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TV Series Review

You know, come to think of it, sometimes damsels deserve a little distress.

Take Madalena, current queen of ABC's midseason medieval musical Galavant (a "four-week comedy extravaganza," ABC crows, filling in while  Once Upon a Time takes a winter sabbatical). Granted, she's not exactly a damsel (which would imply some sort of purity on her part), nor is she in particular distress, living it up on the king's dime, as it were. So maybe the word distress is more apropos for the men in her life.

For a while, she and the brave hero Galavant were an feudal item, sneaking off to roll in the proverbial (and probably literal) hay "thrice a day, more or less," we're told in a song. That ended the day the nefarious King Richard kidnapped the fair maiden and spirited her away to his castle to marry. But when Galavant takes the time to rescue his pretty paramour at the altar, she tells him to jump in the nearest loch. "I'm gonna go with the fame and fortune," she says. "Seems like an easier life."

For her, maybe. For King Richard, not so much. No matter how many jewels he gives her or petty kingdoms he crushes to impress her, Madalena keeps comparing him to her old, heroic flame. What is a dark-age despot to do? Get rid of Galavant, naturally. Best to lure the old boy to his castle for (ahem) keeps.

Galavant is the sort of show you hardly ever see on television, and there's a reason for that. What risk-averse studio executive in his right mind would greenlight a fairy tale adventure full of satirical song-and-dance numbers? Yet here it is, as if someone dumped The Princess Bride, Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Family Guy in a big black cauldron, turned up the heat and served the slurry to viewers right out of the pot.

For some, the steaming stew seems to work. Critics have cooed over the show's creativity and self-tweaking humor, and they seem to love  Psych veteran Timothy Omundson as King Richard. Writes Lauren Piester for E!: "The Psych fans in us were excited. The Princess Bride fans in us were thrilled. The musical television fans in us were jumping up and down with pure joy, and none of those people were disappointed."

Well, at least one was. Me.

Listen, I dig Omundson and love The Princess Bride as much as the next guy. But ABC, did you have to put so much naughtiness in there? As light and as silly as it is, Galavant makes Once Upon a Time look like a deep, introspective history lesson. And maybe there's nothing wrong with that. But what could've been a really fun show suitable for the whole fam turns into a ribald TV-14 romp that may seem innocent at first but leaves you feeling dirty afterwards. It's depressingly crass, really, as it ladles on unruly language, sexual shenanigans, voluminous vomiting, etc.

I like silly. I like musicals. I wanted to like this show. And in fairness, Galavant hardly breaks any sort of new tawdry TV territory here. But this show's clearly courting Once Upon a Time fans (many of whom are quite young). And that means the producers will need more than a wheelbarrow and a holocaust cloak to rescue their curious concoction.


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Episode Reviews

Galavant: 1-4-2015
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