Tuesday, December 22, 2015

10 Things To Look Foward to When 'Galavant' Returns

(Photo credit: ABC)

One of my favorite and most underrated (both literally and figuratively) comedies of 2015 was Galavant, ABC’s meta-humored, fourth-wall-breaking musical extravaganza. When the show did poorly, ratings-wise, I was certain that we had seen the end of one of the most creative shows on television. And yet, somehow, this little-show-that-could rose up and was renewed for a second season, beginning January 3rd with back-to-back new episodes.

ABC was kind enough to let press watch the first seven episodes of the season, the vast majority of which are stellar and an improvement on the first season. Having watched them all, I’m here to give you a little bit of a sneak peek –– without spoiling TOO much –– of what you can expect to see when Galavant returns!

10. New characters enter the story.

Remember that we left off with all of our characters scattered in different kingdoms? That continues throughout season two (up until the sixth episode, where some storylines and character re-cross). With Galavant and Isabella separated, Gareth and Madalena ruling a kingdom of their own, Richard traveling with Galavant, and Sid basically spending most of the season trying not to get himself killed, it seems that our heroes are in desperate need of some comradery.

Enter, new characters! While Galavant and King Richard are on their journey to find and rescue Isabella (with Richard’s goal to take back his throne, obviously), they hit some rough patches and are rescued by a woman named Bobbi, who turns out to be a childhood friend of Richard’s. Bobbi is a smart, fun character. She’s strong and witty and manages to put Galavant and Richard in their place during a particularly brutal argument that they have. She’s also presented as Richard’s potential love interest this season and they’re absolutely delightful together.

We also meet Galavant’s father this season (who has some great scenes with his son and a few really touching ones), as well as an evil wedding planner/magician-esque character named Wormwood) who manages to place Isabella under a controlling spell and desperately wants a war.

(Photo credit: ABC)

9. Madalena gets the chance to be vulnerable.

So Madalena has become my favorite love-to-hate character on television this year. I absolutely am enthralled that the writers subverted the whole “helpless maiden” trope by making Madalena not only completely and totally evil, but also extremely kick-butt at being evil.

And while there are plenty of awesome moments in the second season where Madalena gets the chance to snap at people, threaten them, and generally frighten them with her demeanor, the fourth episode (“Aw, Hell, the King”) has an amazing song at the end in which Madalena gets the chance to be truly and completely vulnerable. She spends the episode wanting approval from women who mocked her when she was just a young peasant girl. But now that she is a queen, the same women invited her to be their honored guest at dinner. Unfortunately, things don’t go the way Madalena would have hoped, and we get to see a side of her we haven’t seen thus far on the show.

I was waiting for the joke to drop or for her to resume her evil ways, but that didn’t happen. And what was truly smart, also, was that the show ended this episode with her emotional song. When you watch this episode, let me know what you think. I may have started to get a bit misty-eyed.

8. The separated storylines allow for some great character interactions... and then eventually, re-crossing over does happen.

One of the great things (and unexpected, at that) about Galavant’s second season is that they purposefully kept the characters we are used to seeing interact apart. In seven episodes, Galavant and Isabella do not interact face-to-face (they have two interactions but they’re not physically in each other’s presence during those), and one character from the group finally catches up to Galavant at the end of episode six. But apart from that, most of our characters are separated for the first part of this season. And... it works.

If you were a fan of the bromance between Richard and Galavant last season, prepare to become even more invested in this one. There’s a song, in particular (“Maybe You Won’t Die Alone”) in which Galavant plays matchmaker between Richard and Bobbi, and it’s absolutely hysterical. An entire episode (“Giants vs. Dwarves”) focuses on a huge fight between Galavant and Richard, which is also great. Honestly, these two have become reluctant friends and comrades by the end of the seventh episode and watching their evolution –– Richard’s desperation to have Galavant as his BFF; Galavant’s frustration with Richard as a person –– is great.

We also get some other amazing interactions in the form of Madalena and Gareth (with the occasional inclusion of Sid). I won’t spoil much, but if you didn’t ship Gareth and Madalena together at the end of last season, prepare to do so at the end of the seventh episode. My lips are sealed but there is a song that Gareth sings in that episode and a revelation from Madalena while yelling at soldiers which will warm your little heart with fuzzies.

Isabella is the only one surrounded by more supporting characters than main ones this season. Her parents are in quite a few episodes, as well as our favorite chef Vincenzo and Gwynne. Though Isabella doesn’t have many interactions with the main characters, the fact that she manages to carry her own story while being separated from everyone else is really quite great.

(Photo credit: ABC)

7. The supporting characters get the chance to shine.

As I noted above, some of the lesser characters get their chance to shine this season (as well as the inclusion of some one-off princesses that Galavant, Isabella, and Richard meet). The newer, smaller characters introduced are hilarious and Isabella’s parents (as well as her little cousin and the court jester) get the chance to have some more scenes. Her father, in particular, is pretty hilarious. Vincenzo and Gwynne have a hilarious song in which they talk about how their conditions in life have improved vastly, and they’re not quite sure what to do with themselves now that they actually have the ability to shower.

6. There are some amazing winks, nods, and twists you won't see coming.

Richard acquires something very important during the first few episodes that will have you pointing at your screen and saying: “WHAT?!” This thing returns toward the end of the sixth episode, I believe, and it’s played for ironic laughter.

There is a twist at the end of the sixth episode that I legitimately didn’t see coming and is super important in the seventh episode. And at the end of the seventh episode, I literally sat and said: “WHAAAAAAAAAAAT” at my screen.

The meta humor, by the way, has never been better in season two. Oh, and Sid may or may not reveal something really crucial to the plot in the opening song of “A New Season aka Suck It, Cancellation Bear.”

5. Female characters rise to the occasion.

What I like a lot about Galavant is that no two women are the same. Isabella is a princess and she spends a lot of the first part of this season being unable to do anything to change her circumstances, but that never stops her from trying. She’s smart and resourceful and she’s not afraid of confrontation. But I like that Isabella is also scared. At the end of the seventh episode, she has to make a really big decision and even though it terrifies her to do it without reassurance from Galavant, her essential response is: “I’m going to do it anyway. I can do this myself.” I love that the show doesn’t present her as being completely fearless, but allows her the chance to be vulnerable and yet still kick butt.

Similarly, it’s Madalena’s evident layers this season that make her strong. While Isabella rises to the occasion because she sets herself apart as a leader, one of the biggest components of the second season is the fact that Madalena learns how to work with Gareth and support him as a person and her partner in ruling the kingdom. She’s so used to being alone that for her, character development means learning how to work with other people. I love that Galavant allows her to be strong by being vulnerable.

And Bobbi is a great new character too, who is compassionate and kind, but also a talented fighter. She’s not as sarcastic as Madalena or Isabella and seems genuinely good-hearted. You’ll love her.

(Photo credit: ABC)

4. Timothy Omundson is even better than season one.

If you thought Timothy Omundson’s King Richard was great in season one, just wait until you reach season two. He’s even better (and I didn’t think that was possible). Not only does he embody all of Richard’s quirks and aloofness, but he also allows him to grow into a hero. The best thing about Richard is that he’s such a good character –– pure (he has some scenes with a unicorn and honestly, I cackled), yet really idealistic (he also has scenes with a lizard –– er, sorry, “dragon”), slightly dense (I will only say this: there is a scene with the Galavant-world equivalent of a gay bar), but ultimately hopeful (his scenes with Bobbi are great).

What makes Omundson such an amazing fit for this role is that he plays all of those nuances in Richard’s character so flawlessly. He makes me care about Richard as a person. By the time you reach the end of the seventh episode, you will have more feelings toward him and the hero he is becoming than you thought you would. Trust me.

3. The show has never been funnier.

Some of the funniest moments in this show are funny simply because of how subtle they are and how quickly the pacing of the comedy is. You’re laughing at one joke and then Galavant hits you with a succession of jokes, usually in musical form. While I don’t want to spoil any punchlines, here are some of the more memorable laugh-earning things from this season so far:

  • There is a gag near the end of one of the episodes (I’m fairly certain it’s “About Last Knight”) with a forest called “The Forest of Coincidence” which had me laughing hysterically.
  • I’m a sucker for puns and there is a GREAT one in the seventh episode.
  • The songs themselves are hilarious, but there is a song that Gareth sings in the seventh episode which has the lyrics on screen and a bouncing little bird as a wink and nod to singalongs. In this song, Gareth has some creative ways to describe the sun and sky and things that surround him on a daily basis and it MAY be the best thing you watch on television this year.
  • In the second episode (“World’s Best Kiss”) Galavant and Isabella reminisce on their kiss separately through song, and it quickly turns into them realizing that their kiss was horrible. It’s an amazing twist on a love ballad and you’ll be laughing too.
  • The meta humor in the opening number for the second season is on-point, including a line in the song about ratings.
  • Isabella makes a super-meta joke about an episode airing in January and it is great.
  • Timothy Omundson sings an entire song to a lizard. You’re welcome, world.
  • Try and catch all the subtleties and references on sign posts and such, because they’re great.

2. The plethora of musical and movie homages are extremely on-point.

I’ll be re-watching the episodes to try and catch any and all nods that I missed, but in the first seven episodes there are homages –– either in full or in part –– to Les Miserables, The Princess BrideNotting Hill, and West Side Story. And they are all absolutely perfect.

I think that what makes this show so wonderful is that it draws from so many different genres of musical theatre and pop culture. It’s a lot like Crazy Ex-Girlfriend in that way – no two songs are exactly the same style, and some have more self-referential humor than others. But all of the homages that the show does are so great. At one point, Sid stands on a cart waving a red flag and I half-expected him to just start saying “Do you hear the people sing?”

The homage to West Side Story fixated on the Sharks vs. Jets battle and it’s absolutely perfect. The Princess Bride mini-homage in the seventh episode is super important, too, for reasons that will make a lot more sense once you finish the sixth episode (“About Last Knight”).

Honestly, all of the references and homages are perfect and I am sure there are many more I will catch upon re-watching.

(Photo credit: ABC)

1. The songs are better than ever.

I’ve already talked about them a lot above, but the music this season is so great. If you fell in love with Galavant because of its musicality, you will not be disappointed in the slightest. The opening number, which is available to watch in its entirety, makes reference to the show’s poor ratings and the fascination that they are actually renewed for a second season. In addition, the musical numbers this year are catchy and engaging (there are two songs sung by two different one-off princesses that are great), as well as hilarious.

I talked about Madalena’s heartfelt song, too, and though the show excels at coming up with really funny, meta-humor musical numbers, some of the most notable ones from this season are the more heartfelt numbers. Again: if you loved the music in the first season, be prepared to love it in the second as well.

Tune in to see the season two premiere of Galavant (with two episodes airing back-to-back) on ABC, January 3rd. And if you haven’t watched the show yet, catch up on the first season on ABC Go!


  1. Yes! A good reason to look forward to January. I hadn't heard yet what their situation was and I am thrilled I'll get to watch some more of these characters.

    1. YES, YOU WILL LOVE THIS SEASON. I'm so happy you watch the show, Becca!

  2. Can't wait to see it! It's the best series I've watched this year, and I was so desperate for a second season. Was there ever a show that deserved it more? And King Richard is just wonderful, I love the way his story's going.
    OMG, him singing to a lizard? And there's a UNICORN? I'm already counting the days.

    1. I will tell you that I was straight-up CACKLING when Omundson was singing to the lizard. And I thought the unicorn disappeared after the second episode (I think it's there in which it first appears), but it comes back during an important moment in episode seven and I couldn't stop laughing there either. King Richard is SO good this season.

  3. I'm a bit disappointed that Galavant/Isabella won't interact until episode 8. That gives them only like 3 episodes of real interaction. Their chemistry/dynamic is my main draw. Is there at least a lot of payoff for the fans in those 3 episodes with them together to make up for their lack of interaction?

    1. I will admit that I was kind of bummed at the lack of Galavant/Isabella interaction, too. But never fear -- they have a song together (though they're physically separated), and some important moments toward the end of the stretch of episodes I saw. I won't spoil it so I'll just say that a reason for their continued separation will make sense once you finish the second episode.