Television: Galavant, "Pilot" & "Joust Friends"

ABC opted to double up on the Galavant, airing both the pilot and a second episode in a one-hour bloc, and it's probably a good thing they did. While the pilot was amusing and set the story, had the premiere ended there, it might not have brought viewers back next week. The "Joust Friends" episode furthered the plot and ended with the best of the songs thus far featured: "Maybe You're Not the Worst Thing Ever."

Galavant is a musical comedy about a medieval knight, Sir Galavant, who loses his will to fight when the love of his life chooses to marry King Richard. The music is by Alan Menken, so we definitely get the full musical experience. Unfortunately, the first half hour of the showing were all songs about Galavant himself, which became noticeably repetitive. The second episode broke free from that and was the better of the two.

A year after he was thrown over by the beautiful Madalena, Galavant is approached by Princess Isabella of Valencia for help in saving her parents from an invading king. At first Galavant dismisses the idea, but when he learns it is King Richard who has taken over Valencia, he agrees to take up Isabella's cause. He, his page Sid, and Isabella set off for Valencia.

King Richard, meanwhile, is the Christoph Waltz of bad guys. He's polite and apologetic, even as he's having someone's head cut off. Madalena only agreed to marry him for the money and stature, and she cuckolds him every chance she gets. She also badgers him by continually comparing Richard unfavorably to the great Galavant.

So Richard gets an idea: Kill Galavant and Madalena will no longer have anyone to hold over his head.

The "twist" was foreseeable practically from the start. [spoilers] Isabella was sent by Richard to bring Galavant back to Valencia so Richard could kill him. ::shrug::

Galavant himself is the least interesting of the characters. As per usual, the villain (Richard—though, honestly, Madalena is the true villain of the show) and the secondary characters are funnier and more engaging. Vinnie Jones as Gareth is particularly well cast. Actually, everyone is pretty well cast, but Jones is a stand out.

"Joust Friends" features John Stamos as rival knight Jean Hamm as Galavant must participate in a joust in order to win prize money to fund their travels. A simple enough plot, but there's enough funny to keep the show going. The big question is whether it's sustainable over the long term. We all remember Cop Rock, after all. But maybe this subject matter lends itself a little better to the song and dance.

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