I always have feelings attached to the shows that I have deemed Gone Too Soon. Some shows I am a little bitter about their cancelation (Stitchers and Class) and some deserved better endings (Ravenswood and iZombie). This week’s show doesn’t really belong in any of those categories. It stands on its own as a show that I’m just really happy existed in the first place. This week I’m talking about Galavant.
As we have previously established, ABC is pretty bad about canceling shows that had potential. Sure they might have been formulaic, but they had great casts and an interesting twist that would have kept me watching: ie, Take Two, Deception, and Whiskey Cavalier. These shows are the spiritual successors to Castle and Bones, both shows that I loved, and there isn’t really anything on tv now filling that void. Galavant belongs in a completely different category from any of these ABC shows and that makes its cancelation even sadder.
What you need to know about Galavant is that the show is painfully aware that it isn’t long for this world. The first episode of the second season is called “A New Season aka Suck it Cancellation Bear”. At one point in the second season it even comments on how the title song “Galavant” (that was reprised several times over the course of the first season) didn’t win an Emmy so they needed to come up with something new. This is in the very first song of the season. Then they go on to say that no one even thought they would get another season and the odds of them getting decent ratings are nil. The show knows what it is.
I have recommended watching many shows that deserve a second chance and obviously I enjoy all of them, why else would I say they were Gone Too Soon, but If you only watch one show that I have written about it deserves to be Galavant. Let’s get into it.
Galavant (Joshua Sasse, No Tomorrow) is a knight, who after an unexpected betrayal is convinced by Princess Isabella (Karen David, Legacies) to help her rescue her kingdom from the man who humiliated him. Along with Galavant’s squire, Sid (Luke Youngblood, Harry Potter and Community) set out on an adventure to defeat King Richard (Timothy Odmonson, Psych) and his right hand Gareth (Vinnie Jones Snatch), rescue Galavant’s one true love Madalena (Mallory Jansen, Agents of Shield).
Everyone in the cast gets their due, including the supporting characters. No royal court is complete without a Jester (Ben Presley), Chef (Darren Evans), and maidservant (Sophie McShera, Cinderella). Everything isn’t as it seems though, the characters are constantly subverting tropes, while developing into two dimensional people instead of just the archetypes they represent. All while singing it out and this cast can sing. Everyone is extremely talented.
While talking about the cast I would be remiss to not inform you that Galavant loves cameos. Seriously there are a ton. I don’t want to spoil them, it’s fun to see familiar faces pop up so keep an eye out.
Galavant is the first show to have three actors previously featured in Gone Too Soon. Joshua Sasse was in the short lived CW show No Tomorrow and Vinnie Jones from another ABC show cancelled before it’s time Deception. The third is one of my favorite actors from Psych and Jericho, Timothy Omundson, the true hero of this show. He is supremely talented leading a cast of talented actors. Omundson has the unenviable task of creating a bad guy who you can root for and even learn to love. He should have won an Emmy for this performance and no I’m not joking.
Galavant is all about joy. The joy of a great clever show with actors that are obviously enjoying what they do for however long they get to do it.
There is something kind of refreshing about a show that knows from the get-go that it is doomed. From the beginning Galavant knows that as a concept it’s a hard sell. First off it’s a musical, and this is before Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Television musicals were not a thing and this show knew that it would have a hard time finding an audience.
The story of Galavant’s miraculous second season goes as such. The entire first season aired in one month, January. It was a midseason replacement for Once Upon a Time. ABC broadcasted the show two episodes at a time and then it was over. Until it wasn’t.
Ratings were abysmal and cancellation was all but certain. Except Paul Lee, the president of ABC at a time decided to renew it , along with Agent Carter (I will be getting to this show soon), in an effort to bet on shows that had long term cultural relevance over ratings. The plan ultimately failed (although I watched both of these shows live and they had a fairly decent Twitter presence) and he was replaced, but you can thank him for giving a second season to both Galavant and Agent Carter.
Should You Watch It
As I have said Galavant is a hard sell and it’s painfully aware of that fact. It knows that it’s not a show many people would be interested in. It may be able to capture people interested in medieval fantasy (Game of Thrones, which they reference several times, is on at this time), but then they have to buy into a musical. If they sell them on a musical, they then have to sell them on clever, self-referential humor of Galavant.
It may seem like a lot, but this show is worth it. I saw someone say that the show is the child of Monty Python and The Princess Bride, which is 100% accurate, but I would also throw in Ella Enchanted mainly just for the overall vibe and Robin Hood: Men in Tights. It’s a fourth-wall breaking, musical, fantasy and comedy.
If all of this doesn’t interest you, here’s the kicker. Galavant reunites the amazing team behind Tangled, one of my favorite Disney movies, screenwriter Dan Fogelman (he also wrote on Pitch), composer Alan Menken, and lyricist Glenn Slater. That’s right! The same people who have written music and lyrics for Disney movies wrote the songs for Galavant.
At the very least it’s a low-stakes binge at just 18 half-hour episodes; it doesn’t take much time to watch this show.
Stand Out Moment
Madelena and Isabella have a very cool sing off in one of the episodes, which may be my favorite song, but just in general the music is fantastic. Every single song is fantastic, they’re catchy, advance the plot, and do the heavy lifting exposition wise, all while being incredibly aware of what they are doing. If you are just going to watch one song though I have to go with the season 2 opener that I talked about earlier. It perfectly sums up everything you need to know about the show and encapsulates just how clever Galavant is.
The ships on Galavant are super cute and most of them come out of nowhere so I don’t want to spoil the surprises, but just know there is plenty to ship here. I will say that all the couples are incredibly well developed, even better than couples on shows that were given more time together. They pack so much relationship development into so few episodes. This shows subverted tropes left and right and the ships are no different.
The couples are lovely, unexpected and fit right in with the wonderful character development. None of the relationships on this show would matter if the character development wasn’t there. I will watch almost anything if the characters are compelling and Galavant has that in spades.
Galavant getting a second season was a miracle and they knew it. They even reference their unlikely renewal in song, so they knew better than to leave the audience with a cliffhanger. The wrap-up song (sung by Weird Al Yankovic in his second cameo) tells you what you can expect if by some chance they did another season, but in no way is the proposed idea a cliffhanger. Honestly, it does about as good a job as any show that I have seen when it wasn’t ending on purpose.
Where to Watch it
The best news, if this sounds like a show that you would love then you can binge it on Netflix! It’s a great use of your subscription. It’s so good that I would spend the money to own it. I think that’s a pretty good indicator of how rewatchable something is. I’ve already said it’s a low commitment so get to watching. I super believe in you!