Kevin (Probably) Saves the World is (probably) not what you’re expecting. The mystical ABC dramedy is a technicolor dreamcoat with a far-out premise: Lost soul Kevin (Jason Ritter) encounters a meteor carrying a divine passenger, Yvette (Kimberly Hebert Gregory), a “messenger of God” only he can see. Yvette brings good news: Kevin has been chosen to save the world. Let the spiritual hijinks ensue.
Accepting Kevin’s celestial quirk takes a leap, especially given the warm-but-unsentimental world the show grounds itself in before its protagonist’s meteoric change of circumstance. Kevin has just moved back to his hometown to stay with his twin sister Amy (JoAnna Garcia Swisher), an engineering professor raising her teenage daughter, Reese (Chloe East). Despite the affection between them, Kevin and Amy fall (realistically) short of knowing each other’s every thought. They’re unsure how to act around one another, each nursing their own trauma.
That fraught family dynamic is the show’s most appealing aspect; Swisher is likable as ever, and as Amy and Kevin’s history comes to light, it’s easy to root for them to rebuild. Even Reese, who could still use more depth, eventually rises above her angsty-teen starting point. But the relatable pain binding these relationships feels a step out of sync with Yvette’s angelic tricks. Some resolutions veer too syrupy, and the pilot can’t seem to figure out how often the people around Kevin are meant to care that he’s talking to thin air.
Still, Ritter’s charisma works wonders, and his bewildered charm helps tie together the show’s most mismatched elements. “I think everything is beautiful,” Kevin sputters the day after his righteous anointment, “and I don’t like it!” It’s that reluctant optimism that will likely help draw in fans looking for escape in a story of self-betterment. If nothing else, it’s worth checking in just to see where on heaven or earth this show goes. B