The newest live-action drama series to arrive on Disney+ is “Big Shot”, which stars John Stamos as “Marvyn Korn”, who is a basketball coach who gets ousted from the NCAA after throwing a chair at a referee during a game.
He is given a chance for redemption with a coaching position at Westbrook School for Girls, a private all-girls high school. While he is reluctant to take the job, he has no other offers, so makes this his only choice.
While teaching the teenage players, he learns they respond differently to men playing basketball at college. With the help of Holly, his assistant coach, he learns they require empathy and vulnerability. Since they have many other problems in their lives, including other teachers, parents and hormones. Tough love isn’t going to work, and they require real mentorship and genuine care. The girls instantly take a dislike to his methods, and those methods are questioned by everyone, the girls, their parents and the other teachers, since his attitude is completely unlike anything they have dealt with before.
As Coach Korn begins to spend more time with the girls and to realise what being a teenage girl is like, he starts to grow into the man he’s always secretly hoped to be. And as expected, while the girls don’t like him to begin with, they grow in confidence with his guidance, and he takes on a mentor/father figure that they desperately want.
It’s established very early in the series that he has a teenage daughter, and they don’t have the best relationship, so when she asks to move across the country to live with him, this sets off an entirely different subplot within the series about him trying to become the father he never had. There are a couple of scenes in the early episodes that brought a tear to my eye, which wasn’t something I was expecting from this series from just watching the trailer alone.
Over the three episodes, I did warm to Coach Korn as a character. He is a complete fish out of water and completely obsessed with basketball. But he slowly starts to mellow out over the course of the three episodes, especially in the third, when he’s not such a jerk. The introduction of his daughter helps give him more depth and its noticeable at that point how the job is helping him. Though I do question how much work he has to do per day considering he only teaches the girls team. I also enjoyed the idea of the other teachers having problems with him, though the main antagonist being a very well-spoken English teacher, was a little stereotypical, especially her accent, but that’s a common problem with almost every American TV show.
Coming into “Big Shot”, I wasn’t too sure what I was going to be watching, especially with the series being released so closely released to “The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers”. Was it going to be too similar? Two sports drama series arriving at once. But this series feels completely different.
“Big Shot” feels much more mature, since it’s focused on the Coach’s life. There is plenty of teenage drama thrown in on the side, with harder-hitting issues like bullying, parenting, sexuality, relationships and more. Which helps flesh out this series and makes the characters feel more realistic.
It’s certainly not a hard-hitting series, but I really enjoyed the first few episodes and will be returning each week to check out the next episode. “Big Shot” surprised me; I wasn’t expecting to like it since it’s a high school drama about sports, neither of which I’m that interested in. There are plenty of cliches throughout the show, but it’s nice to have something a little more grownup as a Disney+ Original. It feels much more in line with “Love, Victor” than it does with “Mighty Ducks” or “High School Musical”. They all involve teenagers, but the tone makes all the difference.
“Big Shot” is a very highly polished drama series. While the general concept isn’t anything groundbreaking, for Disney+, this seems like a massive step forward in delivering subscribers more choice and variety. This is a series the entire family can come together to enjoy, it has got teenage problems, it has got parental issues, and I’m impressed that Disney has allowed this show to expand a bit. It’s still a bit cheesy in places, since it’s still a High School drama series, but the focus on the adults rather than the children makes it much more enjoyable to watch. I’m looking froward to seeing where this series goes, since there are 10 episodes and I’ve only seen the first 3, which means we’ve no doubt got much more drama to see unfold.
Rating 4 out of 5
The first episode of Disney’s Big Shot arrives on Disney+ on Friday 16th April, with new episodes dropping weekly every Friday.
Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom.