Glee: The Complete First Season – Blu-Ray Review

It’s hard to believe that we’ve only spent one year with these Glee kids. When the pilot episode premiered after the American Idol finale in Spring 2009, America wasn’t quite sure what to think of them. They were snarky, they were sneaky, they were talented, but how would an entire series about socially awkward glee club kids fare? One full season later, and we have our answer: very very well.

Will Schuster (Matthew Morrison) is a Spanish teacher at McKinley High with a passion for music. He is an alum who was once a member of New Directions, the school’s glee club, and wants to revive it. Principal Figgins (Iqbal Theba) tells him he can do it, but he has to find members who are willing to endure public mockery and the occasional Slushie to the face because, let’s face it, glee club isn’t cool. Figgins also re-routes money from the school’s award winning cheerleading squad, The Cheerios, to fund New Directions, and cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) is not happy about it.

Mr. Schu puts out an open call, and has a few students join New Directions right away. But they are too small to win at sectionals against the award winning rival glee club Vocal Adrenaline. Sue Sylvester convinces three of her Cheerios – Quinn, Brittany, and Santana – to join New Directions as spies in order to destroy the club and get their funding back. The girls try to carry out their devious orders, but they take a liking to glee club and the other members.

Glee has become a worldwide phenomenon, topping the Billboard charts, breaking iTunes records, and gaining the respect of several musicians and artists who want their songs featured on the show. Season one had an entire episode devoted to the music of Madonna, and the show has already featured guest stars such as Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Olivia Newton-John, Josh Groban, Kristin Chenoweth, and Molly Shannon. The show even counts Paul McCartney as one of its many celebrity fans.

But it’s not just the celebrity guest stars that have drawn in countless fans around the world, it’s the stories of these misfit high schoolers. We’ve all been in high school and we all know how difficult it can be. Remember your adolescent emotions and hormones going berserk and you couldn’t control them? Every argument you got into with a friend, you were going to hate them forever. Every break up with a boyfriend/girlfriend, and you felt like your world was going to end. If you were made fun of at school, remember feeling like you just wanted to hide in a hole?

Glee captures all those teenage emotions, makes us face them again and realize that it really wasn’t so bad. These kids happen to have a creative outlet and a place for them to belong. Even if they are teased and ridiculed by everyone else, they have friends that they can count on in glee club. Some of us in the real world didn’t have that outlet, and some of us did. But the show so accurately portrays high school that it’s relatable for everyone, regardless of their personal high school experience. They just happen to also throw in the occasional song and dance number. It’s easy to see why Glee has become the most popular show, even if its characters aren’t so popular.

I am consistently impressed with how much better TV shows can look on Blu-ray. I always watch in HD anyway, but this transfer is even better. The sound is excellent, and so is the video quality.

Disc 1:

Glee Music Jukebox – Play all of the musical numbers from each episode on this disc (Pilot – Director’s Cut, Showmance, Acafellas, Preggers, The Rhodes Not Taken), with a shuffle option.

Behind the Pilot: A Visual Commentary With Cast and Crew – This is such a great idea! The cast/crew sits in a movie theater and watches the pilot, while giving a commentary and behind the scenes stories. We watch it as a split screen, with the cast/crew on one side and the pilot episode on the other. There are some great stories and really funny memories, but two cast favorites are missing: Lea Michele and Jayma Mays. Jane Lynch is there though, so all is forgiven. (48:39)

Disc 2:

Glee Music Jukebox – Music from all the episodes on this disc (Vitamin D, Throwdown, Mash-Up, Wheels, Ballad, Hairography).

Disc 3:

Glee Music Jukebox – Music from all the episodes on this disc (Mattress, Sectionals, Hell-O, The Power Of Madonna, Home, Bad Reputation).

Disc 4:

Glee Sing Along Karaoke – I have to admit, I totally did this. Karaoke tracks with lyrics to “Alone”, “Somebody To Love”, “Don’t Stop Believing” and “Keep Holding On”.

Glee Music Jukebox – Music from all the episodes on this disc (Laryngitis, Dream On, Theatricality, Funk, Journey).

Staying In Step With Glee – “Rehab” – Learn the dance moves for this amazing performance by Vocal Adrenaline during the pilot episode. (6:19)

Bite Their Style: Dress Like Your Favorite Gleek – The Glee wardrobe department goes shopping for the show, and takes us along. We learn how they shop to create the looks for Rachel, Kurt, Mercedes, and Quinn. (8:52)

Unleashing the Power Of Madonna – Behind the scenes look at learning the dance number with the girls, filming the famous Sue Sylvester “Vogue” video, and the cast talks about how important Madonna has been in pop culture. (10:36)

Making Of A Showstopper – An entire behind the scenes featurette devoted to the making of the powerful “Bohemian Rhapsody” performance by Vocal Adrenaline. They show rehearsals, filming, and then the entire song. I have to admit, I cry every single time I watch this. (17:22)

The following extras were included with the Glee: Season 1 Volume 1 DVD release:

Welcome To McKinley – Principal Figgins gives a welcome announcement to arriving freshmen to McKinley High. (5:03)

Glee Music Video – More like a promo done to their version of “Somebody To Love.” (2:46)

Full Length Audition Pieces – Rachel’s performance of “On My Own” from the Pilot (3:18), and Mercedes performance of “Respect” from the pilot (0:59).

Fox Movie Channel Presents: Casting Sessions – Ryan Murphy talking about pitching the idea of the show to Fox and casting the show. (12:00)

Deconstructing Glee with Ryan Murphy – Just a few questions with Ryan Murphy. This could be longer, he’s got a lot to say about the show. (2:50)

Dance Boot Camp – Behind the scenes with the choreographer Zachary Woodlee. (3:13)

Jane Lynch a to Glee – This is a travesty. Having an extra starring Jane Lynch where she is candid and in her make-up chair (she can’t escape!), and it’s only a minute long?? Shame on you! (0:54)

Meet Jane Lynch – Once again, she doesn’t say anything that we don’t already know, and it’s only a minute long!! Make use of your resources! (1:05)

5 Things You Don’t Know About Jayma – For each of these pointless extras, I’ll give away one. Jayma Mays has a peanut butter and jelly sandwich every day. (0:41)

7 Things You Don’t Know About Cory – He cried at Equus. (1:01)

6 Things You Don’t Know About Amber – She loves shoes. (0:59)

7 Things You Don’t Know About Chris – He hates Bleu cheese. (0:43)

Video Diaries – The cast goes to New York City for a promotional tour and they all get Flip cameras. Let the silliness commence! (total run time 17:12)

There have been a few less than stellar moments on the show, like the forced love triangle between Mercedes, Kurt, and Rachel, and some of the overly produced vocal performances like “No Air”, but overall Glee is a show that is full of so much emotion that it literally makes you happy.

20th Century Fox presents Glee: The Complete First Season. Created by: Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, Ian Brennan. Starring:Dianna Agron, Chris Colfer, Jessalyn Gilsig, Jane Lynch, Jayma Mays, Kevin McHale, Lea Michele, Cory Monteith,Heather Morris, Matthew Morrison. Running time: 1045 minutes. Rating: NR. Released on Blu-ray and DVD: September 14, 2010.

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