Few shows bottle pure delight like Glee, a Fox TV series about the ups and downs of a high school glee club, or show choir. The show lures you in with its musical numbers, a mix of classic rock and Broadway show tunes performed by a cast of marvelous singers and dancers--but what keeps you watching are the wonderful characters, ranging from Rachel (Lea Michelle), whose self-obsession is as uninhibited as it is annoying; to Emma (Jayma Mays), a germ-phobic guidance counselor hopelessly in love with a married teacher; to Kurt (Chris Colfer), a cherubic young gay man who discovers he''s got a fantastic football kick. The center of the show is Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison), the earnest Spanish teacher of McKinley High School, who''s determined to guide the glee club to victory at a national competition. He sees this collection of overemotional misfits as heroic, but they''re looked down on as losers by the rest of the school--especially Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch, The 40 Year Old Virgin, Best In Show), the ruthless cheerleading coach who will stop at nothing to destroy the glee club before they can take even a fraction of her extravagant budget.
Glee fuses adolescent soap opera, the comic pettiness of academic politics, and exuberant song and dance. (While it would be better if the songs weren''t so glossily produced, it''s impossible to deny the pep and talent of these young performers.) Somehow, the characters manage to be cartoonish yet multidimensional; even the nicest characters are capable of being jerks and the most manipulative have moments of sympathy or grace. For example, Will''s wife, Terri (Jessalyn Gilsig), fakes a pregnancy because she''s afraid Will is about to leave her for Emma--but as absurd as this scenario is, it''s carefully grounded in enough moments of desperate yearning that it becomes completely compelling… particularly when Terri seizes on the unwanted pregnancy of lead cheerleader Quinn (Dianna Agron) as the solution to her problem. Throw in vividly colored costume designs and blisteringly funny rants from Sue, and it''s easy to see why Glee became an unexpected hit. Volume One: The Road to Sectionals collects the first 13 episodes, along with a smattering of extras that range from charming (the principal leads the audience on a tour through the school) to inane (bland factoids about the actors'' favorite colors). --Bret Fetzer
Stills from Glee (Click for larger image)
Includes the first 13 episodes of season one.
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