Get Ready for Galavant Season 2

Galavant

When I was a kid, Steven Bochco followed up his phenomenal successes (Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law, and the brand-new Doogie Howser, M.D.) with a new experiment in event television: Cop Rock. It was a police procedureal. A drama. A … musical? It was also terrible. Legendarily so. Only 11 episodes aired, but it made brief reappearances in syndicated reruns. Mostly it lived on as an example of a massive flop.

Last year, a new half-hour comedy series slid into the broadcast schedule with a series of bizarre commercials. Galavant looked like someone in Hollywood had stayed up too late after a chemically enhanced visit to a renaissance fair and stumbled into a Cop Rock marathon. In a world already falling out of love with Glee’s increasingly nonsensical attempts at combining humanesque behavior with impeccable vocals, why on earth would anyone greenlight this show?

Luckily for all of us, ABC did. The first season of Galavant is short — very short. You can watch the whole of it in less than three hours if you power through without commercials. Though the pre-release hype, trailers, and commercials managed to make it look like a train wreck, the show is actually a delight. The cast seems like they’d love nothing more than to chomp down on the scenery all day long, and the music is catchy as heck.

The titular Galavant (Joshua Sasse) is a dashing knight-errant in a generic quasi-European nation who spends the first season on a quest to win his lady-love, Madalena (Mallory Jansen), back from her evil husband, King Richard (Tim Omundson). The only problem is that Madalena isn’t so keen on being won back. She’s not all that keen on her evil husband, either. It turns out that Richard isn’t quite as evil or cutthroat as she’d like, even if he does have a handy and devoted henchman, Gareth (Vinnie Jones), to act as his muscle.

Along the way, Galavant learns to appreciate his trusty squire/sidekick, Sid (Luke Youngblood, with a sad lack of pop-pop’ing), who might be embroidering his adventures a little too enthusiastically for the folks back home. He also falls in love with Princess Isabella Maria Lucia Elizabetta of Valencia (Karen David), who harbors more than a few secrets of her own, including the fact that she was sent by Richard to distract Galavant from his goal. Oh, and she accidentally falls for Galavant, too. Whoops!

Unfortunately for Richard, by the time Galavant reaches the castle, he still hasn’t won over his evil bride. In fact, he’s done such a poor job of wooing her that she chooses to throw in with his evil father (Rutger Hauer) and henchman Gareth instead. Chaos reigns, and by the end of the final episode, Richard’s been deposed and is on the run with Galavant. Madalena and Gareth have crowned themselves. Isabella is imprisoned by her intended husband, and Sid is stuck in the castle. What will these crazy kids do next?

The show comes from a veritable dream team: Dan Fogelberg, Glen Slater, and the Alan Menken, who worked together on the Disney animated movie Tangled, with which it shares a cheeky sentiment. But for all that cred, Galavant is actually every bit as bizarre as the initial premise promised — a kind of Mel Brooks-ian facsimile of medieval Europe, peopled with a cast so charming you’ll fall in love with them, too. In the end, it comes together as such a weird gem of television that it’s impossible to turn it off — or to stop warbling a hearty “Gaaaaal-aaaa-vaaaaaaant” under your breath the whole next day.

By the end of the first season, my misgivings about the show — that the heightened reality necessary for forgiving the occasional breaking-into-song wasn’t all there, and that the show spent too long retreading the same character or story beats — had evaporated or been erased by the fun of it all, and I’ve been eagerly anticipating the show to come back since last January.

Galavant returns to ABC this Sunday with ten new episodes, starting with the sublimely titled “A New Season aka Suck It Cancellation Bear.” Two episodes will air weekly, and you can keep up with the latest here!

Photo Courtesy of ABC

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About Lisa Shininger

Lisa Shininger spends way too much time thinking about fictional characters but, somehow, it's never enough. She co-hosts Bossy Britches, and yells about pop culture at lisashininger.com and on Twitter @ohseafarer.