November 28, 2013

'Galavant' and 'The 7D': Coming Soon to Your TV, By Nora Stasio, Fairy Tale News Reporter

Editor's note: Nora brings us some news from Disney. Fairy tales have been very, very good for that company! Have a great Thanksgiving. Nora's news may add to your holiday delight, if you are a Disney fan.

These days, fairy tales are alive and well in TV Land. The bigwigs know full from experience that these classic stories will draw the viewers in, children and adults alike. No wonder there are so many fairy-tale-themed TV projects in the works. Here are just two that you may find enticing.

When Fox premiered their instant hit Glee in 2009, it was the only musical comedy TV show on a major network. Now ABC is seeking to rival that title with Galavant. They’ve commissioned a musical series set in a fairy-tale world, a bit like Once Upon a Time, but with a more light-hearted, family-oriented tone.

Director Dan Fogelman, composer Alan Menken, and lyricist Glenn Slater are the creative geniuses teaming up to get Galavant in motion. Each of these men has an impressive resume of their own, but they most recently collaborated on Disney’s Tangled (2010) (and also a musical episode of ABC’s sitcom The Neighbors). 

Here’s the premise to whet your appetite, via Examiner: 

“Galavant" is a classic storybook fairy-tale series that centers on a hero who gives up chasing dragons and saving damsels when the love of his life marries the evil King because she wants his wealth. But when a princess comes seeking his help he takes on the challenge, however she isn't completely honest with him. 

A casting call has gone out, but there’s not yet word of an air date.

Disney is also producing The 7D, a new cartoon for their children’s network, Disney Junior. The series will be based on one of Disney's most beloved princess films, but it looks like it won't include the princess. (By the way, this will also be a musical show, with songs by YouTube superstar Parry Gripp.)

A very old school "Snow White" illustration, by Marianne Stokes

"The 7D" refers to the seven dwarfs from the 1937 film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The seven little men, adored by Disney fans of all ages for their quirky names and silly personalities, will be featured as the main characters of their own show. 

But here's the strange thing--you may not recognize them at all.

It's been confirmed that the main cast will include Happy, Doc, Sleepy, Sneezy, Bashful, Grumpy, and Dopey, the dwarfs from the world-famous film, but when it comes to the art of this cartoon, the development crew hasn't exactly stayed true to Disney's original designs. If you're interested in seeing a picture, check out this link.  

It should come as no surprise that this is not a popular decision among Disney fans. But this controversial image has been circulating the web since June of 2012, and the show is due to air in 2014. It’s possible that these “reimaginings” will not be the final designs used in the show. As for why they were redesigned, my guess is that the animators were hoping to give each of the dwarfs a more unique look, so that young children will be able to tell them apart. We’ll have to wait and see whether Disney Junior follows through with this direction. 

Could The 7D possibly be the first major work of popular media to feature the dwarfs of this classic fairy tale, without the titular princess? Disney or otherwise? What might it be like to take other famous fairy-tale sidekicks and thrust them into the spotlight? Disney’s already given Peter Pan’s personal pixie, Tinkerbell, her own film, which later became a whole series of films and TV shorts. 
What if the friendly mice from Cinderella had their series about what its like to turn into horses? 

And what about famous literary sidekicks like… Samwise Gamgee? Huckleberry Finn? Sancho Panza? Would the Scarecrow, the Lion, and the Tin Man have an interesting dynamic without Dorothy somewhere in the mix? Sidekick characters are typically created just to complement an already attractive hero. So is it possible for a sidekick to be interesting on his or her own? I’d say the answer is yes, but only if the character’s personality is as fleshed–out and well-crafted as that of the hero he or she complements.

This is a topic worth thinking about, as perhaps a way to keep classic stories fresh, at least those that, some might argue, have been "done to death" by our popular culture. Still others, namely the fairy-tale scholars, would argue that what makes fairy tales so useful to society is the very way they can be constantly rehashed, and still manage to hold us captive, because their themes are timeless and deeply human.

I fear this is sounding like a lecture, so I’m going to step back and invite you readers to give us your thoughts on all of the above. Do you have high hopes for Galavant? How do you feel about the redesigns of the "7D"? 

Are there any sidekick-helmed movies or shows you’d be interested in seeing? Who knows; maybe some of your ideas are already in production! Stay tuned, story-lovers! 

Bio: Nora writes, "I have been a lover of creative writing and fairy tales for basically my entire life! I just graduated Cum Laude from Rutgers where I completed a minor in English, with a focus in Creative Writing and Shakespeare (I majored in Psychology)."

Nora's avatar, by Nora


  1. Excellent question about sidekicks. I think they can very effectively make their own stories. However, I also think that there is a cynical tendency in movies, tv, books, etc. at the present to mine a popular story for a spin-off that will sell because of name recognition rather than true enthusiasm for the story itself.

  2. Both projects sound fun! great column.