It used to be that musicals were reserved for television over the Christmas period, in order to give everyone a chance for a quick nap before opening the next bottle of sherry and having another go at the turkey, t.v shows that had gone on a bit too long and were stuck with a cast desperate to get a bit of variety on their c.v and Andrew Lloyd Webber. The same could be said for fairy tales.
Galavant aims to do both those thing, with a smile and a wink.
The idea is that the evil King Richard has kidnapped Gal’s one true love Madalena. Donning his shiniest armour and brandishing his best looking sword Galavant raced off to the rescue convinced that his proclamation of true love could beat any offer of jewels and fame. Turns out it couldn’t and thus our series begins with Galavant a drunken out of shape mess and the only hope for Princess Isabella whose kingdom was apparently next on Richards to do list. So with his trusty squire Sid and the promise of riches and another shot at Madalena Galavant, Isabella and Sid must ride to the rescue of Valencia and all of its people.
However the series isn’t quite so clean cut as all that, which is perhaps more than can be said for Galavant himself who despite being a complete mess at the start of the series is in fact only ever shown wearing slightly looser fitting clothing and letting his well trimmed beard being still well kept but slightly longer, like by an inch, if that.
Anyway, it turns out that Isabella is forced into this by King Richard and is leading him into a trap, Sid is telling his folks back home that he’s a world famous knight and Madalena is sleeping with the court Jester and everyone knows it, well apart from King Richard who despite being evil is loveably idiotic and childish to the point where you will kind of root for him and his towering guard, Vinnie Jones who tries his best to maintain his hard gruff exterior around the huggy, simplistic Kind Richard.
In truth this quest isn’t all that long with the series coming in at eight episodes with them arriving at the castle before the end of episode four in order to get all these threads sorted out. Not that there aren’t a few twists and turns left in the series but it’s mostly sorting everything out.
This all makes earlier episodes like “Two Balls” all the more confusing for diverting the quest over to Sids hometown to see the folks. At least there is some plot related reasons to toddle off and see Hugh Bonneville the pirate captain and Weird Al the monk. Though I guess the episode was added to give Luke “Magnitude” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyp9Qw12boI) Youngblood, aka ‘Sid’, something more to do as he does come across as a bit superfluous in the grand scheme of things, though loveably so.
As is to expected from a television based musical these days the whole thing plays it fairly tongue in cheek such as the sign directing you up to “Winterfell” or the training montage before the big joust that leaves Gal, too exhausted to actually do anything both from episode 2 or the guard in the opening throwing himself down understanding that he has no chance against the hero riding to stop a wedding. However the camp line is crossed once or twice, the camp line being where a show stops being camp and just comes across as trying to be camp.
Of course the main question to ask of a musical is are the songs any good and while I don’t recall any bad ones I reckon there are only a small handful that I would describe as good, though looking back at the soundtrack that’s just come out they even out to two memorable ones per episode. The problem could well be the run time of half an hour for each episode despite them trying to cram four or five into each episode. This means you typically get a reprise of something from last week and one good song central to the plot. It’s likely that you will walk away from the whole thing with one or two songs humming around your head but it’s deceptive just how many there are, in fact I was ready to come on here and complain about the lack of songs until I looked at the track listing for the c.d and realised. Sure they’re not all brillant but as t.v musicals go not everyone can be ‘Once more with Feeling’ but everyone should aim higher Scrubs the musical and this easily succeeds. Also I will warn you that the final song ‘Goodnight my friend’ has been knocking around my head now for quite some time and shows no sign of stopping. I won’t be linking to it as it is something of a spoiler what with it being at the end of the series so instead have a shot of Vinny Jones dancing.
Quick foreward for those who don’t want to get into a series just for it to be cancelled right when it gets good the series ends on a pretty big cliffhanger, so while you might want to hold off to find out if it gets picked up for another series I would probably say you might want to check it out now so that it gets that other series.