which was a rough cut) didn’t look promising, but the heart of the show easily soars it past its flaws as it has a vulnerability to it that I think viewers can relate to and a message of kindness and hope that I think audiences really crave for.

That being said, Kevin (Probably) Saves The World is probably too weird to be a hit. It’s not a show for everyone, some will call it preachy, some will call it sappy, some others cheesy, and some will complain about the inherently complex story and how some of the plots just don’t click together as they should and change the tone so profoundly that it makes it hard to overlook. But there is something to this show that is unlike everything else I have seen: the sincerity and honesty of the feelings it wants to convey are truly touching and poignant.

Kevin (Probably) Saves The World works best as an empathic show, when it makes us empathize with the characters on screen it does so effortlessly, it hits the smiles it wants to create and feels you with warm. If the writers focus on the strong empathy they can convey with the show, this could be a unique experience that brings joy in landscape of television filled with a lot of dark shows that deal with gritty realities. I love those shows, but a show that inherently believes the world can be saved through kindness is like a warm blanket on a rainy night, cozy and pleasant.

The performances are strong and so is the art direction, the blend of drama and comedy works incredibly and very differently from other dramedies on the air, and it has a touching sincerity. The problem is that the show has a very clunky start and the plot seems to rely on doesn’t look at all promising, making a hard case for coming back on a weekly basis.

I don’t see this show being a hit, but I’m glad it exists. It managed to make me smile and feel good, which was its goal all along. I have the feeling it may not click with many audiences because its flaws can be very distracting, but its strengths should not be overlooked. Give it a try, judge for yourself if you should follow it or not, I think whether you like this show or not, you’ll definitely experience something different, and I think new experiences (good or bad) are important to witness in television, as we all know it can be formulaic and by the numbers, so when a show tries something new, even if it may not hit with you, it should be given a chance.

Grade: B





 
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