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Amazon’s ‘The Kicks’ Offers Messages for the Kids and Humor for the Adults
August 26, 2016  | By David Hinckley
 

Amazon’s new drama The Kicks is cool enough for kids and reassuring enough for their parents.

It centers on a girl who plays soccer, Devin Burke (Sixx Orange, right), and we old folks might see it as a combination of The Bad News Bears and Make It Or Break It.

True, those titles might not mean anything to the 6- to 11-year-olds at whom The Kicks, which drops Friday on Amazon Prime, is aimed.

On the other hand, this is that rare adolescent show that could easily interest kids into their middle teens. It’s got the same good-natured heart as all those Nick shows, just framed inside a more serious ongoing message.

The Burke family, including Dad Tom (Tim Martin Gleason), Mom Sharon (Monica Lacy) and younger brother Bailey (Gabe Eggerling), has left its comfortable suburban home in Connecticut and moved to California because that’s where Tom got a new improved job.

This has upset all their lives. We’re focusing mostly on Devin’s.

She’s a serious and talented soccer player who was pursuing her goal fiercely back in Connecticut.

Now she has to find a way to get on track in a new world, and that’s where The Kicks come in. They’re the soccer team at her new school, Kentville, and frankly, they’re not very good. Seems the best soccer players in town have been siphoned off by the local soccer club, a situation anyone with a kid in youth sports will understand.

Devin is a little high-energy for the school team, but she starts to make some friends there, particularly with nerdy Emma (Mitri Schloss) and enthusiastic Zoe (E’myri Crutchfield). She even makes a little progress with Mirabelle (Isabella Acres, below, with Orange), the other good player, albeit one with serious insecurity issues.

Then Devin gets derailed. She’s offered a tryout for the club team, which would force her to choose between The Kicks and the club, which would frankly be a better stepping stone for a serious player.

Also, the coach of The Kicks is called away on an indefinite leave of absence, leaving the team without the required adult supervision.

From the title of the show, it’s possible to guess which way Devin goes. But there’s a long stretch of bad road before things start to smooth out a little, and Devin makes some mistakes herself along the way.

The Kicks is filled with the requisite life lessons – about friendship, about teamwork, about fitting in, about being honest, about parental guidance, about insecurity, about delicious unhealthy hamburgers – but delivered with some subtlety. It's somewhat reminiscent of the shows the old ABC Family (now Freeform) used to make. The mean girls don’t have dark hearts, and we want almost everyone to win.

The Kicks did have one off-screen setback. It’s based on a book series by Alex Morgan, who plays on the U.S. women’s national soccer team, and the release date happens to come just about a week after the U.S. team finished playing in the Olympics.

A real-life win there would have been a nice setup for the release of the series.

Unfortunately, the U.S. lost to Sweden in the quarterfinals, which might suggest we focus a little more on one of the other messages in The Kicks.

Resilience.

That’s a good one, too.

 
 
 
 
 
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