GALAVANT, ‘A NEW SEASON AKA SUCK IT CANCELLATION BEAR’ & ‘WORLD’S BEST KISS’ PLOT SUMMARIES:
Following their exile, Galavant (Joshua Sasse) and King Richard (Timothy Omundson) journey back to reunite with Princess Isabella (Karen David), Galavant’s true love, and reclaim the throne, respectively. Unfortunately for them, the Queen of the Enchanted Forest pub (Kylie Minogue) takes Galavant hostage and forces him into servitude. Later, Galavant and Richard attempt to communicate with their friends through magic.
Somehow, someway ABC renewed Galavant for a second season, a fact that comes not only as a shock to me, but the characters themselves, who had pondered in the Season 1 Finale whether or not all the musical numbers hurt their Nielsen ratings. This apparently wasn’t the case, which is a good thing, since the finale left viewers hanging with a massive cliffhanger.
I happened to be one of those viewers. But the funny thing is that I’m having a tough time recalling why I stuck with it for so long. It was ending just as I joined Pop-Break, so it wasn’t because I was the site’s resident mini-series guy, though that word doesn’t even apply to this show now. It also wasn’t because I found the show fantastic, because I didn’t. No, I think a lot of it can be attributed one man, Alan Menken. You might not know him by name (I didn’t for a long time) but I’m willing to bet almost everyone reading this review is familiar with his work, assuming you’ve seen movies such as Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and Hercules (yeah, he wrote the music for those films).
It’s for this reason, among others, that the first season of Galavant disappointed me. Aside from the extremely catchy theme, it had some nice but ultimately forgettable songs. And to make matters worse, ABC managed to ruin the theme song by advertising all of its shows to the tune during commercial breaks. ABC must have gotten a lot of complaints since the characters express a similar feeling in this premiere; we still hear the theme during the actual program, but not as much. Unfortunately, this highlights the continuing absence of breakout songs, though the Season 2 Premiere does benefit from a disco number and a love song that are at least entertaining. The “New Season” song is the only one I can sort of remember the beat to though.
But while it wasn’t apparent to me before, it’s clear now that the songs don’t stick because the characters aren’t sympathetic. We felt for protagonists like Pocahontas and Quasimodo because we could relate to them, but the audience can’t relate to Galavant and his love for a princess with little personality. At least in the first season she butted heads with Galavant, though she did show signs of falling for him very quickly. Now she’s just a generic damsel in distress. If there is any character that we can relate to, it’s the innocent and naïve Richard, not because of his quest to reclaim his kingdom (this was Isabella’s motivation in the first season), but because he’s out to do a job no one thinks he can do. They might be right actually, but it’s nonetheless admirable of him.
Richard, however, is not the main focus of the show, though he is a source of comedy. As in the last season, this comedy is a mix of King Richard’s gullibility, irreverent humor you wouldn’t expect in a fairy tale, and fourth wall breaking, including Game of Thrones references. But while the references were humorous the first time, they come across as lazy now; Galavant shouldn’t have to ride the coattails of a better show. I will admit, however, that the censored swearing (which includes pixilated mouths) is still kind of funny.
Kind of funny, in fact, is a good way to describe Galavant as a whole. Sometimes it’s painful, but other times it generates a smirk. Still, that’s not reason enough to stick around just to get the ending we deserved the first time around (please, no third season).
RATING: 6 OUT OF 10 (AVERAGE)
GALAVANT AIRS SUNDAYS AT 8PM ON ABC
Aaron Sarnecky is Pop-Break.com’s television editor and covers Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter, among other things. He is a graduate of Rowan University with a degree in Television and Film. He probably remembers that show you forgot existed. Follow him on Twitter: @AaronSarnecky