tek's rating: ½

Galavant, on ABC
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Caution: spoilers!

This is a musical-comedy-fantasy series. When I first heard of it, I thought it was going to be a limited series, but it got renewed for a second season, and I'm glad it did. On the first week, I thought it was okay, but I liked it a bit less than I was hoping I would. However, my appreciation of the characters, humor, and story grew over the next three weeks. (And I enjoyed season two even more.) Also, one of the composers of the show's music is Alan Menken, a name familiar to me from various Disney movies, so of course I was expecting to like the songs. And I guess for the most part I did. I mean, they were reasonably amusing. And I guess they sounded okay, though I didn't really find any of them terribly memorable (at least, not Disney memorable). The important thing is, they served the story and the general tone of the show, and character development, and everything. Also, there were lots of cool guest stars who were familiar to me from other things. As for the main cast, I think I'd seen most of them in things without realizing I had ever seen them before, though a couple of them are more familiar.

Season One (8 episodes/4 weeks)
So... there's this knight named Galavant (or "Gal"), who is a great hero. And he's madly in love with a woman named Madalena. But she gets kidnapped by the evil King Richard (Timothy Omundson), who plans to force her to marry him. Galavant shows up at the wedding to rescue her, but she decides she wants to marry Richard, because of all the money and power that would bring her. This shocks and crushes Gal, who gives up his life of heroics to become a do-nothing drunkard. Then one day, a princess named Isabella shows up, wanting to hire him to save her kingdom, Valencia, which has been conquered by Richard, who is now holding her parents prisoner. As an added incentive, she tells him that Madalena said she made a mistake, and wants to be rescued now (which turns out to be a lie). So, Gal starts getting himself back into fighting shape, and the two of them begin the long journey to Valencia, along with Gal's squire, Sid. Gal and Izzy don't always get along, but as the season progresses, they do grow to like each other.

Meanwhile, we also get to see what's going on in Valencia. Richard isn't very happy, because Madalena doesn't love him. In fact, she's having an affair with the court jester, though it's some time before Richard learns about that (in spite of its being incredibly obvious). Anyway... Richard isn't completely evil (in spite of having many of Valencia's citizens and even some of his own servants killed). Mostly he's just... I don't even know. Um... sort of clueless, and lonely, and soft. His only friend is his bodyguard, Gareth (Vinnie Jones), and even Gareth doesn't like Richard much. I mean, he cares about him, but he's always advising the king to "man up," and finds him rather annoying and pathetic. There's also a chef named Vincenzo, who is somewhat optimistic in spite of his lowly standard of living and the fact that the king could order him killed at any time. Toward the end of the season, he falls in love with a hand maiden named Gwynne, whose own view of life is much bleaker. Anyway, lots of stuff happens both before and after the heroes arrive in Valencia. I don't want to spoil any of it, but it was all fairly ridiculous and fun. And there are some major twists at the end of the season, which I suppose I'll have to spoil when the second season starts.

Season Two (10 episodes/5 weeks)
Okay, here's how last season ended: Galavant and his friends were locked up after reaching Valencia. He and Isabella fell in love. Richard's older brother, Kingsley (Rutger Hauer), showed up, and tried to usurp the throne. Richard and Galavant teamed up to kill Kingsley, but failed, and were both thrown in the dungeon. Gareth helped Richard and Galvant escape, and the two of them sailed away with pirates. Madalena killed Kingsley, and took the throne for herself. Meanwhile, Isabella was locked up by her 11-year-old cousin, Harry, who is the king of Hortensia. (Her parents had arranged for her to marry Harry, against her will.) So this season, she's hoping Galavant will return and rescue her before that can happen. And he does intend to rescue her, but first he has to return Richard to his own (as yet unnamed) kingdom. Unfortunately, his subjects have turned the kingdom into a democracy, so Richard is no longer king. Which means he can't order his army to help Galavant rescue Isabella, so the two of them go off seeking to raise an army some other way. They're joined in their quest by a woman named Roberta, who was a childhood friend of Richard's (and is obviously in love with him, a fact of which Richard is oblivious). Also, Galavant manages to make a magical call to Isabella, but due to bad reception, she mishears what he says, and for most of the season will believe he no longer loves her.

Meanwhile, Gareth becomes king of Valencia, ruling alongside Madalena. At first, the two of them don't get along at all, but eventually they fall in love. Oh, and Sid had become Gareth's assistant, but he's eventually forced to flee Valencia and search for Galavant. Meanwhile, in Hortensia, a wedding planner named Chester Wormwood uses a magic tiara to control Isabella's mind, as part of a plot to take over the kingdom. She's eventually freed of his control and banishes him, but he and his assistant Barry go to Valencia and convince Madalena and Gareth to go to war against Hortensia. Also, earlier in the season Richard pulled a sword from a tree stump, having no idea that it's the sword of the One True King. (So basically it's like Excalibur, and Richard is like Arthur, but he doesn't learn the truth about the sword til the season finale.) He also obtains a lizard that he believes is a dragon, which he names Tad Cooper. (It's obviously not a dragon, which everyone keeps telling him, but he refuses to believe it. Well, I mean, it's a bearded dragon, but not a mythical type of dragon.) Also, Wormwood teaches Madalena a kind of dark magic called D'Dew. And... various other stuff happens that I don't want to spoil. But I will say that we finally learn Galavant's first name: Gary. And the season has a happy ending for most of the characters. So if the show doesn't get renewed, the season finale makes for a pretty good series finale. However, there are a couple of plot developments that could lead to a really great third season, so I hope it does get renewed.

I also want to mention that, while there were a lot of songs this season that I found unmemorable, there were at least a couple that I really liked. There's one by Madalena and Isabella that totally reminded me of Princess Rap Battles. And one by Richard and Roberta that was kind of a neat homage to "Summer Nights" from Grease. And... a few others that I don't remember so well, but still quite liked.

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