With the musical crossover episode of The Flash and Supergirl – “Duet” – airing in the UK next week we thought we’d have a look back at some other musical episodes. Then we thought, “Nah, there are a zillion online features about that already.” Then we thought about a Top 20 best songs written for sci-fi & fantasy musicals, until we realised that that Top 1o would be entirely songs from Buffy The Vampire Slayer’s “Once More… With Feeling” and Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog (with Little Shop Of Horrors nabbing any spaces left).
So instead, here are some of sci-fi and fantasy’s more bizarre and unexpected and forgotten musical moments.
(With apologies to Jeffster fans – we thought Chuck’s retro-electronic duo would be a shoo-in… but there was never actually a full-on musical sequence with them that wasn’t interrupted by tons of dialogue and action!)
Sanctuary “The Helen Magnus Song”
“Fugue” wasn’t the greatest musical episode ever, since most of the time it didn’t actually feature songs so much as the characters singing the dialogue. But this conference call moment has a wonderfully bonkers Gilbert & Sullivan vibe going on.
Con Man “I’m With Stupid”
Season two of Adam Tudyk’s brilliant online comedy about the world of SF conventions features former The Incredible Hulk star Lou Ferrigno directing a musical version of Of Mice And Men.
Fringe “The Candyman”
“Brown Betty” was a rather disappointing musical episode from the usually breathtakingly inventive Fringe (hell, this was the show that featured a superb Monty Python-inspired animated sequence in another episode). It all felt a little half-hearted, except for this one, very brief musical interlude where the show’s quirky magic was back in full force.
Xena: Warrior Princess “Song Of Illusia”
Xena had a couple of musical episodes but the award winning “Bitter Suite” was the best musical episode of any series until “Once More… With Feeling” came along. Like Whedon’s masterpiece, “Bitter Suite” is a full-on musical with songs that actually propel the plot along and shine a light on the characters’ inner turmoils. But since this is a list of SF & fantasy’s oddest musical moments… take a bow, opening number.
Batman The Brave And The Bold “The World Is Mine”
And how could we not give a shout-out to the episode that introduced the villain who returns in The Flash/Supergirl’s “Duet”? In this, the Music Meister is voiced by Neil Patrick Harris…
Tank Girl “Let’s Do It”
Whatever you think of the film, this musical sequence is one of the highlights. We just love it way it snowballs into a full on song-and-dance number.
Red Dwarf “Tongue Tied”
So good, it was even released as a single – it reached number 17 in the UK charts in 1993. First featured in the episode “Parallel Universe”.
Red Dwarf “The Arnold Rimmer Song”
When Rimmer briefly left the Red Dwarf crew in Red Dwarf VII, Kryten created a Disney theme park-style Rimmer Experience for Lister, complete with very annoying earworm. Who knew there were so many rhymes for Rimmer?
Red Dwarf “Rim-Rim-Rim-Rim-Riminy”
In the most recent series of Red Dwarf, Rimmer clones himself several dozen times, and four of his double decide to form a barber shop quartet. This is Chris Barrie at his finest.
Gamer “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”
Terrible film. Great little number. Has Dexter’s Michael C Hall ever been creepier? He looks like he’s auditioning for the role of the Joker. And dancing soldiers is always good for a laugh, especially when the dance choreography becomes fight choreography.
Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom “Anything Goes”
What an inspired and totally unexpected way to open the follow-up to Raiders Of The Lost Ark! Possibly the only scene in the entire film in which Willie isn’t screaming.
Young Frankenstein “Puttin’ On The Ritz”
The phrase comedy genius is throughly overused. But this is COMEDY. GENIUS. Mel Brooks, Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, we salute you.
Doctor Who “Last Chance Saloon”
A few Doctor Who moments for you now, a show which, after 54 years, is well overdue a full-on musical episode, surely? Here are some examples of when it came close. This one’s from way back in the William Hartnell episode, “The Gunfighters”.
Doctor Who “I Can’t Decide”
In “The Last Of The Time Lords” the Maser dances to the Scissor Sisters.
Doctor Who “Merry Christmas Everyone”
Slade’s Christmas classic has featured in Doctor Who a number of times (usually in Christmas special, natch) but this is the first time there was a special dance sequence to go with it! And it’s all kinds of wonderful…
Guardians Of The Galaxy “Come And Get Your Love”
You knew this was coming, yeah? A brilliant way of letting the audience know, “You’re in for a sci-fi film here that’s a little crazier than usual.”
Legion “Feeling Good”
Legion has been giving us brilliantly bonkers musical sequences throughout its first season, with a Bollywood routine in the first episode and an alarming, but amazing, action set-piece set to Ravel’s Bolero in the penultimate episode. But our fave is Lennie giving Nina Simone’s classic “Feeling Good” its own James Bond opening credits sequence in episode six.
Thunderbirds Are Go “Shooting Star”
The first of the two ’60s Thunderbirds movies featured marionette versions of Cliff Richard and The Shadows performing at a night club in space for a dream sequence. Groovy.
Star Trek: Insurrection “A British Tar”
We actually find this clip excruciatingly embarrassing in the extreme, but there’s no arguing it’s bizarre and unexpected…
Agent Carter “Whatcha Gonna Do (It’s Up To You)?”
Another dream sequence, giving Enver Gjokaj the chance to throw away his character, Chief Daniel Sousa’s, crutches for once and strut his stuff with co-star Hayley Atwell. This was the only song-and-dance in the whole episode, fittingly called “A Little Song and Dance”, but full credit to the cast and crew for throwing everything at it.
American Horror Story: Asylum “The Name Game”
One of the advantages of setting the second season of American Horror Story in an asylum is that amongst all the other madness, a little musical number didn’t seem quite so bizarre. The episode and the song have the same title, “The Name Game”, which was originally written and performed by Shirley Ellis in 1964.
The Prisoner “Dem Bones”
The last episode of ’60s classic The Prisoner is officially one of the weirdest episodes of anything ever produced (though Legion tries each week to best it) so in amongst all the other weirdness as Number Six is put on trial, why not have a lesson in anatomy disguised as a folk song? Hip, daddio! Or is that, hip-bone, daddio?
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey “The Goblin King’s Song”
Oh well, at least it’s only in the extended edition…
DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow “Banana Boat Song”
Victor Garber as Martin Stein gets to sing in the Flash/Supergirl crossover, but he had a warm up just a couple of weeks beforehand on his own show…
Beetlejuice “Banana Boat Song”
And from one of the most embarrassing entries on out list to one of the best, and it’s the same song…