Last night was the first episode of Kevin (Probably) Saves the World, a new show starring Jason Ritter as the titular Kevin who is tasked with becoming a better person and being kinder to people by a “warrior from God” named Yvette. The problem with the show isn’t Kevin — it’s everything else.
The show itself begins perfectly fine, with Kevin moving in to his sister’s house (his sister played by JoAnna Garcia Swisher, whom I know better as Cheyenne from Reba). The slow reveal of his backstory — that he used to be a high powered banker, but lost his job and his girlfriend and then tried to commit suicide — is actually pretty fascinating. An introspective look at someone with depression trying to reconnect with their family would have been a very interesting show, especially since Jason Ritter has fantastic chemistry with the other actors (there’s even a great scene where he’s tossing around ideas for YA novels with his niece and the best title he can come up with is Vampire Sluts).
Unfortunately, that’s not the actual plot of the show. The plot of the show kicks off when 36 meteorites hit the Earth and one of them is near where Kevin is. When Kevin and his niece find it, Kevin decides to touch it and then gets knocked unconscious, wakes up having driven the meteorite back home, and then in the night, the meteorite “hatches” and becomes a “warrior from God” named Yvette. Who then tells Kevin that he is one of the 36 “righteous” people who protect the world and that he is the last of the righteous and needs to “build up his spiritual energy” in order to find and anoint 35 more people.
On the face of it, this type of story could also be interesting, especially in conjunction with the first type (man with depression coming home and trying to deal with his family). Unfortunately, the way this show did things is...not at all interesting and, frankly, kind of boring. Yvette is a “warrior from God” (as she states), but appears to be the kind of angel from Touched by an Angel, only that nobody else can see her and also she’s kind of a dick. She wants Kevin to let go of all worldly possessions, so she arranges his car to be run over by a tractor. Never mind that he needs the car to get around and not having the car results in him not being able to pick up his niece from school, which causes his sister to call him irresponsible (why he doesn’t tell her that his car was run over, I have no idea).
It’s an idea that’s been done before (such as in the flawed by fascinating Joan of Arcadia, which also had Jason Ritter in it), but this show doesn’t really do anything new with the concept. Kevin has to learn to be a better person, got it. Why? Because he’s the Chosen One. Why is he the Chosen One? Because he is. Why is the last of the righteous? No idea, they never explain it. Why 36 righteous? Well, I know that, because I know about the 36 tzadikim from the Talmud, but nowhere in the show is it explained.
Honestly, cut the entire “angel helps Kevin become a better person” plot out and the show would have been much, much better. Jason Ritter seems so much more comfortable bantering against his sister and niece than he does talking to an invisible angel.
Even more disappointing, the show comes from Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters, the showrunners of Agent Carter and Reaper, another show about a “Chosen One” type character, but one that ended up subverting and undermining expectations and made a lot of fun out of explaining the mythology and rules of the world. Kevin (Probably) Saves the World was previously called The Gospel of Kevin and that definitely makes it seem as if there was some sort of executive interference. Perhaps a previous version of this show would have been better. Perhaps later episodes will make more sense.
Perhaps, if there’s nothing else on, I’ll watch another episode.