8 Episodes That Surprised Us With Showstopping Musical Numbers

Jason Clark
The Magicians, Agent Carter, The Flash, Big Bang Theory

Clockwise from top right: Byron Cohen/ABC; Diyah Pera/The CW

They've Got the Beat

Elaborate musical sequences are working their way more and more often into hit non-musical shows. Here are eight examples of episodes that have jazzed up primetime this year with unexpected song and dance.

Song Dance The 100

The CW

The 100 (The CW)

Season 3, Episode 1: "Wanheda: Part One"

The Setup
Ark survivor Macallan (Shawn Mendes) tickles the ivories and croons the Violent Femmes’ “Add It Up” after bartering a song for some prized jewelry.

Basic Training
Mendes attracted attention with several six-second Vine videos, then hit the big time in 2015 with the Top 10 hit “Stitches.” This is his first TV role.

Should they quit their night jobs?
Since Mendes is actually parlaying his day job here with some silky-smooth vocal stylings, it’s safe to say yes.

Plus: The 100 Showrunner Explains Why [Spoiler] Had to Die | Photos: Behind the Scenes of The 100

Song Dance Big Bang Theory

CBS

The Big Bang Theory (CBS)

Season 9, Episode 16: "The Positive Negative Reaction"

The Setup
The group performs baby-related songs for pregnant Bernadette (Melissa Rauch, with Simon Helberg).

Basic Training
Big Bang has a history of karaoke get-togethers. (Remember Raj’s tone-deaf take on “Under the Bridge” in Season 2?)

Should they quit their night jobs?
The gang gets points for diversity—channeling Justin Bieber, Salt-N-Pepa, the Four Tops and Paul Anka—but they should stick to the job that makes them millions.

Plus: Inside The Big Bang Theory's 200th Episode

Song Dance The Flash

The CW

The Flash (The CW)

Season 2, Episode 13: "Welcome to Earth-2"

The Setup
On Earth-2, the alternate universe Barry and friends visited, Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) is a nifty nightclub crooner. One of his standout songs: “My Funny Valentine.”

Basic Training
Martin is one of the original cast members of Broadway’s Rent and reprised his role for the 2005 film.

Should they quit their night jobs?
Fans have been waiting for him to unleash his velvety tones on stage again, so a resounding yes. He also will star in a yet-to-be-finished biopic of Marvin Gaye.

Song Dance Madam Secretary

CBS

Madam Secretary (CBS)

Season 2, Episode 12: "The Middle Way"

The Setup
After a hard day at the office, the secretary’s personal assistant, Blake (Erich Bergen), takes to a karaoke stage to soulfully warble “Fire and Rain” by James Taylor.

Basic Training
Bergen is best known for playing Bob Gaudio in both the stage and film versions of Jersey Boys.

Should they quit their night jobs?
His chops are considerable, even in dialed-down mode. A definite yes.

Song Dance The Magicians

SYFY

The Magicians (Syfy)

Season 1, Episode 4: "The World in the Walls"

The Setup
During a music-therapy session in a psych ward, Quentin (Jason Ralph) unexpectedly leads the troops in an all-out version of the Taylor Swift earworm “Shake It Off.”

Basic Training
Ralph understudied and eventually played Boy, the lead in the musically inclined Broadway play Peter and the Starcatcher.

Should they quit their night jobs?
Ralph starts shaky (understandable, given the creepy circumstances) but eventually gives it all the sass he’s got. (Hair tossing! Shimmying!) T-Swizzle would approve.

Plus: Meet the Spellbinding Young Illusionists | The Magicians Conjures Up a Season 2

Song Dance Agent Carter

ABC

Marvel's Agent Carter (ABC)

Season 2, Episode 9: "A Little Song and Dance"

The Setup
In a dream sequence, our title lass (Hayley Atwell, with Enver Gjokaj) finds herself at the center of a fully staged Jazz Age show tune.

Basic Training
Atwell is a graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and a veteran of many stage roles (though virtually none in which she sang and danced).

Should they quit their night jobs?
It’s a fun number—and Atwell is a wow in that dress—but sleuthing seems to be where she’s best utilized.

Plus: Photos: Marvel's Agent Carter's Musical Number

Song Dance Scorpion

CBS

Scorpion (CBS)

Season 2, Episode 14: "Son of a Gun"

The Setup
To stall a ruthless African overlord, Paige and Walter (Katharine McPhee and Elyes Gabel) sing “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” at a party.

Basic Training
McPhee is a vet of American Idol and Smash.

Should they quit their night jobs?
McPhee: totally. Gabel: hell, no.

Song Dance Togetherness

HBO

Togetherness (HBO)

Season 2, Episode 1: "Hotels"

The Setup
After a tension-filled reunion, former lovers Tina and Alex (Amanda Peet and Steve Zissis) share the mic for the Stevie Nicks/Don Henley duet “Leather and Lace.”

Basic Training
Peet (a play veteran) once told a reporter: “I would do a musical, but I can’t sing.” Zissis will get another musical moment later this season, doing a dance routine to Katy Perry’s “California Gurls.”

Should they quit their night jobs?
They do OK for drunk karaoke, but don’t engrave those Tonys just yet.

< >