Sunday, 25 June 2017

TV62: Galavant

As you know, I love musicals. But watchable TV musicals are, even for me, incredibly rare. The recent Smash was one of the exceptions, but it was about the making of a musical so, even though it was a true musical, it cheated a little. The latest exception doesn’t cheat. It’s called Galavant and it ran only eighteen episodes over two seasons before being cancelled. This is a travesty because (in my opinion) it is the best musical ever made for TV and one of the funniest TV comedies I’ve seen since Frasier (Modern Family excepted of course). Thank goodness it was picked up by Netflix or I may never have seen it.

Galavant was created by Dan Fogelman, with the songs written by Alan Menken and Glen Slater. I’m a Menken fan, so I knew the music would be good. It was. The show stars Joshua Sasse as Sir Galavant, our hero, who, in the first season, rides out to rescue his love, Madalena (Mallory Jansen), from the clutches of the nefarious King Richard (Timothy Omundson). Along the way, Galavant teams up with the young Sid (Luke Youngblood) and Princess Isabella (Karen David), who needs Galavant to rescue her parents, imprisoned by the king. But the trio will face all kinds of trials, including a band of pirates led by Hugh Bonneville. The biggest trial they will face, however, is the revelation that many people are hiding secrets and things are not what they seem to be, with the plot taking a number of bizarre twists and turns.

The first season of Galavant was fun to watch but a little too silly and chaotic to make me love it. The second season, despite (or because of) its tendency to poke fun at itself, was much tighter, much funnier, much more relevant as a commentary on our time and, best of all, had much more music (i.e. more songs), making it so outstanding we watched all ten episodes in one go. Terrific stuff, reminding me most closely of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which happens to be one of my favourite films of all time. 

Did I mention that this show was filmed in the UK, so features mostly British actors? While most of the acting was excellent, it was Omundson (an American) who stole the show for me, followed closely by Vinnie Jones as his henchman, Gareth. Meanwhile, the show was gorgeously filmed and, of course, had a great score. Cancelling this marvellous show was a big mistake. In the end, I’m giving Galavant ****. My mug is up. If you are a fellow musical-lover, don’t miss it.

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