The Daily Stream: Galavant Is The Best Comedy Musical You Haven't Seen

(Welcome to The Daily Stream, an ongoing series in which the /Film team shares what they've been watching, why it's worth checking out, and where you can stream it.)

The Movie: "Galavant"

Where You Can Stream It: Hulu

The Pitch: Way back in days of old, there was a legend told about a hero known as Galavant. Square jaw and perfect hair, cajones up to there, there was no hero quite like Galavant. Sounds like a fairy tale cliché right? Well, in Dan Fogelman and Alan Menken's satirical fantasy comedy "Galavant," that cliché gets turned upside down and pantsed.

Galavant (Joshua Sasse) is a revered knight whose perfect life is ruined when his beautiful true love, Madalena (Mallory Jansen) gets kidnapped by the King Richard (Timothy Omundson). But when Galavant interrupts their wedding to rescue Madalena, she rejects him, having taken quite a liking to the royal life. Heartbroken, a drunk and out-of-shape Galavant is found several months later by Princess Isabella (Karen David), whose neighboring kingdom has been invaded by King Richard, hiring him to once again seek vengeance against the evil king and win back his lady love. So he embarks on a new quest, all to the tune of cheery, cheeky songs composed by Disney Legend Alan Menken and written by Glenn Slater. But naturally, nothing goes as expected.

Why It's Essential Viewing

"Galavant" was one of the great undersung shows of 2015, brought in as a mid-season replacement for ABC's hit show "Once Upon a Time," whereupon it received little attention before it was rudely canceled after just two seasons. But I'm here to sing the praises of "Galavant," a pitch-perfect fantasy satire and one of the best things that Alan Menken has done in years.

A bawdy, witty, and absurd send-up of fairy tales, "Galavant" is like if all those raunchy genre satires that were all the rage in the mid-2000s actually had decent character writing and a banging Disney soundtrack. It subverts tropes of the genre in pretty predictable ways — what if the beautiful maiden were actually a cruel, ambitious sex maniac? What if the evil king was actually just an insecure virgin (and secretly the real hero of the story)? What if a Black squire came from an inexplicably Jewish family? — but the key thing is that it has fun with it.

(Musical) Comedy Gold

"Galavant" isn't just about poking holes into the antiquated clichés of the fairy tale genre, but about paying homage to it too, something that comes through in Menken and Slater's sincere, and sincerely funny, songs.

"Love is strange/and sometimes kind of gross/it's embarrassingly gassy/and it leaves its dirty underwear in piles around the place ... and it's awkward and confusing/it annoys you half to death/then it grins a dopey grin/and you can't catch your breath," Isabella sings in the show's cheesy love song that sounds like it came straight from the "Little Mermaid" soundtrack. The lyrics are silly and insulting, but eventually they come right back around to being earnest. It's this kind of tonal tightrope that "Galavant" walks (and dances) throughout the show.

"Galavant" was long a passion project for Menken, and clearly worked as an outlet for the composer's natural bawdiness that may have been stifled under the House of Mouse. But as much as I could rave about Menken's genius in "Galavant" — the way that he uses familiar Disney compositions to cleverly subvert fairy tale tropes! — the show would not be as good if it weren't for its totally game cast and the lovable characters they play.

Oy! What a Knight (And Cast)!

Joshua Sasse has the difficult role of the dashing but arrogant Galavant, choosing to play into his "model-turned-CW-star" good looks by basically making Galavant a himbo. His cockiness often gets him into scrapes, which leads into all sorts of hijinks — much to the disdain of Karen David's bossy Princess Isabella. Completing the main trio is Luke Youngblood's (Magnitude from "Community"!) squire Sid, who is sort of the Zeppo to the Galavant and Isabella, keen to get in on the action but forced into weird sidequests. Mallory Jansen is a breakout star as Madalena, the royal upstart whose kidnapping by a wealthy king unlocks a cruel ambition — and some of the show's best, slinkiest villain songs. Not to mention the random cameos, from Weird Al, to John Stamos, to Matt Lucas, all of whom are equally on board for this weird Monty Python-esque musical.

But the stealth MVP of the show is Timothy Omundson, who grows a beard and gravitas as the unlikely antihero King Richard. Omundson is not only completely believable as the ruthless king that Richard starts out as, but also the insecure, lonely, and awkward hero that Richard turns out to be — and he's devastatingly hilarious throughout his entire unexpected arc.

"Galavant" takes you down many unexpected avenues (from pirates, to singing monks, and dragons, oh my!) but the dedication of the cast — who are perfectly attuned to Menken and Fogelman's brand of sincere satire — and the unbelievably catchy songs make it one of your most satisfying TV watches (and rewatches), even for those who aren't fans of musicals or Disney fairy tales.