By: Anna Merezhko, April 7, 2017
I recently stumbled upon a hidden gem on Netflix called “Galavant.” It was very well-reviewed on Rotten Tomatoes. Within seconds of the pilot, I knew that I was embarking on a journey that was very very different than what I was accustomed to.
To my horror, the pilot started out with 13th century villagers bursting into song. My first impression was that this was going to be a corny musical (are there any other kind?) and I was right. This could have been an epic fail of a show had it not been so brilliantly written. The writers created a beautiful concoction of witty humor and catchy songs and dropped it into the least expected time period- the Middle Ages.
It starts with a story about a brave and valiant knight named Galavant who was in love with Madalena. They had an epic love until King Richard “asked her for her hand… well, more like a demand…well, more like had his henchman snatch her.” Throughout the catchy introductory song, we learn that Galavant goes to save Madalena out of this forced marriage only to learn upon his arrival that Madalena did not want to be saved. When Galavant professed his undying love, she turned him down because she preferred the promise of living in luxury alongside a king.
Galavant, broken-hearted, became the town drunkard. A year later, a princess came to him seeking his help to save her kingdom only to find Galavant out of shape and unemployed. Galavant was completely uninterested until the mention of Prince Richard. The princess insinuated that Madalena regretted her marriage to King Richard. Full of hope, Galavant goes on a quest to help the princess and rescue his ex.
In the midst of that, we are familiarized with the other characters- the push-over king (King Richard), the cold, psychopathic queen (Madalena), the squire who is humorously ignored (Sidney), the sweet (but traitorous) princess (Isabella), and other eccentric characters.
The thing that makes this show is the songs. The song writers, Alan Menken and Glenn Slater, brilliantly mix humor into catchy songs that simply cannot go unmemorized. Ironic, sarcastic, and filled with sexual puns, the 20-minute episodes are hilarious from start to finish. I don’t know whether to be disappointed or thrilled they’re so short. They don’t feel dragged out and their jokes don’t feel overused. Unfortunately the first season only has eight episodes. The second season has 10 and is more brilliant than the first.
The essence of the show is visible in the episode names. My favorite is the first episode of the second season: “A New Season aka Suck It Cancellation Bear.” Throughout that season there was a lot of instances where the show “broke the fourth wall”- brilliantly, I might add. They mentioned ratings, plot lines, and not reusing songs. They even kind of dissed on other shows (like “The Bachelorette.”) All in all, I don’t remember the last time I laughed so hard.