Give my regards to Broadway! The history of musical episodes on TV

Buffy takes some time off from yelling at vampires and demonic creatures from the depths of hell to sing to them in dulcet tones instead (image courtesy Vulture)
Buffy takes some time off from yelling at vampires and demonic creatures from the depths of hell to sing to them in dulcet tones instead (image courtesy Vulture)

 

Ella Fitzgerald once remarked that “the only thing better than singing is more singing” and while it’s sentiment a lot of musicians would quote naturally subscribe to, it’s not been as commonly embraced on TV which has traditionally tended to keep it storytelling reasonably song-free.

But as the latest as-always excellent episode of Vulture’s Secret History of Television demonstrates, the last 25 years have seen quite a bit more enthusiasm for letting traditionally spoken word only characters get up and … SING!

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Northern Exposure, Oz, and, of course, Glee, which was pretty much nothing but music, have done musical episodes exceptionally well; Cop Rock and Seventh Heaven not so much.

And I Love Lucy got the whole ball rolling in 1956 with a wacky musical dream sequence.

Musical episodes may not be to everyone’s taste but they are often clever, experimental and a fun diversion from the normal spoken mode of storytelling.

(source: Vulture)

 

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