Broadcast television is alive with the sound of music
Glee, what hast thou wrought? Both Fox and ABC are developing musical TV series, one in the form of a family-friendly hour-long dramedy and the other in a sitcom.
Unlike Glee (and famous bombs Cop Rock and Viva Laughlin), both shows will feature original music rather than rehashed pop classics. Also, both will be squarely aiming for laughs. So at least we won’t be subjected to montages of lovelorn teenagers while an extremely earnest high school sophomore belts out “Everybody Hurts.”
Let’s start with ABC. Its new Galavant is trying so hard to capture the Once Upon a Time audience that the two shows will actually share a time slot (one filling in for the other midseason). Galavant is the story (and name) of a singing knight in a singing kingdom looking for singing revenge against a singing evil king, and if that all sounds very Disney, then huzzah! They hit their mark!
The show clearly wants to be a Disney movie stretched out over a 10-episode season. To that end, the best thing going for Galavant is Alan Menken.
Menken wrote the music to The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin, which means there’s a fairly good chance you had one if his songs running through your head about 72% of your total waking hours from 1989 to 1992. Jaunty yet sweeping, his melodies hit the sweet spot that every other animated musical has been trying in vain to recapture ever since. (Sorry, Frozen, you were good but “ Fixer Upper” is no “Be Our Guest.”)
Over at Fox, The Sound of the Sumners is a single-camera family sitcom where the kids and parents occasionally belt out original show-stopping numbers that are described as “irreverent and buzzworthy” and just fucking shoot me now.
HNTP prediction: Galavant does just fine for a mid-season fill-in, but it’s a bit one note (PUN!) and wears thin towards the end. The Sound of the Sumners will quickly be silenced.
In case you’re curious, here’s the trailer for Galavant: