Long before the recent tragic events, a little television show was conceived to offer hope for people who gather around the TV at the end of the day. Now that new ABC dramedy series “Kevin (Probably) Saves the World” can be a meaningful reminder that goodness in the world can start with a simple act of kindness.
The show stars Jason Ritter (Parenthood) as Kevin, a man who materialistically has everything, but is emotionally fragile. He has realized things like wealth and status aren’t going to make him happy and, in the midst of a downward spiral, returns to his small hometown to stay with his widowed twin sister (JoAnna Garcia Swisher from Once Upon a Time) and niece (Chloe East). On his first night there, an unlikely celestial being named Yvette (Kimberly Hebert Gregory) appears and presents him with an unbelievable mission. Whether he wants the job or not, it’s up to Kevin to save the world. Completing the fine cast are Dustin Ybarra, J. August Richards and India De Beaufort.
‘…one of the things that is in our control is bettering ourselves and looking inward.’
—actor Jason Ritter
Kevin (Probably) Saves the World is a family drama fortified with comical moments that has the same spirit of the great inspiring shows from the past such as Touched by an Angel and Highway to Heaven which offered life’s lessons that were uplifting.
The stars and the production team were at the Television Critics Association summer press tour to explain why they embraced this concept. Co-creator-producer Michele Fazekas said, “It’s real easy to feel hopeless in the world when you find ugliness in the world. So even more than the show being about God, it’s about hope, because I think it’s easy to look at the world and say ‘nothing is ever going to change.’ But our pitch for the show was — one person can’t change the world. That is impossible. But you can change yourself, and that kind of changes the world.”
Co-creator-producer Tara Butters said, “I also think we use sort of the spiritual storytelling to really get at humanity and telling human stories. I think most people, whether you believe in God or don’t believe in God, the fact is I want to see stories about real people and what they’re going through, but kind of in a slightly highlighted way.”
Jason Ritter perfectly plays Kevin with both a sense of dismay and wonderment. He said, “When I read the script I loved the mix of comedy and drama. It’s fun to see where the show goes and how there are times where he’s super into his mission. He’s like, ‘All right. Let’s do this. Let’s get it done.’ And then he rebels again, and he’s a little bit moody. He’s not the hero that you would expect to eventually take up the mantle. He’s not exactly happy being tasked with saving the world. It’s a big task.”
This reporter has known Jason Ritter (son of John Ritter and Nancy Morgan) since he was a babe in arms. And I’ve seen him grow into an incredible person and great actor. (In fact, my husband calls him “the Lunt of the Ritters.”) So, I had to ask him where he would start if he wanted to save the world? And Jason told me, “I would start right here (pointing to his chest and making a joke about a rash near his heart). I think there’s a lot that is completely out of our control. And you can obsess about things that are out of your control and let them bother you, or you can focus on the things that are in your control. And one of the things that is in our control is bettering ourselves and looking inward. Before you look outward and start blaming other people or getting upset with other people, you can look at the way that your actions affect the people around you.”
Neither Jason or his TV character Kevin are comic book heroes with superpowers, but maybe they have the right idea about making the world a better place.
Kevin (Probably) Saves the World airs Tuesday nights at 10 pm on ABC. Tune in for some hope.
Margie Barron is a member of the Television Critics Association and has written for a variety of top publications for more than 35 years, and is half of the husband and wife writing team of Margie and Frank Barron.