Although not a ratings blockbuster by any means, the Fox show Glee has made quite the indelible mark on the network. Critics love it and those who get into the production become rabid fans to the point of obsession. As much as High School Musical revolutionized the idea of musicals for teens, Glee takes that same basic premise but tosses in a heavy helping of Greys’ Anatomy style drama to keep it more for the older generation. Plus the spontaneous song and dance numbers actually serve a purpose in Glee (although never having seen a High School Musical, I’ve no idea if they’re spontaneous in there…I just wanted to take a potshot at it), which is part of what makes the show such a (critical) hit.
Give a cheer for TV’s hottest, funniest and most talked-about new series when “Glee” Season 1: Road To Sectionals debuts on DVD December 29 from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. Filled with beloved characters and sensational musical numbers, “Glee” Season 1: Road To Sectionals is an electrifying, pitch-perfect winner. William McKinley High School once had a champion glee club, but now they are floundering. That is when an idealistic Spanish teacher (Matthew Morrison, Music & Lyrics) takes up their cause, vowing to transform the rag-tag group of singers and dancers into champions.
I attempted to get into Glee back when the series premiered…and then quickly went away until the Fall season. The fact Fox debuted it and gave those who enjoyed it nothing else to work with…well, it seemed confusing at the time but man did it build up a healthy dosage of buzz. Rather than expending an entire seasons worth of show and then waiting for it to enter the public conscious they aired one episode and slammed the brakes on, putting it on a very long hold. It was a gutsy move and I question whether the Fox TV network was even bright enough to come up with such a plan or if it was just something that happened by dumb luck, but whatever the reason…it did seem to work out for the best. The series had a few bouts with low ratings and it still isn’t hasn’t cracked the top five again since its third episode, but it’s been holding steady ever since the first part of the season wrapped up.
So enough about the ratings. As I was saying before I got sidetracked, the series was something I attempted to get into when it premiered initially and again when it came back. I really did try, but I’ll be honest…I think the film is much more skewed toward one gender than the other. The soap opera style antics between the characters gets to be a bit much (I mean all the pregnancies, fake or otherwise, was rather irksome at times) and the will-they-won’t-they formula that’s worked so well before on other shows had me twitching slightly. Don’t get me wrong…I definitely see the appeal of the show and know why fans love it so dearly, but it just isn’t for me. It’s wonderfully written, scripted, directed, conducted, and choreographed…I just really couldn’t find a groove in the series that I fit in each week.
Maybe it’s because my TV viewing schedule is already overloaded, but Glee just doesn’t “work” for me. It’s definitely got a charm about it, but whenever I sat down to watch it I found myself either unmotivated to finish it or somehow embarrassed that I was watching a TV series that was full of musical numbers. I mean it has the same type of setting going for it as Grey’s Anatomy in that I can see why people like it…I just know that I don’t like it and it’s not remotely something I could see myself sticking to for multiple seasons.
But I do still Recommend this first volume (which was supposed to be the first season…but Fox ordered an additional nine episodes, so this volume release happened instead) to those of the female gender. I’ll probably get tomatoes thrown at me for that, but honestly I think there are quite a few series on TV now that requires you to be of one gender or another to really enjoy it. This is just one of those series. I’m not saying if you’re a guy you won’t like it, but as funny as it is all the relationship and baby drama that this season is made up of is slightly maddening. Although the mid-season finale did seem to alleviate some of those tensions…so who knows, maybe I’ll end up coming back after all.
The set itself arrives in a standard four-disc Amaray Viva Multi case. Outside you have a cardboard slipcover and inside a few inserts from Fox. Disc art mimics the cover and the menus are simple and easy to navigate. Video arrives in an anamorphic widescreen presentation and looks flawless. There is some grain at times but nothing overwhelmingly distracting. The DD5.1 tracks are where most of your enjoyment will stem from, however, as this being a musically driven show there’s plenty of surround elements to wrap yourself up in. It’s a bit disappointing that this show didn’t get a Blu-ray release as I’m sure it would’ve shined on that, both in terms of video and audio. But what we get here is certainly enjoyable enough.
Extras aren’t overwhelming, but they do exist. There are no commentaries, unfortunately, as all of the extras reside on disc four of the set. Here we get a decent mash-up:
Full Length Audition Pieces
Rachel – “On My Own”
Mercedes – “Respect”
Welcome to McKinley!
Fox Movie Channel Casting Session
Deconstructing Glee With Ryan Murphy
Dance Boot Camp
Repurposed Web VAM
Fans of the show will no doubt recognize the titles of some of those extras as they were already floating around on the official site and YouTube. A few of them are new, of course, but even if it repeat material it’s nice to have it on one condensed set you can safely tuck away on your shelf and not worry about your internet being up if you get a hankering to watch them.
Overall Glee, Volume 1 – Road to Sectionals is a Recommended set to pick-up for those who haven’t seen the series yet or are already massive fans of it. It could’ve used some more extras (notably commentaries) but I’m sure if the show continues to rise in popularity we’ll see more goodies on future seasons.
Glee, Volume 1 – Road to Sectionals is now available on DVD.