What It Is: Think about what you were doing in the winter of 2015. Now realize you could have been watching Galavant instead. The first 10-episode season was advertised as a one-time New Year’s special event so it left viewers all kinds of surprised when the show not only left on a cliffhanger but was then revealed to be slated for a second season the following year. There was even hope for a third, but the second season ended on a satisfying enough conclusion to leave fans without rancor.
Galavant is the most famous knight in all the land, slayer of dragons and rescuer of fair maidens, so the world is watching with bated breath when his sweetheart, Madalena, is kidnapped by the evil King Richard. Yet, in a shocking twist of events, Madalena decides that marrying a wealthy, powerful man isn’t such a crap deal in this day and age after all, dropping Galavant like a hot potato. This is the first five minutes. Watch the other 17.7 episodes to see Gal & Pals go on the ultimate quest for love. Oh, also… it’s a musical.
Why It’s Great: Let’s state the obvious. The musical numbers. Most of them are written by Alan Menken, and if you’re not familiar with his name you’re still definitely familiar with his work. He pretty much wrote the music for all of your favorite Disney movies growing up, from The Little Mermaid all the way up to Tangled, and the man’s decades of experience within the genre show. Each song is exquisitely crafted in tone and theme to fit the needs of a scene or a piece of character growth, and the lyrics are equally catchy and hilarious. (Sidebar: most of the songs are available on Spotify, and if you love the show I highly recommend adding them to your queue for a delightful sing-along).
On the same note, there isn’t a member of the cast who’s not exceptionally gifted in the more musical side of their role, and there are more than a few moments where they might just blow you away (I’m looking at you, Jester). Although skilled singers is hardly a novelty of musicals, rather more like a necessity, and as such the series also boasts a long list of musically talented guest stars from Kylie Minogue, as the owner of a medeival gay club, to Weird Al Yankovich, one of a group of monks who take a vow of singing.
Even the actors who don’t have a long history with these types of productions, more than manage to keep up with their musical theater colleagues, and in some cases overshadow them through other feats of performance. Yup, I’m talking about Timothy Omundson, more commonly known for his work as the tight-laced Detective Lasseter on Psych, or possibly as the calm and collected Eli on Xena: Warrior Princess. In Galavant, he plays the evil King Richard, and anyone familiar with his work prior to this point could read that sentence and think, ‘yup, that tracks, surly old king, classic Timothy.’ And in a sense, you’d be right.
But in a bigger, more grander sense, you’d be wrong, because Omundson’s performance as Richard is one of the most unexpected, right-out-of-left-field parts of the entire show. This guy is funny. I mean really funny. He somehow manages to believably portray an evil tyrant and a spoiled, effeminate ponce simultaneously. Omundson brings a childlike naivety to the otherwise wicked king that makes you want to see him learn and grow. Even when he’s doing things you don’t want to happen, it’s all such fun that you just can’t look away.
At the end of the day, Galavant is good, semi-wholesome fun. Whether you’re drawn in by the musical numbers, the guest stars (Hugh Bonneville as a pirate king is quite excellent), the romance, or the gut-busting laughs, odds are there’s going to be something about this fairy tale of epic proportions to enrapture you. Galavant encourages us all to believe in people just as much as it encourages us to believe in magic. Because when you super believe in something, even a lizard can prove itself to be a dragon.
Where You Can Find It: You can watch both seasons on Netflix, or rent the episodes on Amazon Prime, YouTube, or Vudu.