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.)
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.
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!
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.