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Remember last year when I was ridiculously skeptical about a little show called Galavant? Probably not. I only expressed my deep concern for it to close friends and maybe all of my Twitter followers. In any case, just know that I was in serious doubt.
I’m a musical theatre nerd through and through, and endured all 32 episodes of SMASH (2012) as they aired live. I stood by it as a loyal viewer until it’s very end, but even I knew that it didn’t appeal to the masses. I don’t really like to compare new TV shows to others, but when something like Galavant comes along– a show being described as a ‘musical comedy fairytale’– I can’t really help but think of it’s failed predecessors. Remember Viva Laughlin (2007)? I tuned in to that too. It was painful. Although, as a side note, you should totally check out the BBC musical mini-series that it was based off of: Blackpool (2004); it stars David Tennant (Doctor Who, Broadchurch) and David Morrissey (The Walking Dead) and is totally legit.
With the exception of Glee (2009-2015), and even I have to admit that it has been pretty successful if we’re talking about long-lasting, musical TV shows just don’t grab the audience and the ratings that they need to succeed. And seemingly more so when there are original songs involved. Blackpool had the actors/characters singing along with familiar tunes as did Viva Laughlin. I’m not sure how well Blackpool was received by audiences and critics in the UK, but it was obviously enjoyed enough to get it the made for TV movie sequel, Viva Blackpool in 2006. America’s Viva Laughlin, however, flopped horribly and was canceled after only a few episodes.
Glee was the first, in a long while, to feature it’s actors carrying the numbers all by themselves. That’s what made it so new and exciting, in my opinion. I remember watching the pilot and getting so stupidly excited that I declared it my new favorite thing. Having actors and actresses belting out pop songs, rock ballads, and showtunes on my TV screen on a weekly basis was everything I had ever hoped and asked for. By season two, I was fairly bored. I quit watching by season three. It became the same thing every week: drama, drama, drama, high school, drama, crying, and whose popular chart-topping song could we get for this week’s episode that may or may not even really fit well with the story line. The singing was almost always good, the talent was there, but I lost interest in the story and the characters.
And then there was Smash. What! Original songs?? Broadway actors and actresses?? New York City?? It’s all about theatre and a Broadway show?! I was there! I was SO there. After the pilot, Smash became my new favorite thing. And then… half way through the first season, something happened. Maybe it was sooner and I just didn’t notice, but in addition to the few original songs written for the musical within the TV show, Smash had pop numbers like Glee. It began to have more pop numbers than original songs. It became drama packed, and turned into a quasi-soap opera with a song thrown here and there. I understand the need for pop songs and wanting to grab ‘the younger audience’, but Smash soon began to lack in original songs too. Instead of introducing new songs every week, the original songs became repetitive and reprises were recycled and reused– how many times did we hear ‘Let Me Be Your Star’, again?? All. I. Wanted. Was. Original. Songs.
Fast forward to early 2014– My current obsession is Psych, and they’ve just done a two-hour musical episode. Just when I thought I’d heard all of the singing from Timothy Omundson that I would ever hear– BOOM. Omundson tweets about a new show he’s working on called GALAVANT– a ‘musical comedy fairytale’.
A MUSICAL. COMEDY. FAIRYTALE.
And wait. They’re only 30 minute episodes? So it’s a sitcom. It’s like a sitcom with music. It’s like a Disney princess sitcom with music. NO. Just NO.
It will never last.
It will fail before it starts!
It’s never going to get picked up!
Timothy, sir, what have you signed your name to? You’re joining a crew on a ship that is already destined to sink! To flop! To fail!
All of these thoughts were going through my mind. I had no faith in Galavant at all. I was worried for Timothy Omundson’s career. I was worried for my sanity. I was worried for all of the people that thought they had a new job! YOU’RE ALL GOING TO HAVE YOUR DREAMS CRUSHED!
I’m going to have my inner musical theatre nerd in complete, utter disappointment!
And then ABC picked up the show. ABC had scooped up the ‘musical comedy fairytale’, and suddenly there was a THREE MINUTE AND FIFTEEN SECOND TRAILER.
I loved it! I wanted more– no, I NEEDED more. I must have watched the trailer a zillion times. I knew the catchy title song by heart. I sang it in the shower. I would catch myself singing it while driving to work. I was going to have to watch this show… at least until it was canceled. It would surely be canceled. I still didn’t believe.
July. San Diego Comic-Con 2014 Preview Night: I was making a beeline for The Walking Dead booth– but WAIT. Is.. Is that a Galavant banner? On a castle? On an ABC Castle?? I must go. I must see what it’s all about! Never mind that I waited for three hours, I GOT A GALAVANT PIN. There was also a Galavant sing-a-long! I knew every word, I didn’t even NEED the lyrics sheet that they provided (but I kept to smile longingly at later)! In fact, I apparently sang along with the video so well, that they rewarded me with passes to the Toy Story That Time Forgot autograph signing. I was officially a Galavanter!
Yet, I still didn’t believe that it would last.
When I got back to the hotel, after Preview Night, I proudly showed off my Galavant pin that I had just spent the entire evening trying to acquire, and yet, I STILL SPOKE BADLY OF IT. I remember it well. I remember having a fairly serious conversation with some of my closest friends about how I was worried for the show, and that I wanted it to last, but that it wouldn’t. It was DOOMED. DOOMED, I say!
The only thing that it had going for it were incredibly hot and talented lead actors and actresses, the genius of Alan Menken, and Dan Fogelman. But those teeny-boppers that loved Tangled weren’t going to know that THAT was the same Dan Fogelman! No one was going to know that Alan Menken wrote the majority of the soundtrack to their youth! NO ONE WOULD KNOW!
I was worried for Galavant and didn’t believe in it’s glorious magic.
I’m not sure, exactly, at what point I saw the light. But it happened.
At some point between having a chat with my best pals in July to today, it happened. It had to be a combination of the excitement on Twitter to the various videos and teaser commercials I began seeing all over the place.
I thought, hey… maybe this show had a shot! It’s being referred to as the lovechild of The Princess Bride and Spamalot. A Monty Python-esque-Mel Brooks spoof of Game of Thrones and all of the above! These were and are all things that I love. Getting me to watch wasn’t the problem, I’d been sold on the show since I’d seen the trailer. Having the hopes that it would last was the concern.
Since first being announced, Galavant went from being a new TV SHOW to only 8 episodes…. and then to a ‘4 Week Comedy Extravaganza’. I’m not sure if this means that Galavant was originally supposed to be a full series, if the intentions are to even have a season two, or if it was always planned for it to be a mini series of sorts. It is still 8 episodes, but they’re being aired two a week, for four weeks during Once Upon A Time‘s Winter break. Now, if that decision was made as a tactic to make sure that a ‘musical comedy fairy tale’ TV show did well, I commend whoever signed off on it. I think selling it as a 4 Week Comedy Extravaganza will work in its’ favor. Maybe that’s what we need. Musical mini series. Not Musical TV shows that drag on and wear thin, but mini musical adventures that hold our interest and actually give us new, fantastic, and original material to sink our musical theatre comedy loving nerd teeth into.
And if Galavant snags good ratings? What, then? Will there be a Galavant season 2? Or some sort of other musical comedy extravaganza? The show has surely been getting promising reviews, and critics and bloggers who have seen the screeners have received it well– so what of Galavant after the 4 weeks of comedy extravagances is over? According to Timothy Omundson’s tweet from December 6th, “Watch & there will be more!”
Regardless of whether or not that’s the case, I’m going to need each and every one of you to turn on ABC, this Sunday night, at 7PM, Central Standard time, and watch Galavant.
I’m not going to count my eggs before they hatch, but I feel like someone has been playing their cards right over at ABC, and I think they just might have the perfect mix of perfect-ness for a musical TV show. With a short but sweet first run (with hopefully more to follow), a hilarious and talented cast and creative team, a slew of stellar special guests (IE: Ricky Gervais, Rutger Hauer, Hugh Bonneville, Weird Al Yankovic, John Stamos, etc), original, catchy songs, and bonkers good marketing people, I can now say that I have complete faith, and firmly believe in Galavant. I no longer worry for it’s well-being and making it as a musical comedy fairy tale.
I haven’t even seen a single episode, yet… But based on everything you’ve teased me with so far, I’m sorry I ever doubted you, Galavant. I will be watching, this Sunday night, and I hope you all will be too.
To further persuade your loyal viewership, check out these musical numbers that will absolutely, without fail, get stuck in your heads: