TV Review: ‘Galavant,’ Season 2

Joshua Sasse, Timothy Omundson, Vinnie Jones, Mallory Jansen, Karen David, Luke Youngblood

ABC must have gotten a good deal, like really quite a steal, to go ahead and renew “Galavant.” A show with ratings low, but catchy songs, you know, that pretty well describes poor “Galavant.” Now it’s back for season two, and that’s good news for those few who can appreciate something as wildly silly as “Galavant.” And as one of those folks, who felt in on the jokes, here’s a (qualified) cheer for “Galavant.” So savor this brief run, that’s really quite good fun, because blink and you might miss out on “Galavant.”

Actually, “Galavant” rather conspicuously retires that overused ditty in the opening of the season premiere, which cheekily (like most everything else associated with the show) pokes fun at its meager audience, while citing the murderer’s row of big January events (the Golden Globes, playoff football) in its competitive future that are apt to keep things that way. “You’ll know hell’s freezin’ if we get decent ratings,” the lyrics say near the outset.

Stick with the show through the previewed episodes, though, and it’s pretty clear why this medieval musical comedy – which, even if it hadn’t rhymed “adventure” with “butt-clenched,” gets points just for that log line – didn’t catch on beyond its hearty band of admirers. Because while it’s cleverly conceived and occasionally witty, “Galavant” generally plays like a narrowly pitched come-on to theater geeks and fans of early Monty Python, perfectly nice people, but in Nielsen terms, not historically  a winning coalition.

Fortunately, the enthusiasts also included ABC Entertainment chief Paul Lee, which explains the stay of execution, although once again, ABC has scheduled back-to-back episodes of the series, having concluded that it didn’t really go with any of the other comedies on its schedule. That means the 10 episodes (seven of which were previewed) provide a relatively brief five-week respite for “Once Upon a Time.”

The first season of “Galavant” ended on a cliffhanger, and the second moves ahead on several parallel tracks, with the title character (Joshua Sasse) and his former nemesis King Richard (Timothy Omundson) thrown together on a sort-of quest. Galavant wants to rescue his new love Isabella (Karen David), who remains a captive; while Richard wants his throne back, having been deposed by his power-hungry queen (and Galavant’s ex) Madalena (Mallory Jansen) and former henchman Gareth (Vinnie Jones, who gets to sing perhaps more than is advisable).

There are, again, some amusing guest stars, including “Downton Abbey’s” Hugh Bonneville and Sophie McSheara, and Kylie Minogue. The show also exhibits a consistent sense of playfulness, from Galavant and Richard stumbling into a gay bar called the Enchanted Forest to the complications that can ensue from a bad magic-amulet connection to a “West Side Story”-like gang fight between dwarfs and giants, who all happen to be about the same height.

Even the title of the premiere (“A New Season… aka Suck It Cancellation Bear”) speaks to the show’s embrace of its predicament, which hasn’t really led to anything that would reflect an attempt to significantly broaden its appeal. And while one can understand downplaying the title song – which tended to play on a continuous loop in the heads of those who watched – the new tunes, again courtesy of composer Alan Menken and lyricist Glenn Slater, are likable but a somewhat hit-miss affair, heightening appreciation for how consistently good the numbers have been on CW’s “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.”

Reprise: And so those few who care, should probably say a prayer, if they want to see more “Galavant.” Yes, there were fun songs and dances, but in TV there aren’t many second chances, so while it isn’t trash – a big step up from “Smash” – best not to get too attached to “Galavant.”

TV Review: 'Galavant,' Season 2

(Series; ABC, Sun. Jan. 3, 8 p.m.)

Production: Filmed in Bristol by Rhode Island Prods. in association with ABC Studios.

Crew: Executive Producers, Dan Fogelman, Alan Menken, Glenn Slater, Chris Koch, Kat Likkel, John Hoberg; director, John Fortenberry; writers, Fogelman, Likkel, Hoberg. 30 MIN.

Cast: Joshua Sasse, Timothy Omundson, Vinnie Jones, Mallory Jansen, Karen David, Luke Youngblood

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