Cancelled Too Soon: Galavant (2015)

By | November 15, 2018

Our ongoing look back at sci fi / fantasy TV shows that were cancelled way too soon or pilots that never made it to series.

When ABC originally announced that this show would fill in the Sunday timeslot while Once Upon A Time was on its Season 4 hiatus, I have to admit that it did not interest me too much. A musical / fantasy seemed to bit too cloyingly Disney-ish and it looked like it was set to appeal mostly to the OUaT crowd, a show that I had long since given up up. But then I saw the previews which suggested Galavant would offer a nice helping of Monty Python with its family friendly fun and I decided to at least check it out. I can’t tell you that I thought the show was great at first, but it grew on me (Dan Fogleman’s previous genre comedy The Neighbors took a while to find its stride as well).  By the end of its first season I was hooked on this quirky little fantasy romp that offered plenty of witty lines as well as some the best meta-ditties this side of Weird Al (who by the way has a hilarious turn on the show as a singing monk).

Oddly enough, even though this seemed like the perfect fill in for Once Upon A Time, appealing to both the adult and younger audience watching that show, not many people tuned in during its first season and it seemed sure to be cancelled based on its low ratings. But ABC extended a surprise renewal to Galavant (along with equally low-rated Agent Carter) and it returned for its second season at the top of its form (with the first episode thumbing its nose at the TV by the Numbers predictions in its title: “A New Season aka Suck It Cancellation Bear”). I recall rolling on the floor in laughter at points during its second season premiere (which comprised back-to-back thirty minute episodes). It was not able to maintain that level of hilarity throughout its sophomore year, but it still delivered plenty of laughs.

Unfortunately, still nobody was watching. The show slipped to historically low levels for Prime Time broadcast network television series and there was no miracle renewal a second time around. The simple fact is that Galavant was cancelled because it failed to find an audience. And you can’t blame ABC because they gave it a chance by renewing it after its low-rated first season and they had it scheduled in a pretty friendly spot. But people just did not tune it. Perhaps ABC did not promote it enough. Perhaps a musical / fantasy just didn’t appeal to the general audience. Perhaps the show was just a bit too quirky for its own good. But for whatever reason, the show did not catch on and the Cancellation Bear eventually did catch up with it.

Fortunately, the show wrapped up its main storyline by the end of its second season and did not leave us hanging (though it also set up a potentil new storyline). And really, it would be hard to sustain a comedy like this for too many years, though I believe it had at least a couple more seasons in it, especially since the first two were in the eight to ten episode range. This show could have even ventured into a great Game of Thrones parody if it had lasted a little longer. But instead of a happily ever after, it got cast into the TV Wasteland. But I expect it to gallop into cult infamy and one day be recognized as a great little show that was cancelled too soon.  The show’s composer Alan Menken has mentioned that it could head to Broadway, but I personally would prefer another season or two on the tube.

Aired: ABC, 2015-16, 2 Seasons Totaling 18 episodes

Created by: Dan Fogelman

Starring: Joshua Sasse, Timothy Omundson, Vinnie Jones, Mallory Jansen, Karen David

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