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Series / Kevin (Probably) Saves the World

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Let's hope he does.
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A live-action dramedy on ABC starring Jason Ritter.

Kevin Finn recently tried to kill himself. After surviving the attempt, the down on his luck guy crashes with his recently widowed sister Amy, and her moody teenage daughter Reese. But before his first night even ends, Kevin meets a strange woman named Yvette. Who just happens to be an angel.

Kevin has been chosen for a special job. To help her locate the 36 righteous souls that dwell on Earth.

She probably should have picked someone else...

Cancelled after 1 season.

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Tropes:

  • Adorkable: Kevin is referred to as having a quirky but cute look to him. Which extreme he's perceived as depends on the person.
  • All-Loving Hero: Kevin quickly settles into this. Nathan admits surprise to see him literally give a man the clothes off his back.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Yvette describes Kevin as having the attention span of a labradoodle. He immediately cops to it.
  • Big Damn Heroes: In "Rocky Road," when Reese falls off a catwalk, Yvette suspends her in air long enough for Kevin to run over and catch her.
  • Big Fun: Tyler is somewhat on the larger side but is an irrepressibly cheerful person.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Dave. Initially coming off as a Big Fun angel to contrast Yvette's more straightforward approach, he's eventually revealed to be pissed about being stuck on Earth. And attempts to sabotage Kevin's efforts to find the righteous
  • Bittersweet Ending:
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    • "Fishtail": Kevin finds another righteous soul, but his friendship with Tyler is shattered.
    • "Old Friends": Kevin repairs his friendship with Tyler and has a moment with Kristin, but Dave is electrocuted and vanishes.
  • Brought Down to Normal: The longer Yvette and Dave hang around humans, the more human they become. Which includes a gradual weakening of their divine invincibility, eventually resulting in Dave's death.
  • Bungled Suicide: Why Kevin is still alive.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live:
    • "Listen Up" stresses that signs will follow Kevin wherever he goes and even harass him if he tries to ignore his missions.
    • "How to be Good" sees him repeatedly trying to leave the diner, only to keep arriving in different rooms there.
      Kevin: You know what? I think the universe wants me to stay here.
      [Yvette claps]
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Becky (a school security guard) is a minor complication in "Solo" and the focus of a mission in "World's Worst Domino." She even becomes Tyler's girlfriend.
  • The Chosen One: Kevin, much to his bemusement.
  • Cool Teacher: Kevin sits in on Kristin's class in "The Ugly Sleep" and hits it off with the students. Kristin recommends him for a substitute teacher position. Enter the self-titled Mr. Fun.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Reese starts out barely tolerating Kevin's presence. She eases up as the series goes on.
  • Despair Event Horizon:
    • Kevin crossed it before the first episode, losing his job and girlfriend in succession, getting very drunk, and almost killing himself.
    • When it looks like they went to Laos for nothing, Yvette loses all hope in the mission and leaves to get drunk.
  • Didn't Think This Through: When Kevin tries to spare Tyler's feeling by saying he was his "Lady From Laos, he doesn't exactly think about one thing: That Tyler will be pissed.
  • Disaster Dominoes: Discussed in "World's Worst Domino" when Kevin thinks he needs to simply get Becky her job back. He then finds her replacement has already been hired: a kind retired police officer who is putting her daughter through nursing school. Kevin quickly dreads how following through on his original plan would hurt a friendly guy, prevent the guy's daughter from fulfilling her dream, and endanger all those she's destined to help as a nurse, so he immediately changes course.
  • Distaff Counterpart: It's quickly apparent when they meet that Tyler and Becky think alike, have similar foibles, and the same optimistic outlook.
  • Easily Forgiven:
    • The other angels abandon the mission early on, leaving Yvette in the lurch, and Dave makes it perfectly clear why this happened. Everyone but Dave returns after the righteous soul in Laos is found, and Yvette doesn't begrudge them in the slightest (saying she knows what it was like to lose faith). Dave later explains he didn't return because he knew he wouldn't be welcomed back so easily and had to wait for Yvette to come to him first.
    • Subverted after Tyler learns that Kevin wrote a bunch of emails pretending to be the woman he met in Laos. Things are not settled at the end of the episode, and it takes a major gesture to fix things.
  • Enter Stage Window: In "Fishtail," Nathan spends the night with Amy and has to sneak out the window before Reese sees him. Amy gets a thrill out of this and invites him to sneak up to her room that night with a ladder. Unfortunately, Nathan's trying that just as Reese is preparing to sneak out and accidentally causes the truck to back into the ladder. At the end of the episode, Amy says she's going over to Nathan's to try the idea herself.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin
  • Friendship Moment: "Sweet Little Lies" ends with Kevin telling Tyler and Kristin why he really came back home. Tyler and then Kristin confess some secrets of their own as a show of support.
  • Genre Savvy: Kevin tries to figure out his vision by putting what they know on a "murder board." Yvette is skeptical, but Kevin says it's what they do on detective shows to organize clues and solve mysteries. Amusingly, whereas Yvette doesn't understand, Dave actually gets the reference.
  • Guardian Angel: Yvette is Kevin's. Ava is shown to be the guardian of the newborn baby in Laos.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Dave departs certain Kevin's missions are a waste of time and hating being on Earth, but after living among humans for a while, his outlook greatly changes, and he genuinely tries to help however he can.
  • Heel Realization: Much of the season sees Kevin recognizing how awful he was to his friends and family over the years and looking to atone.
  • Hope Springs Eternal: Early on, Yvette has hope they will succeed because she found Kevin (flawed as he is). However, she learns the other angels have actually lost hope because they haven't found their charges yet.
  • Hypocrite: Kevin is content to write off Lucille on the grounds that she's a horrible person. Yvette points out Kevin was hardly a paragon of virtue. Crosses into Hypocritical Humor when she shows him various ways he's misbehaved throughout his life.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: According to Yvette, the righteous souls are not some larger than life figures, just extremely goodhearted people that can come from any walk of life.
  • Interspecies Romance: Tyler has a crush on Yvette (the angel) after meeting her in Laos.
  • Invisible to Normals: The Angels are only visible to those they choose to be visible to. But as they become more human, they start losing this ability.
  • It's All My Fault:
    • Amy feels responsible for Kevin's current state because she ignored the phone call he made right before his suicide attempt.
    • In "World's Worst Domino," Kevin thinks Becky got fired from her security job because of the prank he masterminded in "Solo" and feels awful. Subverted in that she got fired because she was simply bad at her job (with Kristin listing various screw-ups). Of course, Kevin still sympathizes with her and tries to help her out.
  • Keeping Secrets Sucks: Kevin hates that his overall mission requires him to constantly lie to his friends and family.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When pitching helping the team, recurring character Dave says he'll just be around short-term.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Yvette starts to doubt the validity of her plan after Dave confronts her about it, believing that she stranded the other angels on Earth for nothing. Turns out she was right all along and Dave was wrong.
  • Nice Guy: Tyler. Kevin worries that that just makes it easy for people to take advantage of and abuse him, but Tyler is completely content and keeps seeing the upside to everything.
  • Not So Stoic: Yvette reacts to Dave's death in increasingly emotional terms. Since it's coming alongside her becoming more human in general, it's all hitting her pretty hard, and she doesn't know what to do.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Kevin the first time he learns an angel can be visible to normals.
    • In "World's Worst Domino," Amy and Reese look over security footage and see a blip that viewers know is Yvette.
  • The Power of Friendship: Kevin tries to fix his friendship with Tyler with assorted materialistic gestures, but he realizes he doesn't actually know his best friend very well and that a more personal overture is required. After Kevin offers a heartfelt apology and a promise to be a better friend, Tyler forgives him and kisses him on the lips.
  • Properly Paranoid:
    • Reese expresses certainty that someone is helping Kevin in his various tasks and that that's who he's always talking to.
    • In "World's Worst Domino," Amy hears Yvette walking around and gets spooked. While talking it over with Kevin and Reese, the latter suggests a dead person is in the house.
  • Rant-Inducing Slight: When Reese asks why she refuses to believe in guardian angels, Amy rants about how that means some people (specifically her husband) die in accidents that could've easily been prevented.
  • Secret Chaser: Reese notices how Kevin keeps talking to himself and slowly begins to suspect he's not just crazy. Seeing him experience a car wreck in "How to be Good" completely unscathed just makes her more suspicious, and she confronts him at the end of the episode.
  • Shadow Archetype: Kevin is one to Tyler. Both experienced failed relationships and had to move in with immediate family, but Tyler is consistently upbeat about whatever comes his way, while Kevin is deeply shaken.
  • Shared Universe: With Reaper, with Sam Oliver and Sock appearing in one episode.
  • Ship Sinking: Subverted in "The Right Thing" with Kevin and Kristin's relationship. It looks like his job is going to derail it on the grounds of Being Good Sucks, but Kevin stays committed.
  • Shrinking Violet: Reese starts out as this: depressed over her father's death, resenting her neglectful uncle, and generally refusing to associate with other teenagers. She slowly starts to come out of it over the first few episodes.
  • Skepticism Failure: Amy absolutely refuses to believe in the concept of guardian angels because of what happened to her husband, but then she realizes the blip in the security footage is the same woman who came to her doorstep looking for help. And then Kevin tells her the whole truth and Yvette confirms it, so Amy does the only rational thing she can: faint.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: In "Fishtail," Amy is irritated by Reese's attempt to sneak out, but she's also delighted that she actually has a social life after spending months sheltered and depressed. While grounding her, Amy provides Reese the perfect story that'll make her sound cool to her new friends.
  • Time to Unlock More True Potential: The point of Kevin's week-to-week missions. Each successfully completed mission gives him a vision and increases the spiritual energy he needs to find the righteous souls.
  • Tongue-Tied: The higher powers ensure Kevin is incapable of telling others what his job is. Any attempt to do so will result in him telling a different truth, such as confessing a random secret.
  • Title Drop: "I'm like the world's worst domino."
  • Tragic Keepsake:
    • Amy is initially reluctant to finish fixing up her broken down truck because it was a project she and her husband John were working on together. To her, finishing the repairs means she'll have to fully accept his death and give up her last connection to him.
    • Lucille says this of the supposed antique clock in "How to be Good," that it's all she has to remember her father after her sister took the rest of the inheritance. Yes, she stole the clock from her sister, but she genuinely feels it belongs to her and misses her father.
  • Tzadikim Nistarim: Kevin is one of the 36 righteous souls, but for some unknown reason the other 35 are nowhere to be found. Kevin's job is to find them all. He has found 3: in episode 9, a newborn Laotian baby girl; in episode 13, a Canadian realtor; and in episode 16, a rich man's nephew.
  • We Help the Helpless: Kevin's week-to-week missions see him helping those down on their luck in some way.
  • Wham Episode: For all of Kevin's denials, "Rocky Road" confirms Reese and Amy's suspicions that he's involved in something big and not crazy.
  • Wham Line: "The Right Thing" when Amy demands to know the whole truth and actually gets it:
    Kevin: That meteor wasn't a meteor; it was actually a warrior from God. Her name is Yvette, and she was sent here to protect me because I was the last righteous soul, and my mission is to anoint new righteous souls and save the world. Wait, did I say that?
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: Kevin goes through something like this when he hugs a righteous soul. He can't remember a thing in the day that follows, but he's described as being full of energy and excitement afterwards. "The Right Thing" shows the same is true of the righteous soul.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Kevin is livid when he learns Yvette could've revealed herself to others, which would've spared him assorted embarrassment, and wonders what else she's been hiding from him.
    • When Amy finds out the events of "How to be Good" causes Reese to be arrested, she hits the roof: she kicks Kevin out of the house, she reprimands Reese, and she chews out Nathan for not telling her what happened.
  • Will They or Won't They?:
    • Kevin and Kristin were an item before he left for college, but he never returned her calls and left her hanging. When he moves back, they have a one-night stand, but she doesn't want to pursue anything further. He agrees (even giving her the formal break-up she deserved years ago), but the tease lingers (such as when she leans on him after her mother dies). They get back together in "Old Friends."
    • Kevin picks up on how Nathan is interested in Amy and suggests he go for it. It immediately gets thrown complications by Reese (who fears her mother just isn't ready to date anyone) and the emergence of a Romantic False Lead, but Nathan and Amy eventually start dating.
  • Woobie of the Week: Kevin's weekly missions. Sometimes, they're directly connected to one of the righteous souls.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Yvette and her fellow angels are stranded on Earth after leaving home. Certain angels like Dave aren't happy about this, and resort to outright sabotage.
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