Ah, TV is back from midseason break! And how things have changed since the season began. Rereading a post from back in September, I said that I was “enjoying Gotham, interested in Forever, dubious about Selfie” … and I’ve now done a 180 on all of those opinions. I stand by The Flash as my favorite new show of the fall, though. Looking ahead, I’m excited for the final season of Justified, and I have high hopes for Agent Carter and Better Call Saul. But for now, let’s talk about another new midseason show: Galavant.
There’s a show with the same premise as Galavant that I could be really into, but Galavant is probably not going to be that show. The main problem, I think, is that it’s just not very funny; I could forgive the show a lot if it consistently made me laugh. But the real disappointment is that Galavant seems more interested in playing out fantasy tropes than subverting or parodying them. (Which might be why it’s not very funny.)
There are a few exceptions, though, and there’s one big subversion that I find particularly interesting as a character moment. Galavant bursts into the castle to rescue his sweetheart Madalena, who’s been kidnapped and forced into marriage by King Richard, and the following dialogue ensues:
Galavant: You can offer her great fame, and you can offer her great fortune, but only I can offer her great love. And that is what she chooses.
Madalena: I don’t know, I’ve been thinking a lot about it ever since he kidnapped me, and I’m gonna go with the fame and fortune. Seems like an easier life, you know?
What I like about Madalena’s choice is that it’s the first time she gets any agency. Sure, Richard didn’t ask her permission before kidnapping her and forcing her into marriage, but Galavant doesn’t ask her what she wants, either; he just assumes. He’s the hero, so of course he’s going to rescue the lady and save the day. And then Madalena speaks up and derails the expected script.
And that’s why I think Madalena is potentially the most interesting character on the show. She’s not an admirable person–she goes a bit Lady Macbeth after marrying Richard–but she found herself in the damsel-in-distress role, and she seized the reins instead, and that’s fascinating. That’s the kind of decision that makes me want to know this character better, and I hope the show follows through with her.