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Glee: Season One, Vol. 2 – Road to Regionals

Posted by admin | Posted in Movies | Posted on 15-05-2010

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Product Description
From Ryan Murphy, the creator of “Nip/Tuck“ comes a musical comedy that follows an optimistic high school teacher as he tries to transform the Glee Club and inspire a group of outcasts to make it to Nationals. … More >>

Glee: Season One, Vol. 2 – Road to Regionals

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Comments (4)

“Glee” was a risky proposition when it debuted: the musical format had never really worked before on TV (“Fame” the arguable exception), despite many, many attempts (indeed, the musical genre as a whole has declined somewhat outside of theatre, though the 2000s saw a resurgence on film). But it did work here, and the show’s original thirteen-episode commitment (collected in “Glee: Season One, Vol. 1 – Road to Sectionals”) was extended to a full 22-episode season. These nine episodes debuted some months after the original run, and at least a few viewers mistook them for a formal second season, but that’s not technically true. We’re still in sophmore year at William McKinley High School. Spoilers follow.

The first volume ended with the kids’ triumph at Sectionals against the odds, giving the club some breathing room, but, as they find out in episode 14, not a whole lot. And, contrary to what less-popular students like Rachel (Lea Michele) had expected and hoped for, winning at Sectionals hasn’t resulted in any dramatic improvement in their social standing back at school, which is as cartoonishly hostile as ever. The ensuing nine episodes cover the period between Sectionals and the Regionals contest, as our main characters grapple with a wide variety of personal issues, and, of course, sing a lot. The season includes a notable innovation for the show, the single-artist-themed episode: “The Power of Madonna”, focussing on the works of, well, Madonna (episode 20 is often called the “Lady Gaga” episode, but they only do two songs of hers there; they did as many by KISS in the same episode). This is one of my personal favourites. There are also a number of significant guest appearances: Kristen Chenoweth returns to reprise her role from the first 13, and she is joined (though never onscreen) by “Wicked” costar Idina Menzel, Lea Michele’s former Broadway costar Jonathan Groff, and internet fan favourite Neil Patrick Harris (“How I Met Your Mother”).

As far as the characters go, the Back 9 are a bit of a mixed bag in terms of screentime relative to the Front 13. Lea Michele and Cory Monteith (Finn) remain the leads, though they interact with each other a lot less for most of the way through; both continue to turn in excellent performances, and Monteith, the weakest singer in the group at the start, has improved quite a lot (he delivers a terrific rendition of the Rick Springfield standard “Jessie’s Girl”). Of the rest of the main cast, Chris Colfer (Kurt) and Amber Riley (Mercedes) receive notable boosts in their screentime; Colfer is one of the breakout actors, and he has a couple of strong showcases here, many of them involving his equally impressive father, played by Mike O’Malley (who really should get a Guest Actor Emmy nomination). Riley was possibly the weakest actor on the show at the start (though one of the best singers), but she’s likewise improved considerably. The biggest losers in all this would be Jessalyn Gilsig (who appears for only a few minutes) and poor Jenna Ushkowitz (Tina), who for long stretches is almost invisible, though things improve for her in the final few episodes. Dianna Agron (Quinn), also has a lot less prominence, given the writers’ desire to sideline the whole pregnancy storyline. By far the biggest winners overall would be Naya Rivera (Santana) and Heather Morris (Brittany), Quinn’s former minions and now two of the show’s breakout characters; Morris is a brilliant comedienne (if only the promos would stop giving away all her non sequiturs), and Rivera, as the new HBIC at McKinley, has both great skills as a comedic actress and a fantastic singing voice that she gets to use several times here.

Oh, and Jane Lynch continues to be sheer brilliance, but you probably already knew that.

There are any number of plausible arguments for rating this DVD set at 4 stars instead of five: these nine episodes lack much of a sense of a narrative arc compared to the first thirteen, albeit in that case the narrative arcs were largley provided by plots that the fans didn’t like (Quinn’s pregnancy, Terri’s not-pregnancy). Things are looser here, and the show can often be a bit messy in terms of continuity with its plots and characters. And episode 20, “Theatricality”, in one of the show’s more dramatic moments, falls flat on its face trying to make a point worth making about language (I’m increasingly sensing that the writers’ idea of Kurt is very different from the Kurt who comes across on the screen a lot of the time). But, all these flaws accounted for, I simply can’t rate it less than 5 stars: for all its messiness, “Glee” has an energy and life beyond any other show on TV right now, and, even when it immensely frustrates me, I still find it compulsively watchable. Tremendous acting on the part of the whole cast deliver characters that I really care about. And the finale is really spectacularly handled.

Recommended.
Rating: 5 / 5

I bet all of those people crying about not getting a Glee: Season 1, Vol. 2 are feeling better, but they shouldn’t have been so impatient. All of their 1 star votes were for nothing, and they might have actually turned some people off to Glee since its rating dropped. Too bad, some of them are now complaining about not getting the extras that are coming out with the Complete Season. Some people are never happy.
Rating: 5 / 5

Just calm down everybody. They’re coming out with a season 1, volume 2. Isn’t that what we’re commenting on?
Rating: 5 / 5

I’m really excited to see this is coming out, considering I purchased Volume One back in Decemeber. I can’t wait to relive the great moments and music numbers Glee had to offer.
Rating: 5 / 5

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