Pilot Review: Galavant

Welcome to 2015! I hope the year is treating you all well so far. Last fall, I made the decision to not review every new show that debuted on the networks. While I’ve likely avoided pilots that I would have hated, I think I’ve also missed out on shows I may have enjoyed but can’t seem to work up the energy to start and catch up with. So new show reviews are back! My goal is to have posts up before the second week of a show and I look forward to discussing with you this spring. First up is Galavant!

When It Airs: Sundays on ABC from 8:00-9:00 EST

Summary: Galavant is a fairy-tale hero who lost the love of his life to the evil king and is now determined to defeat him. We go through his life and efforts to regain his once successful life through musical numbers.

My Impressions: Though I was a little hesitant based on the trailer for the show, I should have realized that a musical show was probably always going to be something I loved. Songs in shows make things better, whether they are the George Michael songs that set off Eli’s visions on Eli Stone, caused by a demon who makes everyone sing about their true feelings like in Buffy’s Once More with Feeling, or Malik proposing to Lisa Shay through song on Suburgatory. I’m a sucker for a fun performance and musical moments tend to be just that.

Galavant seems destined to be a show that people either love or hate. There really is nothing like it on TV, which may explain ABC’s decision to double-up on episodes on Sunday nights. The musical aspect will turn some people off, to be sure, but it’s also a show that delights in being silly. King Richard, while undoubtedly not a nice man, is comically evil rather than the darker villains and antiheroes typically seen on Sunday night TV.

It also delights in overturning fairy-tale tropes. The dashing hero is supposed to get the fair maiden. Or at the very least, she isn’t supposed to end up choosing the evil king because the life he can offer her sounds easier than the one Galavant could. And she certainly isn’t supposed to take great pleasure in fooling the evil king and sleeping with his court jester. However, that’s exactly what Magalena does, regardless of what she “should” to in a proper fairy-tale.

Perhaps it was simply naivety or maybe I just wasn’t paying enough attention, but I wasn’t expecting Princess Elizabeth to be working on King Richard’s orders. It was a surprise I thoroughly enjoyed, especially in the editing choices. It was another fun subversion and I can’t wait to see what happens next (I’m behind and haven’t seen episode 2 yet)

You can’t talk about a musical without talking about the songs. Alan Menken and Glenn Slater have done it again – the songs are catchy and make me smile. While Galavant’s theme reminds me a little too much of “Belle” from Beauty and the Beast (mostly a problem for the strange Beauty and the Beast mashup of songs it gets stuck in my head), King Richard’s song about what he’d like to do to Galavant had me cracking up. There is something so lovable about a song with that large of a juxtaposition between the tone of the melody and the words.

Galvant will be one of the shows that makes me smile on a Sunday night and I look forward to spending the next three weeks with it. What did you guys think of the show?

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4 thoughts on “Pilot Review: Galavant

  1. Hi Heather –

    First the bad news – I hated the show and won’t watch the last six eps.

    The Good news is that I enjoyed your review and your enthusiasm for the show. And opinions about tv shows need not become a matter of convincing some one about this or that.

    You wrote an opinion, and made your review enjoyable, and isn’t that which matters most?

    1. Hi Mike!

      I’m glad you enjoyed my review even though you weren’t a fan of the show. I agree that opinions about tv should just be about sharing, rather than trying to convince someone that they are wrong.

      Thanks for the comment!

  2. I’m so glad to see you posting about Galavant! I definitely agree with your statement that this show is likely to be one that people will either love or hate, as I think it will be something that hits a lot of the right notes for people or it’s not a genre/format they enjoy.

    Personally, I loved it! It was like making a Monty Python movie into a musical, and it was amazing. I too enjoyed the way the show twisted tropes and the way they made fun of the stereotypical fairytale themes. I love the way they are writing the main female characters, especially Isabella after seeing more of her in the second episode. Also, the little nods to how unrealistic some fairytale things are is delightful (I won’t spoil you in case you haven’t seen the second episode yet, but there’s an example there that I really enjoyed).

    The music was great, so much fun and good tunes! I find the wittiness of the songs utterly delightful. Though I’m forgetting which song it was (it may have been the theme song), I too found one of the songs sounding very familiar so you’re not alone there. I was definitely singing the “Galavaaaaant” snippet they’ve used for their promos over and over on Sunday as it got stuck in my head lol. It appears they’ve put out at least some of the songs out as singles on iTunes so I may have to buy them 😉

    My only complaint is that ABC seems to have some weird sound mixing going on as often the songs are sometimes too quiet for me to properly hear all the words! I may have to try rewatching an episode online to see if the sound is better balanced there.

    I am so happy to have Galavant as a part of my Sunday nights for the next three weeks and I’m probably going to miss it terribly when it’s gone.

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