Disney+ is jumping into family sports dramas lately. Shortly following the new Mighty Ducks series, the streamer dropped the premiere of Big Shot.
Instead of the ice rink, this one takes us to a girls basketball team at an elite high school.
Big Shot follows Coach Marvyn Korn (John Stamos), who after getting ousted from the NCAA is given a chance for redemption with a coaching position at an elite private high school. He soon learns that the teenage players require empathy and vulnerability — foreign concepts for the stoic coach. By learning how to connect with his players, Marvyn starts to grow into the person he’s always hoped to be. The girls learn to take themselves more seriously, finding their footing both on and oﬀ the court.
Check out our review of the first episode of Big Shot below.
Big Shot Episode 1 Review
The pilot episode of Big Shot works hard to set up some of the backgrounds and personal issues of several girls on the team, along with Coach Korn and Assistant Coach Holly (Jessalyn Gilsig).
It’s good evidence that Big Shot wants to be a heavily character driven series. (Which I think is important for a sports drama, because there’s inherently only so many variations on winning or losing a game you can have—you need to be invested in the players and coaches for the show to work long-term.)
But from the first episode, Big Shot’s biggest flaw is that it wants you to buy into the idea that Marvyn is the bad guy. You know, the tough-and-gruff coach, who secretly has a heart of gold the series will coax out over time.
“You are profoundly unlikeable,” Holly even tells him at one point in the pilot.
Maybe it’s Stamos’s natural charm and likeability. Maybe it’s that Coach Korn’s big, problematic meltdown only amounted to a flashback a few seconds long. Or maybe it’s the fact that even when Coach Korn says something kind of mean or questionable, he follows it up by doing something objectively good.
Whatever it is, I just don’t think the character came close to “profoundly unlikeable.”
And that’s not bad necessarily. It just makes the transformation into “good guy” a little less impactful.
(Still, that means you don’t have to suffer through watching Stamos be a completely terrible person for 45 minutes.)
Big Shot has a lot of the classic elements of a family sports drama. It’s a team of underdogs. There are extra training sessions where you can see the players developing their skills. We get a motivational locker room speech about trying your best.
It feels familiar, although it doesn’t seem to be breaking new ground. I’d like to see how the story develops in the future, as it has the opportunity to take a unique look into high school girls’ sports. If you’re a fan of sports dramas, give Big Shot a shot.