‘Galavant’ advance review: ABC’s extravaganza will bewitch you, body and soul

Galavant cast
The cast of “Galavant”. (Photo credit: ABC/Disney via Disney Press Site)

“Galavant” is simply irresistible. ABC’s fairytale comedy musical extravaganza is so laugh-out-loud hilarious that it merits repeated viewings. You’ll find yourself roaring so loudly at the first joke that you’ll end up missing the second and even third. This unique gem of a show is an absolute joy to watch. In an age wrought with headache inducing and heartbreakingly intense dramas, we could all use a magical break from reality. “Galavant” is exactly the kind of series that allows you to escape from your worries. This bewitching hour transports viewers to an enchanting world full of vibrant colors, side-splitting laughter, and infectiously catchy songs.

If you’ve seen “Galavant’s” delightful trailer and opening musical number, then you already know the show’s basic premise. Ruggedly handsome knight, Sir Galavant (Joshua Sasse), loses his self-serving lady love, Madalena (Mallory Jansen), to buffoonish King Richard (marvelously played by Timothy Omundson). As the pilot and series unfolds, Galavant is motivated to pick himself up out of the gutter by the sweet and spunky Princess Isabella (Karen David) who offers him a chance to kill King Dick and win back his one True Love. Although Isabella has ulterior motives, the time she spends with Galavant on their epic journey begins to bring out the best in our charmingly flawed hero.

“Galavant” works so brilliantly because it is so wonderfully self-aware. The tone is completely tongue-in-cheek and the characters are practically winking at the camera with every pop-culture reference and ridiculously silly joke. The phenomenally talented cast play each character with earnestness. They may seem like caricatures of stereotypical fairytale tropes, but they still have a lot of heart. This enchanting cast brings the show’s brilliant writing to life.

“Galavant” is a fast-paced joyride with witty jokes speedily breezing by. You’ll have to pay close attention or go back for a re-watch to catch all the laughs, especially when it comes to the wickedly funny lyrics. Some of these snazzy songs are downright naughty. This is not your kiddie’s Saturday morning cartoon. Children will laugh at the slapstick comedy of it all, but some of the more suggestive jokes may fly over their heads (or at least parents will hope some of them do). The tone of this series is exactly why all of the film comparisons have been so true.

“Galavant” has the dirty, culturally aware, mocking humor of “Robin Hood: Men in Tights” mixed with the sweeping romance and epic adventure of “The Princess Bride,” topped off with a rocking nod to “A Knight’s Tale.” After viewing all six episodes available for screening, a sequence in episode 2, “Joust Friends,” perfectly exemplifies everything that is so lovable about this show.

John Stamos’ rival knight in shining armor, Sir Jean Hamm (seriously the name alone makes you chuckle), duels against Galavant in a joust that is so ridiculous, it will have you laughing so hard you will be in tears. Literally. It is so funny it hurts. Even the build up to this scene is brilliant. Sebastian Back sings a classic rock song spoofing “Eye of the Tiger,” which references parts of animals like llamas and gerbils. The rock anthem plays over Galavant’s Rocky-esque training montage. Hilarious!

“Galavant” has accumulated an impressive list of guest stars. Stamos shines as a pompous knight, “Downton Abbey’s” Hugh Bonneville is uproarious as a shipwrecked sea-adjacent shanty singing pirate, Weird Al Yankovic comically carries a doo-wop inspired tune as a monk, and Rick Gervais belts out trippy 70s style retro-rock song as the mischievous wizard Xanax. The guest stars only add to the brilliance of this alluring cast. Omundson is completely in his element and he totally wins you over as the sad-sack evil King. The incredibly charming Sasse will make ladies swoon and sigh. David is absolutely delightful as the conflicted and saucy Princess. Jansen is deliciously wicked as King Richard’s bossy bride. Vinnie Jones is fantastic as the straight-man to Omundson’s outlandish buffoonery. And you won’t even believe that Galavant’s loyal squire, Sid, is the same guy who played “Pop-Pop” on “Community.”

Bottom line: “Galavant” is 2015’s new must-see show that the whole family can enjoy together. You’ll find yourself humming Al Menken’s melodies and counting down the days in between episodes.

It is a smart move on ABC’s part to air two episodes at a time because a half hour of “Galavant” just isn’t enough.

For more on “Galavant” watch ABC’s super spoilery “The Making of a Comedy Extravaganza” (If you like the element of surprise, you may want to wait to watch this.) Watch HERE.

Enjoy fun footage from “Galavant’s” showcase with the cast and creators HERE.

“Galavant’s” four week extravaganza begins Sunday, January 4 at 8 p.m. on ABC.

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