Enjoy Some Gadding About With ABC’s Galavant

Posted by at 8:40 am on January 4, 2015

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If you were humming along to the score of “Into The Woods” over your holiday break, and you’re waiting on the edge of your chair to return to Storybrooke in March, then ABC’s new fairytale musical comedy Galavant might be enough to tide you over.

Galavant is the perfect show to use as a placeholder. The series stars Joshua Sasse in the titular role of Galavant; he is on a quest to save the love of his life, Madalena (played by Mallory Jansen), who is forced to marry King Richard (Timothy Omundson). Galavant teams up with his squire Sid (Luke Youngblood) and a princess named Isabella (Karen David) to venture off to save his great love. As the series progresses, we see this trio embark on their mission towards Valencia. On this journey, they get involved in various mishaps and encounter strange folks. And, of course, there’s plenty of singing along the way.

Galavant enters himself into a jousting tournament, they run into a band of pirates who are land-pirates because they don’t have a ship anymore and visit an abbey where the monks have taken a vow of singing instead of a vow of silence. These are just a few of the twists that occur during their journey. But does Galavant triumph over the King and win back the love of his life?

Galavant may be the show’s hero and is involved in a lot of the action, but King Richard’s storylines are just as engaging and hilarious, and sometimes even more fun to watch. In fact, Timothy Omundson’s portrayal of this character might be considered the highlight of the entire series. The King is determined to win Madalena’s admiration and he’s always thinking up ways capture her heart. At one point, he tries to “butch up” to make himself more appealing. And when he’s planning a ball, he doesn’t have any musicians, so he enlists the help of the executioners, who only know songs about death.

This series consists of only eight episodes airing over four weeks, but there’s still plenty of time to include a handful of notable guest stars. John Stamos plays Sir Jean Hamm (you gotta love that name!) and competes against Galavant in the jousting tournament mentioned earlier.

Then there’s Hugh Bonneville (Robert Crawley on Downton Abbey) as the Pirate King — he and his pirates sing, of course, and their musical number is one of the highlights of all the songs — and “Weird Al” Yankovic as a monk (the show certainly couldn’t pass up the opportunity for him to sing). And finally, Ricky Gervais guest stars as a magician named Xanax (again, the writers have given these characters the best names ever), who can’t legally call himself a magician anymore.

Galavant is a musical comedy, and both the music and the comedy are out in full force in every single episode. While the dialogue occasionally sparkles, the groan tend to outweigh the chuckles. The first episode leans pretty heavily on the old “Banana/Orange” knock-knock joke that most of the audience will have outgrown at the age of five.

As far as the music is concerned, once in a while there are songs that seem more like filler. Plenty of songs are catchy, as can be expected with music by Alan Menken (Aladdin, The Little Mermaid) and and lyrics from Glenn Slater (Tangled). The opening musical number, which you can watch below, stuck with me for the better part of a weekend.

The King and Madalena sing a song that has lines like “You’re worse than crabs” and “You’re growing on me just like mold,” and the monks do a parody called “Hey Hey, We’re the Monks.” Galavant ends one song very winded, saying, “That was a long song.”

It’s hard to compare Galavant to any show on TV right now, but it’s essentially a mash-up of Once Upon a Time and Glee, with plenty of inspiration taken from the likes of Monty Python, The Princess Bride and Robin Hood: Men in Tights. If you’re a fan of any of these, then give this one a go.

Galavant premieres tonight at 8pm (with two back-to-back half-hour episodes airing every week) on ABC.

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