Eh, you know what? If you need a plot summary, here’s the theme song, complete with subtitles:
Isn’t that theme song great? It really sets the tone for the show. It starts up and you think, “OK, this is Disney, and they always do fairy tale musicals. I’ve seen this sort of thing before.” Then you hear the word ‘cojones’ and start paying attention, because Disney doesn’t use that sort of language. By the time the song has rolled onto Madalena’s body built for sin, with cleavage you can hold parades in, you know this is not going to be a standard Disney fairy tale but an over-the-top parody.
Joshua Sasse is the bold and mighty Galavant, the hero that can do anything and defeat anyone using the power of true love. He’s a great singer, looks the part, and swaggers about wielding a sword like the best of cheesy 1990s fantasy movie heroes. His adversary is King Richard, who as played by Timothy Omundson rapidly becomes the real star of the show. The character is a ridiculous mix of naiveté, cruelty, and childishness. This combination makes him extremely unpredictable, and you never know whether he’s going to chop off someone’s head or ask them for relationship advice. The woman they both fight for is the stunning Madalena (Mallory Jansen), who chooses a life of wealth and fame over the passionate romance she has with Galavant, and over the course of the show she schemes endlessly to get everything she wanted. If you ever wondered where the Wicked Queen from Snow White came from, Madalena would actually make a far more plausible origin story than the character who answers to that title in Once Upon a Time. Always at the king’s side is his personal guard and best friend, Gareth, played by former football star Vinnie Jones. Best known amongst my nerdy friends for his role as the Juggernaut in the X-Men franchise, Jones has impeccable comedic timing and makes the ‘tough thug’ role into one of the most interesting characters in the show. It’s great. Rounding out the main cast is Karen David as the Princess Isabella, a princess determined to rescue her family’s kingdom by forcing Galavant out from the isolation self-imposed after Madalena dumps him.
That’s just the main characters. There are also tons of fun guest stars, including John Stamos, Weird Al Yankovic, Hugh Bonneville and Anthony Stewart Head. With the exception of Ricky Gervais, who mumbles through his lines and looks as though he’d like to be anywhere else doing anything but pretending to be a wizard called Xanax, everyone seems like they’re having a blast romping around in Renaissance-era clothing singing their hearts out. So even when the show’s plot gets a little weak – and there are entire episodes that, after watching, I realized did very little to move events forward – or the jokes should rightfully fall flat, it’s hard to dislike it because all the actors are so enthusiastic and throwing themselves into the role with everything they’ve got. And the casting is so spot on – only John Stamos could convince us to laugh at a knight who is also a ‘yo mama’ joke aficionado, and who better than Weird Al to lead an order of monks who have taken a vow of singing?
How’s the music? Dude, it’s Alan Menken. The music is good.
OK, I grant you, not every song is a winner, or even memorable. But the ones that make you laugh make you laugh hard.
The show ends on a huge cliffhanger. As the Jester sings in the closing moments of the season’s last episode:
Will all the singing kill our Nielsen ratings?
Sid, the peasants, the entire crew.
Will they be back for Season two?
But if there are more shows.
Then off our hero goes.
And so the legend grows.
The legend known as Gaaaaaaaa-laaaaaaaaaa-vaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
I hope not. There are so many great shows on TV right now, but most of the ones I watch tend to be pretty dark and serious: Grimm, Game of Thrones, even Once Upon a Time. Plus all those forensic files/murder investigation documentaries that I can’t stop watching. It’s great to have something so happy and funny to lighten up the week.