Maybe, You’re Not the Worst Thing Ever –
That was the title of the song which closed out the second of two episodes of the new ABC-TV musical, comedy, drama, farce called Galavant which premiered an hour ago. Yes it is true, this is not quite the worst thing ever, but give it a chance, wait, it might happen as there’s still six episodes to go.
I’m not sure how many of you suddenly felt a need for a musical set in the days of King Richard, and Sir Galahad – oops sorry, make that Galavant. But even if you missed getting the memo – this bit of nonsensical, whimsical, and musical fluff arrived, on time.
Now I grew up with many a period film. I learned all about Merry Olde England from the likes of films that were great. A Man for All Seasons, Beckett, Anne of a Thousand Days, The Lion In Winter, Robin Hood, Ivanhoe, and many more.
More recently Mel Brooks stood the genre on its head with Robin Hood: Men in Tights. As did Monte Python with Sir Spamalot.
But then the pendulum swung back and we had a serious Robin Hood film from Ridley Scott, and Cate Blanchett starred in two Queen Elizabeth films.
But this show, Galavant – with a cast of mostly unknowns, with an occasional name like Ricky Gervais, Hugh Bonneville, and John Stamos listed and reduced to popping in for an extended cameo or four or five lines of dialogue, cannot be saved by Alan Menken’s music. I’ve heard Menken music in my day – and this is not in the same league as Beauty and the Beast.
The show is supposed to be funny – but you can only go so far with jokes about body odor, impotence, drinking to excess, and a song which rhymes ‘twist ’em’ with ‘reproductive system’.
If we want to find a correct niche for this flimsy bit of a TV show – think of The Princess Bride and Game of Thrones and hope that they intersect at some point and there, we’d find this show, Galavant.
Sadly that is not at all correct. Not even close. We have King Richard instead of King Arthur. This is more like Knights of the Round Table – The Musical. A film that never was.
In Menken’s lyricist Glen Slater’s own words = Maybe You’re Not the Worst Thing Ever – but on that question – all the king’s horses and all the king’s men are still thinking about it.
With a cast of hundreds, sorry dozens, I was not moved. I believe I laughed out loud once in the hour. Seriously folks, this is a light weight effort for a Sunday night. There were some fine-looking horses on view – bedecked in period costumes, and a nice slow canter through Sherwood Forest, not, was rather pleasant – but they tried too hard. Isn’t there a limit on how many anachronistic jokes you can cram into a half hour episode.
Maybe without Homeland and without The Newsroom, ABC hopes to garner some viewers. But I wouldn’t count on it. In fact count me out. However, there is some good news – the 8 half hour episodes are crammed in to just four Sunday nights. One down and just three to go.