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ABC’s ‘Galavant’ is a medieval geek smorgasbord

Galavant is trying its best to be every medieval fantasy cliche in a fabulous musical package, and we love it.


Aja Romano


Posted on May 15, 2014   Updated on May 31, 2021, 7:32 am CDT

If history has taught us anything about the Middle Ages, it’s that the countless wars, the draconian class and gender divides, and the frequent bloodshed all lend themselves fabulously to a spot of singing and dancing. Monty Python, Mel Brooks, and Horrible Histories have all made it very clear that Medieval Land Fun-Time World is here to stay.

So we really shouldn’t be too surprised that the recently fantasy-smitten ABC is debuting a new series, Galavant, that doesn’t parade so much as gallop pell-mell through a throne room packed with medieval tropes: dancing knights, men in tights, and fair maidens.

Galavant is not even trying to pretend like it’s not stealing its premise from The Princess Bride. For one thing, it starts with a genderbent Inigo Montoya showing up to goad a master swordsman into rescuing his one true love, who was kidnapped out of his arms in order to wed an evil king. At least it has the grace to cop to the theft in a line from one of its many Alan Menken-composed songs: “it’s lots of plot, we know.” Remove the comma, and you’ve got that right. 

But that’s OK because no one is here for plot anyway: we’re here for the blatant over-the-top antics of Timothy Ombudsman, fresh off his long run as Psych‘s Lassiter, and Karen David, whose role isn’t exactly clear but who’s fabulous anyway as she snarks about with Galavant, the new guy who looks like Fassbender: sanitized poolboy edition.

Ombudsman is clearly enjoying his new turn as the Prince Richard, who doesn’t actually have six fingers on his right hand but makes up for it with a dose of cheerful evil administered via singing and dancing. We did mention the singing, right?

Galavant hails from the creator of the Crazy Stupid Love, another cliche-bender that proved ridiculously charming in spite of itself, though that was mostly because of the magic of Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. Whether Galavant can charm us routinely on the small screen is another question. But for now, we’re there with cap and bells on.

Screengrab via ABCNetwork/YouTube

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*First Published: May 15, 2014, 4:15 pm CDT