I had about zero expectations for a show that at least looked aesthetically pleasing at best and heavily clichéd at worst. From what I was seeing, I thought what I was going to have an awful time, and pitch this show along the lines of other bad films
However, after 10 episodes in, I found out what this really was. Galavant is a very dark comedy under the musical guise of, well, a musical. Throughout the beginning, we see the usual fairy tale story that we know from an early childhood, that being of a dashing, handsome knight rescuing his beloved from the generic evil king, all through song mind you. It makes one feel that they are reliving the old stories read to you at an infantile age. Galavant stops the wedding taking place and confesses his love for her.
And she rejects him for the King. And then Galavant slowly sinks into a great deal of depression and alcoholism, losing his physique, his kindness, and everything that the code of chivalry and Courtly Love were meant to stand for. It's a drastic shift in tone from it's romantic,musically inclined introduction. And I then realized the darker undertones throughout the series, tucked into the walls and painted as a cheery, happy story meant for the whole family.
There are the obvious jokes, poking fun at modern fantasy. There's a plethora of dark skinned characters in a place that feels like Medieval England despite that not really being the case(in fact, the Princess of Valencia, who is Indian in the show, pokes fun at this in an episode, herself.), The King, Richard, trying to learn comedy despite only knowing how a tyrant thinks, and, I kid you not, an entire city that looks as if it were built by Walt Disney himself that worships the squire as a heroic knight of Judaism. Yes, It goes that far.
However, after re-watching more of the episodes, I started to see the darker truth
King Richard, whom I said before was learning comedy, was only learning such a trait just so he can finally get his Queen, Madalena, to accept him as her husband. Under a playful guise that the time spent with the Jester was actually due to jokes is revealed earlier to be more about the queen's promiscuity rather than her love for the Jester's jokes. Nudge nudge wink wink. Another scene deals with two castle-dwelling peasants plotting to murder all the royalty and rule the world as equals, giving us spiteful communist undertones. Frehiet I guess, comrade, peasants of the world unite. All in song, too, WHILE they plot out the murders.
The characters all start off as their clichéd archetypes, before slowly gaining depth and actual character. Galavant breaks from his delusional quest to "rescue" Madalena, who has now turned into an evil queen, and slowly realizes the futility of his quest. Unfortunately, it's far too late for him to go back now, forcing him to spend, until the next season at lest, the remainder of his time upon a ship, getting farther and farther away from the one land he had just now realized he found the wrong damsel.
In a similar change of fate, King Richard, the one character who in of himself was a walking cliché of a man-child tyrant, slowly inverts into a surprisingly well fleshed-out character. He starts off as being this laughably incompetent, almost puppy-dog like despot and slowly is revealed to be a sad, broken, inferior royal, who's almost autistic when it comes to both communicating with the people he tries to keep happy under his oppression and with his (rather forced) wife, in which it's revealed he's very much a virgin, obviously showing more of a childish persona. Not childish as in youth, beauty, and innocent, but childish as in ignorance and inferiority. Hell, the songs he sings most of the time reflect it; i.e. Giving off cartoony ways of murdering the hero and spouting genocide and sexual innuendo, him and the hero childishly singing about going on a "secret mission" so loud that people in Scotland could probably hear them, and quite literally giving the most heartbreaking rendition of a tune that was sung to him as a child(which is arguably the most depressing song in the show, as well as my personal favorite)
Course, all of this comes far later in the show, but I still see a lot of potential of a real story that can come out of this. And yes, there are moments of corniness and juvenile humor that makes one feel embarrassed to laugh at. However, most of those are very much satirical , and it focuses a little more on both the narrative and the music, the latter being hit or miss. I already brought up "Goodnight, My Friend", the heartbreaking song, as my all time favorite. The rest are just...alright. I admitably didn't exactly like "Comedy Gold", "Lords of The Sea" and "Hey, We're the Monks!" as much as I would've wanted to, and Madalena's songs was just irritating on the ears.
Other than that, Galavant is a surprise hit. It's got the marks of a satire and a musical, but deep inside it's wraps is an engaging, dark comedy with lots of depth....and some singing by many people devoted to what's given to them. While many of the songs are sparatic, some underwhelming, and some actually not that good compared to others. Both Joshua Sasse(Galavant) and Timothy Omundson(King Richard) prove to have the pipes for whatever it is they're singing about, whether it be silly or serious. I would be honestly be crushed if such potential was wasted due to both bad timing and a wonky episode format(two full 30 minutes episodes every Sunday evening isn't exactly how you rack viewers, ABC.). Give the show a watch, and you'll be surprised.
Final Result: 4 Stars- A-Ranking