What if an angel told you that you could save the world?
Well, if you’re like the titular character in ABC’s Kevin (Probably) Saves the World, you’d think you’ve gone crazy.
But Kevin (Jason Ritter) hasn’t gone insane — he’s been chosen. An angel named Yvette (Kimberly Hebert Gregory) arrives on earth and tells him he must find the other 35 righteous people on the planet.
Kevin doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who can save the world. He’s down on his luck and recently attempted suicide. And he moves in with his twin sister, Amy (JoAnna Garcia Swisher), and her daughter, Reese (Chloe East), who aren’t happy that he’s been MIA for years.
While he attempts to repair his relationships, Kevin also has to deal with this whole righteous mission.
Here are six things to know about this new dramedy, premiering Tuesday:
1. It was inspired by the election.
Co-creators Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters worked on the pilot just after the 2016 presidential election, and the bitterness and divisiveness of it led them to Kevin.
“No matter what side of the political spectrum you’re on, it was just a crummy campaign year,” Fazekas says. “In a world of Twitter and social media, it’s very easy to find ugliness in the world. Go onto a message board on any news site. Or just watch the news. You start to feel like, ‘Oh my God, this is never going to change.’ So, there was this bit of hopelessness. And we wanted to write something that was about hope.”
Butters adds, “When we were talking about hope, the natural place you start is with someone who’s lost their hope.” Thus: Meet Kevin.
2. It’s not a religious show.
Though there are mentions of God, angels, and righteous people, Kevin doesn’t refer to any particular religion.
“We will never quote from religious texts,” Fazekas says. “Even our director, when he read the script, he goes, ‘I think it’s great and I’m an atheist!'”
The point they’re trying to get across is, as Fazekas puts it, “Don’t be an a**hole. Just be cool. Be a good person.”
Ritter adds, “One of the themes of the show is putting yourself aside a little bit and opening your eyes to the people around you.”
3. It doesn’t fit into a particular genre.
Fazekas and Butters wrote for Agent Carter and liked its mix of drama, comedy, action, and adventure. They wanted to incorporate that into Kevin, and that’s what Ritter was drawn to.
“I would also describe it as a funny show and an exciting show, and there’s an element of mystery and clue-finding,” he says. “I have a hard time describing the show. And that’s one of the things I like about it — it’s not easy to just put into a box.”
4. It’s modeled after The X-Files.
The creators worked on the iconic show as assistants and wanted the same balance of episodic “case of the week” stories and a larger mythology. So, week to week, Kevin will have a “case” to tackle.
“In the first several episodes, he’s building up his spiritual power,” Ritter explains. “The universe guides him to someone he needs to help or that he can do something for. But people are weirded out by a stranger saying, ‘I’d like to help and I’m not going to take no for an answer.’ It’s a little more challenging than Kevin thinks.”
Every time Kevin builds his power, he gets a vision. And those visions will lead him to a righteous person. “His episodic story is helping him in the big picture,” Butters says. “In the first season, he may only find two or three of them.”
5. It doesn’t present Yvette the Angel as perfect.
For a divine being, Yvette has her flaws, too.
“I find perfect boring. She has her own agenda. Kevin is essentially a tool in her agenda,” Fazekas says. “She doesn’t always make the right choices. She doesn’t always have the right reactions. Even if you’re talking about actual angels from the Bible or whatever, they’re not perfect either.”
And that agenda will reveal itself over the course of the season. “We also learn that Yvette isn’t telling Kevin everything,” Butters says.
6. It has a dream cast.
Ritter says he feels lucky to work with his fellow actors on the show. “I keep on waiting for the other shoe to drop,” he says with a laugh. “I feel like, OK, I’ve seen how this goes — the first couple episodes of the Real World everyone is like, ‘Hiiiii, so nice to meet you,’ and it all comes out later. So far, it’s really incredible.”
Kevin (Probably) Saves the World premieres Oct. 3 at 10 p.m. on ABC.
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