In a world where television is devoted to every shade of crime fighter – cops, cops in different cities, private detectives, scientists, and partners who are psychics, novelists, bone people, professors, and even multi-dimensional travelers – ‘Glee’ is an anomaly. A big anomaly. It’s after-school special meets Alexander Payne’s ‘Election,’ set to tunes ranging from Journey to Lady Gaga.
And now the merry band of misfits have hit Blu-ray in a not perfect, but very solid production.
As the story goes, Mr.Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison) wants to start a glee club to re-live his youth — an idealistic group where misfits can find their voices and strut their stuff alongside the teacher whose best days lay in his singing and dancing past. After a variety of struggles, a core group forms – the keener superstar Rachel (Lea Michele), the super-jock dufus Finn (Cory Monteith), the too-stylish-for-his-own-good gay kid Kurt (Chris Colfer), the goth stutterer Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz), the wheelchair-bound Artie (Kevin McHale), and the diva-in-the-making Mercedes (Amber Riley). But while the glee kids have the chance to sing and dance, they’re still the outcasts, facing a year of slushies to the face, new and possibly untrustworthy members, and Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch), the thorn in Will’s side and main competition for club funding.
The first season is utterly jam-packed with insanity. There are dorky stalker blog kids making life difficult, surprise pregnancies, adult drunks returning to school, spies, romance between the geeks and popular kids, viral videos, and even a vindictive auditor in the form of Neil Patrick Harris. The craziness is balanced with a heavy helping of social commentary, which might come off heavy-handed, but is always tempered by the outbursts of music. You name it, they sing it. From the beginning with Journey covers to one epic spin on “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Glee runs the gamut of pop songs. It might be a little Monkees with “Daydream Believer” one day, Lionel Ritchie’s “Hello” the next, and also some of ACDC’s “Highway to Hell” and even “Ice Ice Baby.”
As a disc rife with supplemental features, ‘Glee’ on Blu-ray is a feast for Gleeks. Ranging from short and silly to long and in-depth, this release offers a little of everything and some twists you might not expect. Ryan Murphy and many of the people who worked on the pilot gather for a visual commentary (footage of them watching the pilot seen side-by-side with the pilot itself). The choreographers offer up a how-to so fans can learn to dance like the pros, while wardrobe peeps help you dress like the characters. Karaoke and jukebox options allow viewers to just delight in the songs. There are also more detailed, PR-toned features about “Bohemian Rhapsody” and the Madonna episodes, quirks about the actors, and some video diaries detailing the show’s trip to New York City. Viewers will, however, have to be patient about the disc’s loading times – especially for a few sneaky little blips that are maybe a minute long.
What hurts the overall score for this Blu-ray is the transfer. The visuals are relatively crisp and will satisfy those not expecting perfection, but everyone with a stereo-sound setup will be disappointed by the lack of an immersive sound experience – something that’s a pretty big oversight for a television show based on musical numbers.
Nevertheless, if you like or love ‘Glee,’ there’s little chance you won’t love this disc.