First Impression: Will ABC's Galavant Make for a Fun Knight?

The broadcast and cable networks have more than two dozen shows debuting this winter/spring, including a dive into a hip-hop Empire, a new take on an Odd Couple and a brain-munching iZombie. To help you prep for it all, TVLine is offering some First Impressions .

First up on our list….

THE SHOW | ABC’s Galavant (Sundays at 8/7c, premiering Jan. 4; two half-hour episodes per week)

THE COMPETITION | CBS’ Madam Secretary, Fox’s The Simpsons/Brooklyn Nine-Nine and TNT’s The Librarians

THE CAST | Joshua Sasse (Rogue), Timothy Omundson (Psych), Vinnie Jones (The Cape), Mallory Jansen (Young & Hungry),VINNIE JONES, TIMOTHY OMUNDSON, JOHN WALTERS, MALLORY JANSEN Karen David (Waterloo Road) and Luke Youngblood (Community, pop-pop!)

THE SET-UP | The four-minute cold open (posted below) sets the stage far better than my mere words ever could, but simply said: The titular knight (played by Sasse) teams with plucky princess Isabella (David) and sassy squire Sid (Youngblood) to rescue his true love Madalena (Jansen) from King Richard (Omundson) and his henchman Gareth (Jones). Oh — and much of it is set to song, courtesy of composer Alan Menken (Disney’s Beauty and the Beast) and lyricist Glenn Slater (Tangled).

THE FIRST IMPRESSION | Funny thing: With some resignation, given a colleague’s “meh” reaction to the pilot, I finally cued up Galavant… and found myself binge-watching the six episodes available to me. (And I seldom binge anything.) That’s why I think ABC is smart to double-pump episodes, because yes, the plot progression is a bit slow, pausing as it does to allow for song-and-dance numbers and vamping by the more colorful characters (the king included). You’ll want two at a time to come away satisfied.KAREN DAVID, LUKE YOUNGBLOOD
A reader asked if this was in the vein of When Things Were Rotten, Mel Brooks’ short-lived TV take on Robin Hood. But because of the music and greater production values, the more apt comparison is Robin Hood: Men in Tights, with just a whiff of The Princess Bride thrown in. Aside from the earworm-worthy title track, the tunes may not be memorable, but the lyrics are oft clever. (One number knocks knights as “condescending dillweeds in a can”; a ballad between peasants lilts, “We’ll have a dozen kids/Maybe one won’t die”; a Yiddish-filled ditty set in Sid’s hometown sings, “You put the sir in circumcision.”) The story is slight, but there’s a great sense of fun that accumulates, propelling you from one scene to the next.
Omundson is having the best time here, as a clueless monarch who at one point beseeches his No. 1 to help him “butch” up, while David boasts the strongest voice of the regulars. Among the guest stars, John Stamos delivers one of TV’s more memorable vomit scenes (and partakes in a hysterical joust), while “Weird Al” fronts a group of monks who took a(n annoying) vow of singing.

THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE | As a placeholder for Once Upon a Time, Galavant‘s a fine fit, evoking the fairytale drama’s more lighthearted moments while being just as (meaning: not entirely) family friendly. Being not everyone’s cup of mulled wine, it won’t match Once‘s numbers, but neither should it crater in the time slot.

Watch a preview for Galavant, then vote in our poll below.
http://youtu.be/uwC5lK8OK7I

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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73 Comments
  1. Tom says:

    Whatever you took before you watched this, Mittovich, I want some because this show is unwatchable and makes the cringiest of cringeworthy shows more watchable.

  2. Summer says:

    Probably the one thing I’ve really been looking forward to all season. Hope it’s fun!

  3. webly3 says:

    This seems like it’ll be really funny. I’m excited to watch it.

  4. TaMara says:

    Really looking forward to this. Glad you liked it. My guess is, you have to be a Monty Python/Princess Bride/Disney musical fan to enjoy it. And randomly bursting into song…that’s a deal breaker for many. But right in my bailiwick. ;-)

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      I swear I saw Michael Palin (or, more probably, a lookalike) in one crowd scene at the king’s palace.

    • Alichat says:

      I am a Monty Python/Princess Bride/Disney fan and I found the first episode to be incredibly underwhelming. I think I laughed once….and it wasn’t a full belly laugh, but more a chuckle.

  5. c-mo says:

    I kind of wish today was the 4th because after that SP I’m really looking forward to the premiere; this show looks hilarious!

  6. Et al says:

    I am really excited for this. I originally assumed it would bomb and be a one and done, but with Into The Woods stunning over-performance at the box office this weekend, maybe it will be more of a hit than I thought.

    • Moment says:

      Over-performance? It’s a Disney produced movie with a strong cast, I would say that’s about normal for an opening weekend. I’m not sure how anyone could compare a movies performance to an upcoming TV show, that’s a new one for me.

      • Et al says:

        It came in 15 million above industry forecasts. And if don’t understand the comparison between a Disney-brand family musical and a Disney-brand family musical, I’m not sure I can really help you any further.

        • Moment says:

          Except Galavant doesn’t have the Walt Disney name attached to it, nor is it being promoted as such. Where as Into the Woods has Disney attached it in all of its promotional material, including posters. Galavant being a co production between ABC and River Studios also doesn’t make it Disney. I don’t get the comparison, you can’t compare, just because it airs on ABC doesn’t make it Disney. Sorry.

          • Et al says:

            Well based on the billboards, posters, and bus adverts I saw all over disney world property just last week, I think the Disney company has some interest in Galavant. Then again I lack your clear industry expertise – so let me rephrase so you can move on. Maybe cause people are turning up for a family musical in theaters, maybe they’ll tune in for a family musical on television. Does that comparison work for you?

          • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

            NAILED IT. (Though I always saw the association you intended to make.)

          • Moment says:

            As you’re clearly getting upset Et Al, I apologise. Disney promoting the show for ABC doesn’t automatically make it Disney, and having some people who have been involved with Disney on various things doesn’t make it Disney either. I must have missed the Disney’s Galavant promotional materials.

          • Julia says:

            The ads boasting ‘from the composer of Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Pocahontas, and Newsies’ made it seem pretty darn “Disney” to me.

          • Moment says:

            So if the composer got a job on an NBC/CBS/Fox series and either network decided to promote that they have an amazing Disney composer working for them, would that automatically make whatever show they’re working on Disney? No.

          • Julia says:

            Nothing has been “Disney” since Walt died. However, I understand your point, Moment, but even you called Menken a “Disney” composer. His body of work has branded him ‘Disney’ as much as the Sherman Brothers, although they all had other work. So when you add Disney branded composer to show on Disney owned network, I tend to view the show as something at least tangentially related to Disney regardless of production studio. It’s a brand perception thing. Honestly, Galavant feels more “Disney” to me than Into The Woods. That may betray the realities of ownership, but it most certainly is my personal perception, and one I’d suspect the marketing team was going for.

          • Moment says:

            Good point. Also Dan Fogelman the creator of Galavant who also has written a lot of Disney movies also created The Neighbors. People can’t call that Disney because of his association to Disney ;). Anyway I do apologise for being pedantic.

          • Elizabeth says:

            You do know that ABC is Disney, right? And that Alan Menken has written a thousand Disney scores? And that Dan Fogelman (show creator) also wrote Tangled, which Menken scored? It’s Disney!

          • Moment says:

            Galavant is an ABC series and will forever be an ABC series. I find it incredible the lack of understanding some people have on here about it. I don’t particularly want to retread old ground. But ‘ABC’ are owned by Disney. ABC branding is ABC branding and Disney branding is Disney branding. And please, saying because it airs on ABC its Disney is laughable, by your logic Revenge, Greys Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder etc are Disney shows. They’re not. They’re ABC and are marketed as such.

        • Fran says:

          I thought it was perfectly clear what you meant. But this is the internet, so everything has to turn into a big needless argument. What a shame.

  7. Does no one remember “Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire”? That’s the comparison I’m hoping for.

  8. Mary says:

    I hope it does well.

  9. Joey says:

    While I know it’s not the biggest slice of the tv viewership pie, but I don’t think people realize how much literally all of tumblr has been looking forward to this show.

    • Moment says:

      Hopefully some of those tumblr users have Nielsen boxes, otherwise it counts for nothing.

      • Joey says:

        I don’t believe I stated anywhere that tumblr would make this show big and great for ABC. I merely mentioned that a lot of tumblr users were awaiting it. But then again, elsewhere in the comments I’ve seen you as this article’s Debbie Downer so I’m not surprised to see a glass-half-empty reply to my comment.

    • Amy says:

      … As a Tumblr user who has seen -zero- mention of this show on my dash, I question your use of ‘literally’.

  10. GildedRose says:

    I’m totally on board for this. It’s like Shrek meets Princess Bride meets Monty Python (which you either love or hate). So I’m totally watching giving this a shot. Good to know I’ll need to be patient with it getting off the ground though.

  11. Kim R says:

    I’m in!

  12. Dennis says:

    Looks promising and fun!

  13. Suddnely says:

    I think this looks like a lot of fun – always glad when the nets try something “different” and are at least giving it a chance by putting it in a logical slot – unlike the way they killed Once in Wonderland. I do wish a pay cabler would take on a show like this – makes me sad to think what SMASH would have been had it stayed at ShoTiime.

  14. Kayla says:

    I’m really looking forward to some guilty pleasure fun with this show.

  15. I always thought “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland” should have been a “placeholder” for Once Upon a Time while it was on hiatus this Galavant sounds fun, ill be checking it out.

  16. Carla Krae says:

    Been looking forward to this for weeks. I’ve laughed myself silly at all the preview clips ABC has available. I need to be able to laugh right now and this is right up my alley.

  17. prish says:

    I just read a post, here, that said this producer created The Neighbors, which I absolutely LOVED! I wish it well. I didn’t think I would like the Masterpiece Worrick series, assuming it would go too slowly, etc., but I was hooked in five minutes and consider the trilogy one of the most brilliant TV productions, ever. One never knows, so maybe I will check it out.

  18. I can’t wait to see the first two episode of Galavant . I hope that ABC will renewal the show for the second season. I know this sound dumb but every time that I type Galavant I get a red line under like a misspelled the word. It is me or I need a better reading glass.

  19. Lassie from Psyche! That alone garners a DVR listing for me.

  20. Alice says:

    Seeing as Once Upon a Time has become pretty unwatchable, I am looking forward to having something to look forward to on Sunday nights again for the next month.

    • meresger says:

      Ditto. OUAT has become laughable, but not in a good way. I know someone’s “wish list” included having OUAT do more comedy, but considering that OUAT thinks comedy is stuff like adults thinking it’s hilarious and okay to teach a 12 year old to drive down a crowded city street and they present it seriously without any consequences on their (not entirely!) family show? Um, no thanks. I’d rather just have an actual comedy that’s meant to be stupid-silly! If Galavant is Monty Python-like, I might give it a try.

  21. Ginger Snap says:

    I am going with your recommendation to binge watch the show. I’ll check in after 4 episodes.

    Just not enough in the preview to whet my appetite. I’m having trouble seeing the Mel Brooks/Monty Python hook. But, it’s different and I will give it a chance in about a month.

  22. B says:

    Looks like lots of fun. I plan to watch.

  23. javadude54 says:

    Karen David is insanely talented and has some great videos on her YouTube page. I hope she does a LOT of singing on the show.

  24. Douglas Penilli says:

    I’m wondering what’s so polarizing about this. It’s either people into what it’s clearly going for going, “Yay, that’ll be fun,” or people who don’t like stuff like this, and won’t watch it anyway, getting really vocal and violently angry that it even exists.

  25. Imzadi says:

    For me the big competition to Galavant is not a network show but TNT’s The Librarians. It’s a really enjoyable show with actors I enjoy, especially Christian Kane (I’ve been a fan of his since I first saw him on Angel in 1999!), John Laroquette, and Rebecca Romijn. So I’ll watch one (probably Librarians) and TiVo the other for later watching.

  26. Tran says:

    Two words about Galavant: SKIP IT

  27. Lyn says:

    The snippet [pun intended] about circumcision was funny.

  28. Nick says:

    I’m pumped for this. Looks hilarious.

  29. Annie says:

    I mean… have you seen the trailer?? Looks SO funny. I hope it is

  30. Ellen says:

    The opening number really reminds me of Beauty and the Beast, both musically and visually

  31. JDintheOC says:

    I love this style of humor in movies and TV shows, however, the musical part of it just yanks me back to reality and at that point I just can’t get into it. After fifteen minutes, I had to switch channels.

  32. Mar liza says:

    Fun and entertaining.