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'Big Shot' — First thoughts on Disney Plus' new sports drama

big shot episode 1 premiere
(Image credit: Disney Plus)

Big Shot, Disney+'s new sports drama series is off off to a great start. The series stars John Stamos, who plays the role of a "fallen from fame", former NCAA Men's College Basketball coach. Who, in an attempt to redeem himself, takes a coaching job at an all-girls elite private high school, while he "waits" for his latest blow up to blow over. The pilot gives us a glimpse of what led to Coach Marvyn Korn's (John Stamos) "demotion", as well as his first few days on the job. 

Not only does Coach Korn (Stamos) meet the school's principal, Sherilyn Thomas (Yvette Nicole Brown), who insists he not screw this opportunity up. He also meets his team and Assistant Coach Holly (Jessalyn Gilsig), who all seem eager and ready to learn from a great. 

That is, until they realize that he's not so great and Korn realizes that coaching high school teenage girls may be more than he bargained for. If you haven't already seen the trailer, check it out below.

Coach Korn is tough, but he may also be in need of guidance, and a few friends who aren't afraid to be real with him. But he's quickly learning to adapt to his new role, which needs more empathy and vulnerability than he currently has. I love that we get to see Korn's struggle to transition from a college coach who once had the liberty of using harsh words and screaming, to get results. To now a high school coach who must learn to soften his approach as he works with the more "fragile" hearts of high school teens. 

As the team's star player, Louise Gruzinsky (Nell Verlaque) point outs, the girls aren't just going to immediately fall in line. Make no mistake, while Marvyn Korn may be a bit of a celeb outside of Westbrook, he'll need to gain his team's respect and trust, if he expects them to follow his lead.

And although Coach Korn was (key word was) highly respected, his methods weren't always the best, and Holly isn't afraid to remind him. 

“I’m tempted to say just treat em like the boys.” “But?” “But you didn’t treat them so well.”

Holly

Don't think for a second that these girls are fragile, though. They're anything but. The team is bold, outspoken, and not afraid to say how they really feel. Like why it's not okay to fat shame your player on the first day of practice in front of everyone. 

Especially when you don't have the full story. 

The way 'Mouse' aka Carolyn Smith (Tisha Custodio) confidently gets her point across, while emotionally revealing her true issue isn't weight, feels quite similar to a daughter scolding her father for embarrassing her in public. Maybe that's because she's one of the few players on the team who actually wants to learn from Coach Korn? Or maybe it's just Carolyn's ability to communicate her emotions. Either way, the moment is touching and shows us that sometimes meeting our idols can be disappointing.

Aside from the display of strong young women throughout this first episode, I also love the way the school hallways are filled with calm chaos. 

With students walking this way and that way, not leaving much space for Coach Korn to make his way to the principal's office, yet still being calm enough to represent an elite private school, not the chaotic jungle of public schools we often see on screen. Clearly the writers and director get what it's like to be in a high school full of girls.

We're also faced with the all too familiar dilemma that's present in almost every sports drama — the coach has to decide on how to reprimand one of the best athletes on the team. Should the amazing athlete with bad behavior be excused and allowed to play because the team is in dire need of rescue? Or should their punishment be served as a lesson to the entire team that the coach is not to be disrespected, and what he says goes? While the Coach's ultimate call is a bit shocking, it's a great reminder to his team that he's willing to do tough things to help them win. 

Setting an example, while showing his softer side, we also see Korn coach his team on and off the court. In a moment where most expect Korn too fail, he rises to the challenge and reminds us that while he's made a few mistakes, he really is a great Coach who cares. 

Everything about this new series feels great! Even the irony of his players thinking Stamos is cute. (Something I vividly remember the girls around me speaking on, as a teen.) Yet, maybe even more shocking than Korn's last minute decision to help his team, is the fact that there's nothing to dislike about this series at this point. Which I admit is rare when watching tv series, especially Disney+ Originals. So I'm excited to see where things go from here.

The premiere is available on Disney+ now. All future episodes of Big Shot will drop on Disney+ every Friday.