Galavant Season Finale: “Here All Week Unless I die”

How can one not love the two-part season finale of Galavant, when it starts with such a brilliant recap song by the Jester, “Thank you. Here all week…unless I die.”

KAREN DAVID, JOSHUA SASSE, GENEVIEVE ALLENBURY, STANLEY TOWNSEND, TIMOTHY OMUNDSON, VINNIE JONES

How can one not love the two-part season finale of Galavant, when it starts with such a brilliant recap song by the Jester, “Thank you. Here all week…unless I die.” Followed by a running argument between Gareth and Madalena (with interjections by Wormwood) and a rousing speech by Isabella.

Galavant and Richard lead their army of  “half-dead” soldiers onto the battlefield while Chef and his “bae” realize they are right in the middle of everything.  Chester Wormwood turns into an evil, and male, Mary Poppins for the “Do the D’ew, D’ew D’ew” (which may, or may not be the title but it looks right…) just in time to keep Madalena from changing her mind about using dark magic.

Chester turns the zombie army against everyone. “You make a cake, you break a few eggs,” is his response when  Madalena complains. Later, she goes to save Gareth who is taking shelter from the dead soldiers with Isabella, Galavant, and his old pal Richard.

After the first half of Galavant’s season finale ends, the second half starts with a musical flashback where Richard and Gareth are children. (Keep an eye out for a splendid in-joke.) The entire opening takes a leaf from “The Kid” with Richard playing Bruce Willis’ part.

The zombies surround Gareth and Galavant while the “one true king to rule them all” goes after Wormwood.  In the interim Madalena and “Tiny Tot” do battle and Sid arrives with reinforcements (but no one famous due to budgetary reasons) and viewers with keen hearing will notice a Wilhelm scream at the end of one comic fight.

DARREN EVANS, SOPHIE MCSHERA
Chef and “bae.”

Happily ever after is a low key affair for one couple, or two if one includes a certain former royal staff member and his “bae” while the other two lovers manage to have a happy ending that could be termed a ball of fire.

There is one last surprise guest on the series as Weird Al Yankovic shows up as a marital monk, who sings what just may be the best song of the second season, and also performs a musical marriage ceremony.

Galavant, in its finale,  manages to have some really excellent sequences: The armies all rushing together to do battle. Gareth and Madalena expressing how they really feel.  Wormwood and Richard with their confrontation and the physical followup to the “cat-fight” song by Isabella and Madalena.

It is no secret that this show took some getting used to.  However, repeated viewings and a steady appreciation for what Menken and the writers were striving for (under the guidance of show creator Dan Fogelman) turned this reviewer around. 

VINNIE JONES, JOSHUA SASSE
Gareth (Jones) and Galavant (Sasse).

The season finale, where the players break the fourth wall repeatedly, brings up that Galavant may not be renewed for another run.  If that is the case, then fans can take comfort in a cracking end to a series that entertains and is able, just like the finale itself, to make the viewer laugh and perhaps shed a little tear.

(Although that could have just been me…)

The stars of the show,Timothy OmundsonJoshua Sasse, Vinnie Jones, Karen DavidMallory Jansen and Luke Youngblood all do  brilliantly in their respective roles. (Praise is also to be lavished on the Welsh actor Darren Evans who kills it every time he is on screen.) In terms of guest starring roles, Galavant has proffered the “creme de la creme” of talent from across the pond.

The actors who all appear in cameos, guest roles and recurring ones (Robert Lindsay for example) all went above and beyond the call of Galavant and apart from thrilling at least one certain fan, made the show a lot of fun.

WEIRD AL YANKOVIC
Weird Al and his Monks…

Galavant sails off into the musical sunset tonight after another rapid round of episodes. May the network demigods approve the show for further seasons and make room for even more great guests. After all, at least one character did not get her happy ending and it would be brilliant to see where this storyline could lead.

ABC airs the season finale tonight, tune in and see how many musical homages you can spot.

 

 

Galavant: Love & Death, Eddie Marsan and Do the D’dew, aka Do-Do (Review)

The latest two episodes of Galavant: Love and Death plus Do the D’dew (which should be do-do cue schoolboy laughter) include two of the most brilliant musical numbers.

 CLARE FOSTER, LUKE YOUNGBLOOD, TIMOTHY OMUNDSON

The latest two episodes of Galavant: Love and Death plus Do the D’dew (which should be do-do cue schoolboy laughter) include two of the most brilliant musical numbers.

In Love and Death, there is the omnipresent Eddie Marsan, last seen in River as serial killer Thomas Cream, playing death and rocking the episode.

There is also Reece Shearsmith as the healer, who has his own splendid musical number and who also gets in a Shaun of the Dead reference when talking about his half-dead/half-alive army:

“They’re a bit “bite-y”

Sidenote: Shearsmith was in the first of the cornetto trilogy films, mIssed the second (Hot Fuzz) and made into the third, The World’s End. To clarify the reference, Shaun’s mum “We’re coming to get you Barbara,” says that some men (zombies) who attacked Philip were a bit “bite-y.” Reece played one of “Yvonne’s group.”

Marsan’s entire number had everything, humor, pithy lyrics, knee in the groin and a slew of Galavant’s friends, including one odd stranger (for rhyming purposes):

“I am just some random guy…”

A bit of fun, at the expense of the “dying” Galavant, who never was going to die before time.  Shearsmith’s role as Neo Sporin  (Get it? Get it??) was fun, although he was probably thankful not to follow Marsan’s grim reaper routine.

Standout Moments:

Timothy Omundson with his sidesplitting “Tom and Jerry” high-pitched scream for help after his preceding deep growl of “you’ve done quite enough.”

The “some random guy” gag and Galavan complaining that he had obviously run out of friends.

The Unicorn’s return…

“Guess the Future” game and Isabella’s DVR line and then being tricked into leading the Hortensia army into battle.

Vinnie Jones and the “proposal” kick in the face incident.

Eddie Marsan as Death: “Say sayonara as there ain’t no tomorra…where you’re goin’.”

Bobbi (After Galavant interrupts the kiss): “You couldn’t wait 30 more seconds to come back from the dead huh?”

Gareth and Magdalena telling each other how they feel via the “soldiers of Valencia.”

Hortensia’s weapons of war…

The un-dead army.

Honorable Mentions:

Galavant: (hacking) Ugh Sorry, but it feels like there is a tiny wiry hair stuck in the back of my throat.

KAREN DAVID
Isabella gathering weapons.

Next up is Do the D’dew where Robert Lindsay gets to do a little song and dance of his own, as the villainous wedding planner who makes a dark offer.  Isabella and the Jester head to the enemy camp to surrender and after Magdalena trots out her “monstrous” terms. “Tiny Tot,” recants the idea of laying down “toy” arms and the two women enter into a spirited (and flaming brilliant) musical cat fight.

Later Isabella motivates the denizens of Hortensia to donate weapons.

Chester Wormwood offers the King and Queen his “doubly dark” magic, “D’dew” and Gareth tells Magdalena that he is not comfortable with the this turn of events and she tells Wormwood that they do not want the D’dew. After Gareth leaves, she then tells Chester that she will find him later.

Roberta and Richard, “R&R” do their medieval version of the John Travolta/Olivia Newton-John “Tell me more” number from Grease, only titled “Finally.” The un-dead army fills in for the Pink Ladies and the T-birds which allowed this “homage” to work perfectly.

Later Galavant shares a moment with his un-dead army, or half-dead army, where they respond to love.  Magdalena goes with the D’dew, which causes her eyes to turn red and provides a great “Up” moment. Gareth notice the eye colour change and asks about it, the Queen points off the left and says:

 “Oh look, there’s a squirrel.”

This D’dew moment takes place mid-song where Isabella is painting how dark all this season has been.

Standout Moments:

The singing cat fight; “I really don’t like you.”

Isabella to Jester:

“Don’t get your bells in a bunch”

Roberta singing to the camera about living alone and having to chase it to finish her line.

The fact that “D’dew” sound so much like “do-do.” (In keeping with the puerile humor in the show thus far this certainly made me chuckle.)

Honorable Mention:

The Jester’s raspberry prior to the cat fight.

Galavant’s un-dead army following him like the “Zs” follow “The Murphy” in Z Nation.

Annoying bit:

Isabella: Easy peasy, pudding and pie…

What?

Obviously easy peasy, lemon squeezy (which most people say) was too difficult to rhyme, hence the change.  Of course I could be wrong, if so, any feedback from the show’s makers would be welcomed…

Overall Thoughts:

These last two episodes, which could be called the penultimate double installment, were brilliant.  Prior to the Karen David and Mallory Jansen duo, Eddie Marsan had the award for the “episode best” musical number.

With the finale just one week away, and more homages, inside jokes and some splendid gags, Galavant will be going out on a high note. This ode to all things musical has converted at least one “non-musical” nerd into a fan.

Galavant will end on January 31, aka next Sunday on ABC. Tune in and see how this all ends, Will Gal get the girl or will Wormwood win the day.

 

 

Galavant: Episodes 5 & 6 – Nick Frost and Sheridan Smith (Review)

Galavant, with episodes 5 and 6 continues with a guest star roster to die for, Robert Lindsay is still playing Wormwood the wedding planner and evil schemer and Sheridan Smith comes in to play a hirsute princess who does not like weddings.

 JOSHUA SASSE, NICK FROST

Galavant, with episodes 5 and 6 continues with a guest star roster to die for, Robert Lindsay is still playing Wormwood the wedding planner and evil schemer and Sheridan Smith comes in to play a hirsute princess who does not like weddings.  Another well-known performer plays a giant, Nick Frost.  Sadly no one appears as a hobbit since they were eaten by the starving Galavant, Richard and “Bobbi.”

It has to be said that after disliking this series intently upon the first viewing, it has slowly but surely become a favorite.  The combination of great guest stars and repeated viewings has ensured that this comical ode to all things musical has overcome the initial misgivings and annoyance at the songs all sounding the same.

Of course it took the next episode, with guest star Eddie Marsan, who  plays death,  doing his song and dance which did, suddenly, sound completely different from all other songs in the second season that  won this dubious heart over.

Sidenote: completely unrelated to “Galavant,” but Eddie Marsan does appear to be in everything thing at the moment.  No complaints here though as Marsan has been a favorite performer for years, but he really seems to be everywhere.   

The omnipresent Marsan aside, he does not appear in either of these two episodes,  but the end of number 6, About Last Knight, with Galavant being skewered by the sword that Sid throws, his entrance in episode 7 is assured…

Episode 5:

Before the “death” of Galavant the trio of protagonists run into the giants  headed up by Andre (Nick Frost) and the dwarves.  Each group are the same height, at first glance all being around 5’8″ or 9″, as Frost is the former…

The whole battle between antagonists is down to a bridge built where one side is “dwarf size” and the other “giant size.” Leaving aside the ludicrous concept of each faction not recognizing that they are the same height (something that Bobbi sings brilliantly about) the whole thing is a long build up to a homage to…wait for it….West Side Story.

Galavant meets with the giants, who convinced Richard earlier that an iguana is in fact a fire breathing dragon and exchanged the creature for the jewel of Valencia, to get the gem back, or to convince them to join his fight to free Isabella.

Richard sides with the dwarves and just as things look to get fiery, Roberta fixes the bridge and stops the hostilities. Unfortunately the two warring groups then decide that they have to sort themselves and the bridge out properly.

Standout Moments:

Andre the Giant (Get it? Get it?) and his line about the dwarves complaining about the bridge:

“And those whiny little b*tches…”

The grumbling by the giants each time Galavant mentions dwarves.

The romance building between the Queen and King Gareth and Sid talking to his “Bro” Gareth warning him not to fall in love with Madalena and the end results.

SHERIDAN SMITH
Sheridan Smith

Sheridan Smith doing her version of Miley Cyrus…

The whole finger-snapping and whistling West Side Story set piece…

The show of hands bit and “shirts and skins.”

Sid learning that Gareth does not practice the “bro code.”

Episode 6:

About Last Knight goes all out with another homage, this one with Sid’s performance a’la Les Mes...where he rouses the peasants to revolt but tells them in graphic detail what will happen when they do and then finds himself all alone at the song’s finale.

The trio of heroes have yet another horse run out of steam and Richard complains about having to eat a family of Hobbits.  Magdalena tries to make Gareth’s birthday special, Galavant and his two followers run into poppa Galavant and Isabella kicks off about having to relinquish her bra to Prince Harry.

Standout Moments:

Sid (Luke Youngblood) and his Les Miserables song…

Wormwood’s firing by Isabella and as Chester (Robert Lindsay) leaves he keeps dispensing advice about the upcoming wedding while simultaneously cursing the princess.

Richard (Timothy Omundson) and his complete inability to “play” with children.

Gareth’s response to Magdalena’s surprise party (he runs through at least three party members).

The pub scene where Gareth cannot pick  fight with anyone.

The Forest of Coincidence.

Honorable Mention:

Daddy Arnold Galavant and his “I stitched them myself.”

Robert Lindsay’s “Crazy war minded monsters” line.

Roberta’s response to Galavant  when he accuses her of “caring about Richard:”

“Love him?”

The “He was There” song; specifically the lyrics;  “gave me all your underwear,  he gave me all the gear he gave to you” and of course, “he’s behind me.”

Overall Thoughts:

Despite the “shock” of Galavant (Joshua Sasse) catching Sid’s thrown sword with his chest, it is a certainty that the hero of this piece will not die.  (At least we hope not, the only thing that could be worse would be if Richard was to be extinguished before chasing that damned unicorn away.)  Still, episode 7 will feature the grim reaper so fans beware…

Galavant airs Sundays on ABC and at two episodes a whack, will not last much longer. Tune in, re-watch the older episodes, and season one while you are at  it, and enjoy this little comedic homage to all things musical.

 

Galavant: Episodes 3 & 4 – Matt Lucas and Robert Lindsay (Review)

Ah Galavant. You continue to please with a plethora of guests who impress and enthrall. Firstly, Matt Lucas who goes from the “Only gay in the village” (Little Britain) to the first “Animal Farm” socialist peasant.

MATT LUCAS

Ah Galavant.  You continue to please with a  plethora of guests who impress and enthrall. Firstly, Matt Lucas who goes from the “Only gay in the village” (Little Britain) to the first “Animal Farm” socialist peasant. (Okay the song says D-E-M-C-R-A-C-Y but it sounds like a socialist manifesto, where some are more equal than others…)  Lucas appears in the first of the two episodes that aired on Sunday; Aw Hell the King.

In this third episode (of season two), King Richard discovers his castle has been dismantled and re-issued, stone-by-stone to villagers to build other things.  Isabella (Karen David)  gorges on turkish delight and forces the Jester (Ben Presley) to re-enact Galavant (Joshua Sasse) when he broke up with her, via the magical Simon Callow crystal call. 

Gareth (Vinnie Jones) is having nightmares about “stabbing Richard” in the back and taking his throne while the Queen threatens Sid with certain death if he does not sort the problem out. Seems that missing beauty sleep is deadly in the verse.

While all the singing and dancing is going on, at Richard’s missing castle, over at Hortensia Isabella’s wallowing in misery and Turkish Delight, is interrupted by the King and Queen who introduce another great guest star (who actually appears in several episodes) Robert Lindsay.

Lindsay, a personal favorite, plays wedding planner Chester Wormwood.  This villain actually has much more planned than setting up Isabella’s wedding to her 11 year-old cousin, he  puts her under a spell so he can control Valencia.  (It is all in the tiara…)

ROBERT LINDSAY, KAREN DAVID
Robert Lindsay as Chester Wormwood…”Panto” Villain

Standout Moments in “Aw Hell the King:”

The inclusion of “gingers” as not being allowed to vote Lucas’ song.

Robert Lindsay’s character crossing his fingers whilst pledging his services to Isabella.

Lucas’ character “breaking the fourth wall” with his line about war:

Peasant John: Now, I can’t imagine a free people ever voting to send an army into an open-ended foreign conflict which profits only the few. (Looks pointedly at camera) That would be madness.

Vinnie Jones as Gareth, screaming himself awake…twice.

Timothy Omundson, as Richard, with his Blacksmithery song lines and his own response:

♪I would hit the thing with the other thing ♪ ♪ Till I made a different thing ♪ ♪ If I were a jolly blacksmith ♪

“No, I’m not feeling it. Besides, I’d get filthy. There must be something better.”

Lindsay’s wedding planner song.

Karen David doing her Isabella transformation as part of the wedding planner song…

The idea of “baby fights.”

Back to the episode, after Galavant asks the town committee to join his army to free Isabella, only one person volunteers, Roberta Steingass (Clare Foster). Shortly after, Richard also volunteers to help, much to Galavant’s chagrin. 

Back at Hortensia, Isabella is excited about the wedding, due to her glowing tiara, and only the Jester notices the difference.

Bewitched, Bothered and Belittled starts on a  great comic note, with Richard confessing to swallowing the Jewel of Valencia (with loads of bacon grease) and then exiting the huge jewel from his other end…

After this, Richard realizes that the volunteer is his old childhood pal Roberta.  Back at Hortensia, Gwynne also notices that Isabella is not her usual self:

“your pupils just spun ’round then, and your tiara started to glow…”

Chef and Gwynne sing about how good they have it, after he admonishes her for eating the “throw-away” food.

Queen Madalena is invited to a Sunday Roast by the Von Falconburgh sisters (or as King Gareth says, “a couple of old tarts,” and she obsesses over what earrings to wear.  She protests that the sisters are the most popular Queens in “all the seven realms” and she recounts her first meeting.

The “younger” queens pull a cruel prank on Madalena by offering her a ride on their coach and then haltingly moving the vehicle out of reach.  With this Sunday roast invite, the grown-up Madalena thinks she has “arrived.”

Galavant attempts to extricate himself from Richard by passing the former king off on “Bobby.”  Madalena learns that the Sunday roast in, in reality, a “friars roast” of Valencia’s Queen, in other words, her.  After the two vicious sisters zero in on those earrings, the meal finishes with a repeat of the “coach trick” from Madalena’s childhood.

Standout Moments in “Bewitched, Bothered and Belittled:”

The “Maybe You Won’t Die Alone” song.

Queen Madalena (Mallory Jansen) tearfully singing about “feeling” (which did bring a lump to the old throat) and then King Gareth bringing in the ears of the Von Falconburgh sisters, complete with earrings. 

It has to be mentioned that in terms of guest cameos, it was delightful to see Sally Phillips and Sarah Hadland as the two “evil” sisters. Phillips is another comedy favorite; from television Smack the Pony and film; Bridget Jones 1 & 2 and she has worked with Jones at least once before in Mean Machine.

Verdict:

All right Galavant the white flag has gone up and an unconditional surrender is in force.  Even the songs are becoming “earworms” (helped no doubt by at least two songs in the above episodes feeling decidedly “Little Mermaid Sebastian-ish.”

Even for viewers who do not fall into the category of “Musical Geek/Nerd,” the guest list, the comedic onslaught, the lyrics of the songs and the performances all take this into a higher sphere than initially realized by at least one reviewer.

On a personal note, I realized the battle  was over when I began laughing at the song lyrics…and of course those brilliant guest stars; most, if not all, personal favorites for years…

Well played Galavant.

Galavant: Season Two – ABC Tribute to Musical Comedy has Stellar Guest List

All right ABC, your tribute to all things musical; all triteness and trying to be too twee by half, does have some things going for it. After setting through seven of Galavant’s second season offerings, three are left and “unavailable” for viewing, it appears that a “re-think” may be in order.

Kylie Minogue

All right ABC, your tribute to all things musical; all triteness and trying to be too twee by half, does have some things going for it. After sitting through seven of Galavant‘s second season offerings, three are left and “unavailable” for viewing as yet, it appears that a “re-think” may be in order.

While the overall impression of the show is still one of surprise; as just how this odd-ball and slightly annoying series was ever brought back for a second season, there are a few bits that amuse. On top of the hit and miss comedy and the wildly irritating “one note” songs, the series does have a guest star list to die for and the show gets “funnier” as the season goes along.

Of course there would be  a few comic “hits.” When using the shotgun approach where every single line is a gag of one type or another, some of this scattergun ammunition will strike a target.  (The entire thing does really feel like a musical written by the “Airplane!” creative team though…just saying.)

VINNIE JONES, LUKE YOUNGBLOOD
Vinnie Jones, all right, I’ll admit it, he is funny…

Watching each episode (the things I do for my readers, eh?) the one thing that does leap  off the screen is the high quality show’s guest stars.  Some of these guest performers  will only be impressive to Anglophiles or Brits who grew up watching telly in the UK. Regardless of this possible  “topical” drawback, the calibre of entertainers who have stopped by to grace the English studio sets (season one was filmed in, according to IMDb, The Bottleyard Studios, in Bristol, so season two must be also.)

This filming locale may explain the amount of impressive performers who have stopped by to “sing” and dance a bit for the production.  International stars and actors like Kylie Minogue, Simon Callow, and Nick Frost as well as more “home grown” performers like (personal favorite) Robert Lindsay are showing up in varying sizes of cameos. (Although Lindsay is playing a recurring character.)

All lot of “names” have shown up in season two,  season one, which admittedly has only been “skip viewed,” had Rutger Hauer as King Richard’s brother. and an annoying Ricky Gervais (Sorry matey not a fan, I did love you in Extras though.) After having just seen Eddie Marsan (who seems to be in everything at the moment) in a brilliant cameo, and no it will not be revealed just who he plays, with only three episodes left of season two, the mind boggles at who else may turn up in a guest spot.

Simon Callow
Simon Callow

While the whole “breaking out in song” constantly is still not a huge hit with this reviewer, Galavant has worn down the initial resistance.  (Personal note: Admittedly, it has always been a lot more fun to be in musicals versus watching them.) Therefore, it should be pointed out, however begrudgingly, that  there are comic bits in the second season that are laugh-worthy. Some of these laugh-filled moment are even in the odd song, or two.

The “death song” (again, no spoilers but damn that whole routine was funny) and the high-pitched squeal for help (same episode) and Vinnie Jones doing a bit of song and “dance,” all actually entertained rather than irritated.   Speaking of that scream for help, after “skip” watching season one and now most of season two,  Yank actor Timothy Odmundson has become a firm favorite along with the rest of the cast.

Sidenote: Odmundson, who is playing an English “royal” was born in Missouri, just like the late and great Vincent Price who specialized in playing English characters throughout his long and varied career. Can we have a “hmmm?”

Perhaps the thing that has changed the comic tide is the cast’s dogged insistence on playing it straight, most of them anyway, and it has sold the comedy.  The only character who is not doing it “for realz, yeah” is Lindsay, but his role calls for that Pantomime (“He’s behind you!”) flavor of delivery.

Despite Galavant annoying the hell out of this reviewer initially, although it was great to see Kylie Minogue in the season two premiere episode, basically  you all had me at Robert Lindsay.  Once this brilliant actor appeared (fan since Citizen Smith…) it became fait accompli that this show would suddenly become elevated in these eyes.

The guest stars, which are impressive, amusing and turned into a sort of a “spot” the favorite type of fun, sealed the deal.

Do not be deceived, except for the “death song” the musical numbers still annoy more than appeal, they all sound too…”same-y.”   To be honest, however, that could just be this particular viewer’s perception. The characters are all starting to amuse more than irritate and, okay, there  is a unicorn!

Timothy Odmundson
Timothy Odmundson – King Richard

So, after a re-review, albeit without access to all the episodes of season two, Galavant has leapt up in entertainment points.   A combination of watching seven straight episodes and a stellar guest star list have elevated the status of this second season.  There is still an urge to fast-forward past the musical numbers after a moment or two, but that may change after repeated viewings.

Galavant airs January 3, 2016 on ABC. Even if musical comedy is not your thing, tune in, if for no other reason than to see the cream of English (and Australian – Minogue) talent that struts across the small screen. Tip: Leave your thinking cap off and enjoy the fun.