Follow Us on Twitter

Glee: The Complete First Season - Review

Glee: The Complete Season 1

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

SO MUCH has been written about the US TV phenomenon that is Glee that you’re either a complete Gleek by now, or want nothing more to do with the show. We fall into the former category.

Glee felt like a blast of fresh air when it arrived on the small screen earlier this year, bringing camp, creativity, feel-good energy and heartfelt values to Monday nights (on E4). It was the type of show that seldom failed to put a smile on your face, populated by characters who – while flawed – were genuinely worth spending time with.

Now that the complete first season has arrived on DVD (or the second half of the Road To Regionals if you bought the previously released Road To Sectionals), it offers fans a fun opportunity to take the journey again. And it is definitely one worth re-taking.

For anyone who doesn’t already know, Glee follows an optimistic teacher (Matthew Morrison’s Will Schuester) who – against all odds and a malicious cheerleading coach (Jane Lynch’s Sue Sylvester) – inspires McKinley High’s Glee Club to conquer the world one singing competition at a time.

It also follows the trials and tribulations of its Glee club members, including talented prima donna Rachel (Lea Michele), good-looking sports jock Fin (Cory Monteith), cheerleading queen Quinn (Dianna Agron), bad boy Puck (Mark Salling), and gay student Kurt (Chris Colfer).

En route to two major finals, the show further attracted celebrity guests ranging from Kristin Chenoweth, Eve, Josh Groban and Jonathan Groff to Neil Patrick Harris, Olivia Newton-John, Idina Menzel and Molly Shannon, while delivering enough songs to fill three compilation albums and one Madonna-themed EP.

But while some shows hog the limelight for unknown reasons (we’re talking X Factors, dull soap operas and such things), Glee captured the global
imagination because it was so well put together.

Essentially an underdog tale rolled into a triumph of the spirit adventure, it embraced its cheesy elements to emerge as a genuinely heartfelt series that combined humour and emotion effortlessly well.

Characters grew and developed well, rising above stereotype on many occasions, to emerge as fully rounded and often deeply flawed individuals. Yet when they sang – mostly covers of well known chart hits and Big Show tunes – they regularly sent spirits soaring.

Season 1 is littered with great moments and great episodes, whether it was the inspirational pilot, the Kurt inspired Preggers, the show-stopping season finale or the Madonna themed tribute episode.

And in Jane Lynch’s acerbic, vitriol spewing Sue Sylvester, it carried an ace in the pack – one of the most outrageous characters in small screen history whose biting put downs and scathing one liners offered some of the most quotable phrases of all-time.

Yet even Sue had a sensitive side, and peeling away the layers whenever the opportunity arose proved as much fun as watching to see if Will ever got it together with Jayma Mays’ shy school counsellor, or Rachel ever won Finn for herself.

Glee: The Complete First Season is therefore a marvellous addition to anyone’s DVD collection – a bonus filled, musical extravaganza that rewards fans for helping to turn the show into one of the hottest on the planet right now.

Or, as co-creator Ryan Murphy puts it: “The show started out as a comedy musical about the underdog in all of us and has blossomed, largely due to the incredible support and passion from the fans that have embraced the show.

“When we developed the DVD, we wanted to give those fans something special because they’ve been so great to us. There’s everything from a sing-along karaoke, to a behind-the-scenes look at our Madonna episode, to a dance lesson from our amazing choreographers.

“There’s even some all new Sue’s Corners which have never been seen before. It’s our ‘thank you’ to the Gleeks.”

It’s a gift that’s well worth accepting with gratitude for all Glee fans out there!

Check out some of Sue Sylvester’s greatest put-downs

Certificate: 12
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: September 13, 2010