TV review: Schmigadoon!
If you wish that most musicals would be invaded by rampant xenomorphs the moment someone girds themselves to bellow the first note, you might actually enjoy Schmigadoon!, which is currently streaming on Apple TV+.
The title - a play on the classic 1940s musical Brigadoon - tells you this is made with a healthy amount of side-eye.
Keegan-Michael Key and Saturday Night Live's Cecily Strong are Josh and Melissa, the modern-day couple in a rut and lost in some particularly dank woods while on a couples therapy backpacking trip.
They soon stumble into the Oz-like facade of the magical town of Schmigadoon.
Swiftly greeted by the singing and dancing whirl of gingham and straw boaters that is the townsfolk, the pair go along with what they believe to be a candy-coloured theme park.
While Melissa loves the new locale, Josh does not, making his hatred of musicals and audience participation clear from the off.
But then they discover - thanks to a keprechaun - that they cannot leave until they find their true love. Awkwardly, that is not each other.
Schmigadoon! is a six-part comedy series, which is quite a gamble for the makers.
Musicals are usually a one shot deal, a film or a special episode.
Series are rare and with good reason - even Glee became a chore long before it ended.
What helps this, or any fantasy, is that nugget of truth, an element of the real world to ground the extraordinary.
In this case, Key and Strong are convincing as a couple adrift and just, well, done with each other.
Two episodes in and aside from them each finding a potential bit on the side, it is yet to be revealed if Schmigadoon! will have more of a plot - though there is the inevitable face-off with Kristin Chenoweth's austere town busybody, a sinister presence that tells you all is not well behind the smiles.
What is refreshing is that the musical numbers are genuine homages to big Broadway productions like Oklahoma! rather than parodies with knowing winks to silliness.
The best of the bunch to date is Lovers' Spat, where the Schmigadoonians incorporate Josh and Melissa's non-musical argument into their verses.
Overall, this is a top-notch production that captures the style and verve of the old productions and has fun with it without being snide.