It was last spring that I first saw the teaser for Galavant. It was like a daydream, odd and vibrant. Could this be a real show? A medieval musical/adventure/comedy? It looked to good and goofy to be true! Then I saw the ABC logo, and my heart fell.
By my count, ABC has become shorthand for Always Be Cancelling.
ABC has been the home of some of my favorite shows over the years. Pushing Daisies. Happy Endings. Trophy Wife. The Neighbors. All were high concept.
All had a weird array of characters. Admittedly, most had a rough start. But all were odd yet wonderful. And ALL were cancelled before their time. So when I saw Galavant is being given just eight episodes played over four Sundays, I felt that familiar twinge of anxiety tainting my anticipation. Should I even bother giving this bizarre little show from The Neighbors’ creator Dan Fogelman a spot in my already broken TV-loving heart?
Well, I did. And here’s how that went.
This romp begins with rousing introduction, which you can re-watch here . Academy Award winning lyricist of Aladdin and The Little Mermaid Alan Menken turns his brains to bawdy, and composes this gem of a line: “a body built for sin with cleavage you could hold a whole parade in!”
There’s a lot of plot in the pilot, setting up the disloyal damsel Madalena (a merciless Mallory Jansen), the petty king Richard (the mahvelous Timothy Omundson), his bruiser of a bestie/guard (Vinnie Jones, perfectly cast), the princess on a mission Isabella (a spunky Karen David), the snarky squire (the scene-stealing Luke Youngblood), and the titular knight ruined by heartbreak Galavant (THE Joshua Sasse). Annnnd we’re off! (So is Gal’s shirt.)
Sasse is slaying it as the jaded Galavant, nailing the smolder along with the physical comedy. This should come to no surprise to those who saw his DJ Jazzy Jeff. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I blame you personally for The Neighbors cancellation!
And yet, it might well be
King Dick King Richard who is running away with this show! The ruthless royal’s enthusiasm for his wedding night is so dorky that it’s weirdly charming. Bully. Hypochondriac. Picky Eater. Egomaniac. Murderer. And yet I am loving King Richard. He’s like Joffrey, but fun!
(Full Disclosure: These lines will work their way into my romantic repertoire.)
First opportunity for Galavant drinking game spotted in the murderous rant song number. Drink everytime Vinnie Jones manages not to dance. Watch how they cut around him. No shade. Katy Perry does the same thing. Surround yourself with razzle dazzle. Look fucking cool. Who needs to dance?
To prove a jaunty song number can’t make just anyone charming, ABC revamps the opening theme to promote The Bachelor’s new douchebag and then The Middle with Kirstie Alley. And then EVERY OTHER SHOW they have coming up. Gross. Galavant will burn out ALL good will if they keep this shit up all month.
“I’m embarrassing yourself!” will be my comeback for all reasons. Drunk or not.
Uncle Jesse John Stamos as a Galavant rival who loves a good ol’ burn. “It’s 1256, the your momma jokes are really old.” “So’s your momma!”
With “Yeah I burped. Do you whiff it?” I realize King Richard will officially be bogarting the best lines. Considering Omundson (a surname destined for epic villainy) is positively living for every scene-chewing moment of this role. I’m good with that.
And after some swordplay, pantless Galavanting, and much plot, plot, plot, the debut of Galavant ends with a montage musical number laying down two predictable will-they-won’t-they romances, one between the married but un-consumating king and queen, and one between Gal and his gal pal Isabella. It’s not only a setup for the season, but also a send up of that longstanding rom-com tradition of an odd couple transforming unadulterated irritation into devoted love. They sing, “Maybe I shouldn’t quite say never. Maybe you’re not the worst thing ever!” And so does my foolish heart, giving hope once more to a promising ABC fledging.
In just its first two episodes, Galavant was quick to upend the expectations of its fairy tale genre. Our titular knight is less than noble. His lady love is lined up to be the real evil mastermind of the series at about the eleven-minute mark (plus mean girl Madalena’s final line was way harsh, Tai). The villainous king might be the show’s most likeable—albeit casually lethal—character. And ABC defied the racist convention of so much fantasy by casting people of color in lead roles (David and Youngblood as Gal’s love interest and sidekick) like it’s NBD.
Admittedly, in the 22-minute format, Galavant’s grand adventure feels a little rushed and bumpy. But it’s got a cast that’s making the most of every moment of screentime (Youngblood’s reaction shots might demand a new Emmy category). It’s got songs that are catchy and wickedly clever. And it’s got the kind of scope that network TV is generally too cautious to embrace. Plus, Galavant is pretty fucking funny from its witty one-liners, and loony lyrics to its comedic choreography (a nut grab here, a death hug there). Basically, it looks like more good times lie ahead. (So ABC, let’s hang in there!)
I’ll be tuning in next week. How about you?
Random lines that made me lol:
“She is not the only thing I desperately want to do!”
“What’s that smell?” “Testosterone.” “Mmmm….Musky!”
“Heroes don’t stretch.”
“Never start a marriage with a kidnapping. Both of you promise me that right now.”
And a question for the ages: “How can you be a hero if you’re not wearing any pants?!”
Talk Galavant with Kristy on Twitter.