ABC finally stopped producing the human centipede that is the TV show Once long enough to think of something fanciful and ridiculous that wasn’t also…just…effing ridiculous. Okay, you get it, I really think Once blows chunks. Galavant is a blend of camp and fantasy, the sort of thirty-miniute television experience where characters can be expected to break out into song at any point. In short, I should really hate this show.
But I don’t.
I think I actually kind of dig it? Little bit? Hueh?
I think it’s down to two things. First off – Superb actors.
The guy cast as Galavant, the hero amalgamated from a thousand stories, is pretty good. He’s boringly handsome, and a bit dull. Thing is, he is written that way. And I guess that allows some of the colorful side characters to shine. Hell, I wrote an entire book that uses that motif. So maybe he was perfectly cast. I can’t figure it out. What I am certain of is that the King and his loyal right-hand-henchman, Gareth, were perfectly cast.
The King is played by Timothy Omundson, who you may remember from a little show that wrapped up last year called Psych, which brought the freshest take on the cop show in a long time. Detective Lassiter’s pedantic, straight-laced, but aggressive foil to Shawn Spencer’s antics could have been a one-note character, but Omundson played him like a fiddle. Lassiter was definitely a better character than King Richard, but Omundson still plays him well as a preening simpleton who is the most blissfully oblivious character in the show, (Galavant himself probably taking second).
Henchman Gareth is played by Vinnie Jones. Jones is always a ringer for your tough guy, but this role allows him to do it in a comedic way. His stoic, world-weary henchman is a great pairing with the flighty King Richard. You may remember he appeared in both Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, and Snatch. Here is my favorite scene of his from Snatch.
Can he do comedy? Oh yeah. He first showed up comedically in the epically juvenile film Eurotrip, as the leader of the Manchester United fan club. Too good. Did you know how Vinnie got his start in movies? Well, he was a professional soccer player for many years where he built up a tough guy persona on the field. This being one of his more famous displays.
I have to say the mousey cook and the girl who played kitchen girl Daisy on Downton Abbey are pretty great together as they lampoon the peasant’s-eye-view of all the medieval shenanigans. Hugh Bonneville/Lord Grantham also did a cameo as a leader of land-locked pirates. I bet there might even be more Downton alums sprinkled about. Another great cameo came from Ricky Gervais. So yeah, the casting is on lock down.
The other thing about Galavant that makes it work for me is that the show knows when to prevent the story from getting too far into camp by either going meta and poking fun at itself, or knowing not to keep beating a dead horse. It’s light, it does poke fun at old tropes, which is always fun, and there are some pretty good laughs here and there.
If you are looking for thirty minutes of mindless entertainment worth a chuckle, then be sure to find this on Hulu or Amazon Streaming. It just finished its first season, so it’s ripe to be marathoned. Overall, I’d say it’s a little hokey, but more of a HOOT! I’d rate it three replica pistols pointed at the face of a madman.
Be sure to check out my latest historical thriller release: DEATH POPE.