UPN seems to have developed a knack for producing likable but
bland programs this season. This trend ends with “Kevin
Hill,” a conventional drama that benefits from a strong
central character and a solid script to create one of UPN’s
better fall shows.
Set in New York City, the focus of the show is its title
character. Young and arrogant, Kevin Hill (Taye Diggs,
“Chicago”) is a hotshot attorney at a successful law
firm. Hill has the same approach in both work and play; a
no-nonsense guy, he demands rather than requests and always gets
what he wants. His bachelor ways are put on hold, though, when his
cousin’s death leaves him to care for a baby. Hill’s
life is turned upside-down by the new arrival which ultimately
causes him to quit his prestigious job and set up shop at a small,
entirely female law firm. With the help of his friends, Hill must
find a way to balance his social and professional lives with his
unexpected role as a father.
Although it plays more like a Lifetime movie than a series,
“Kevin Hill” is, at its worst, too heartwarming.
Luckily, the sweetness is dispersed with humor; scenes of former
flings refusing Hill’s request for babysitters are juxtaposed
with him dancing around in a hopeless attempt to entertain the
baby. There are constant comparisons of Hill the bachelor and Hill
the father, and as they progress, the scenes of fatherhood gain
momentum and validity. Even before he learns of his inheritance,
Hill is portrayed slightly differently than his friends; he’s
just as slippery but also more human.
There are a few stereotypical characters, including the gay
nanny George (Patrick Breen, “Radio”) and the smarmy,
but good-intentioned friend Dame (Jon Seda, “Bad Boys
II”), but they’re established well enough to allow for
Diggs oozes charisma and manages to make even the unyielding
arrogance of Hill pretty charming, and his performance could easily
carry the show. The supporting cast is nondescript, but serve their
purpose well. Scenes between Diggs and Breen have the most
convincing rapport, while interaction with the new boss Jessie
(Michael Michele, “ER”) points toward promising future
Solid but unexciting, “Kevin Hill” can boast smart
writing, an excellent lead actor and a strong base of supporting
characters, but there is little else notable about it. Diggs turns
in a strong performance, and every established character and
relationship seems to have the potential to go somewhere; whether
they make it there is up to the writers.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.