Ooooh, what’s more divisive in TV than these two words: musical episode. I, for one, get pumped when I see it. (I mean, duh.) Here’s a roundup of a few of my faves.
1. Buffy The Vampire Slayer “Once More, With Feeling”
The original “special musical episode,” at least for me. In a world with vampires and demons, why not have a demon that causes people to reveal their deepest secrets and true feelings…through song and dance? I love this episode, and it gave us a little peek into Joss Whedon’s musical mind. Thankfully, he later dug further into his love of musicals and gave us the gift of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.
2. The Flash/Supergirl “Duet”
When you have two superheroes in the same universe who previously had starring roles on Glee, you’d better use those singin’ chops. Here, The Flash (Grant Gustin) and Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) reunite with another Glee star, Darren Criss (playing the Music Meister), and a musical two-episode crossover event ensues. It’s a lot of fun, and when both shows also happen to include a Broadway star (Jesse L. Martin on The Flash and Jeremy Jordan on Supergirl), you use them! And speaking of Jeremy Jordan, this girl nearly lost her mind when both of her favorite nerdy, brainy sidekicks (and my fantasy boyfriends) sang. I’m looking at you, Cisco Ramon and Winn Schott!
3. The Magicians “All That Josh” and “All That Hard, Glossy Armor”
The Magicians hasn’t shied away from music since the season 1 episode “The World in the Walls,” in which a psych ward breaks out into Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.” They return with another song in season 2 with “Lesser Evils,” and this Eliot fan rewatched Hale Appleman singing “One Day More” from Les Miserables a few times… But then in seasons 3 and 4, we got the gifts of full musical episodes. It’s one talented cast, so why not show their skills?! And with storylines that get as complicated as they do in The Magicians, why not add a little music to the mix?
4. Supernatural “Fan Fiction”
When the news broke that episode 200 would be a musical episode, I totally thought it was a joke. I mean, Jensen Ackles has a glorious voice, enough to melt this fangirl into a puddle time and time again. But I couldn’t picture Sam and Dean going all Broadway. Well, they did, and they didn’t. The musical came in the form of a group of teenage girls putting on a show about the Winchesters. And it was so funny and moving and endearing, it was like a love letter to the fans, complete with a haunting (no pun intended) performance of the show’s semi-official theme song, Kansas’ “Carry On Wayward Son.” Perfect celebration for the 200th.
5. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Of course I’m saving the best for last, in which EVERY episode is the musical episode. This show is just amazing from start to finish. Over the course of four seasons, the crew and cast wrote, recorded, produced, and performed more than 100 songs, some of which make me cry laughing, and some of which just make me cry. The series has great character arcs, amazing callbacks to previous jokes, and a satisfying series finale. The whole show has absolutely stellar songwriting and performances, and it actually touches on a lot of big issues, from mental illness and treatment to the reason why it takes women a million years to get ready for a date. Rachel Bloom is a comedy genius and super talented singer and songwriter. (Fun lil fact, she also wrote the original song “Super Friend” for the aforementioned Flash/Supergirl crossover episode.) This show is truly something special, and I’m glad there are four seasons of musical magic to revisit.