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The 2017-2018 fall TV season has already kicked off, and TV fans have a bunch of brand new series to choose from. ABC is set to debut a show unlike anything else on the small screen with Kevin (Probably) Saves the World, and it's exactly the kind of show that viewers may need nowadays for some feel-good fun in primetime.
Kevin (Probably) Saves the World stars Jason Ritter as the unfortunate Kevin Finn, who is really just not the best person in the world. Despite general good intentions and a somewhat tragic backstory, he veers toward selfishness and cluelessness, even around those he loves most in the world... until a meteorite strikes and an ill-advised investigation changes his life. Kevin suddenly finds himself being followed around by somebody nobody else seems to be able to see by the name of Yvette (Kimberly Hebert Gregory), who claims to be on a celestiel mission to find righteous souls for the sake of humanity.
Kevin's sister Amy (JoAnna Garcia Swisher) and niece Reese (Chloe East) need him to step up, but he's not sure if he has it in him. His ex-girlfriend Kristin (India de Beaufort) is in the mix, as well as his old friend Tyler (Dustin Ybarra). As long as Kevin stays out of the way of Deputy Nate Purcell (J. August Richards) and follows the advice of Yvette, he just might stand a chance at saving the world. The problem is that Kevin just isn't used to living his life in the service of anybody other than himself.
The series is created by Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters, who also collaborated on the tragically short-lived Marvel series Agent Carter. They've crafted a show that combines elements of fantasy and divinity with everyday struggles in ways that are funny and endearing rather than preachy or slapstick. The premise is one that probably wouldn't work without careful handling. After all, the main character is somebody who has to have some pretty glaring character flaws in order for his gradual redemption to happen, he makes some very avoidable mistakes, and a lot of the emotional beats of the first episode revolve around a teenage girl who is... somewhat difficult. The characters all have their flaws, but they're not unlikable for them, and not every show can pull that off nearly as well as Kevin (Probably) Saves the World does.
The cast deserves a lot of credit for doing justice to the creativity of the premise. Jason Ritter brings an extra layer of earnestness to his performance as Kevin, and he sells the fact that Kevin does truly mean well, even when he's being clueless. Kevin doesn't have any edge of maliciousness even as he messes up in some truly spectacular ways, and it's easy to like him in spite of his mistakes. Kevin (Probably) Saves the World wouldn't work without a fundamentally likable lead, and the show landed a winner in Jason Ritter. His journey toward redemption is only just beginning, but it's clear that he'll be able to sell the selflessness as well as the cluelessness... eventually. He may need a lot of guidance from Yvette first.
Speaking of Yvette, Kimberly Hebert Gregory bounces off of Jason Ritter well, and their dynamic should be fun to watch develop as the series progresses. She lends a sense of mischief and fun to a character that could have been rather straight-laced, and she should make Kevin's training sessions entertaining, especially if he continues to drag his heels on certain challenges. JoAnna Garcia Swisher is wonderful as well, and her relationship with her twin brother feels truly genuine. They don't look at all alike, but they feel like siblings, and that provides an emotional base for Kevin. Dustin Ybarra comes across as a sort of Jack Black/Josh Gad hybrid, which should at least be interesting.
Kevin (Probably) Saves the World has a great deal of potential, largely due to the characters that inhabit that world. The premise might not be especially engaging of not for the characters as written and performed, and the show manages to shield some of the most serious plot points with gentle humor and heart. It's not a comedy that will have you slapping your knee and gasping for breath from laughter. What Kevin (Probably) Saves the World does to perfection is deliver a feel-good combination of comedy and drama that makes for a satisfying evening of television.