Kevin Can Wait (2016) TV Pilot Review

Kevin Can Wait follows a newly retired police officer whose plans for a relaxed life are derailed by his daughter moving back home.

Warning there may be spoilers ahead.

Fans of Kevin James’ previous show The King of Queens are very excited that he is back on screens in Kevin Can Wait. However, I’ll start by saying that I’ve never seen The King of Queens so I’m not going to be much use in terms of comparison between the two. But judging by the following that The King of Queens has, it seems that Kevin Can Wait has a lot to live up to.


From its promo, which debuted at Upfronts week back in May, it was set up as your typical family sitcom and that’s exactly what the pilot presented. It’s a tried and tested genre that has been successful time and time again. And for fans of this type of show it delivered everything you’d hope. But sticking rigidly to this winning formula may be where Kevin Can Wait is going wrong. It doesn’t really bring anything new, we’ve seen it all before. And with comedies like The Good Place and Son of Zorn that have innovative and fresh premises premiering this Fall, it will be hard for a show like Kevin Can Wait to stand out.

One thing that the show does have in its favour is the incredibly funny Kevin James. In the pilot he’s great from start to finish. It’s clear that he’s very comfortable in the role and he packs in a lot of laughs. His character, Kevin Gable, is one of those guys you can’t help but like. In fact, all of the characters seem likeable on this show. One standout is Chale, played by the hilarious Ryan Cartwright. I only wish he was used more. That actually goes for most of the cast. I understand that Kevin is the main character but it feels as if there were some wasted opportunities by not showcasing the rest of the family/friends as much. There is real potential for the younger children and friends to be a brilliant source of comedy.

Comedy is one of the things that felt a little flat in the pilot. It seemed as if they were attempting a joke a minute and as a result it didn’t feel natural. Also the laugh track in the background did not help (it rarely does) and was overused. Perhaps the funniest scene was seeing Kevin marvel at a non spill gyro bowl with his wife. It was a lot of physical comedy ands James obviously excels at that. It was a little silly but it worked fantastically in the show. Hopefully in future episodes they can focus more on humour like this rather than the forced jokes that were happening in the pilot.

Kevin Can Wait has a lot of potential but was let down by a slightly underwhelming pilot. However, the writers have set up some great characters and the show benefits from a strong cast so I expect that future episodes and the rest of the season will be better.

Pilot Rating: 2.5/5

Categories: Reviews, TV

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