glee – The Complete First Season (a J!-ENT DVD Review)
September 22, 2010 by Dennis Amith
A series that is just so fun to watch, is well-written, well-cast and songs that are catchy and enjoyable. Glee is definitely one of the best series on television right now and if you find yourself enjoying the series, this DVD set is definitely worth owning! Highly recommended!
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TITLE: glee – the Complete First Season
DURATION: 24 episodes (974 Minutes)
DVD INFORMATION: 5.1 Dolby Digital, Widescreen (1:78:1), Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English, French, Portuguese
RATED: NOT RATED
COMPANY: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
RELEASE DATE: September 14, 2010
Created by Ian Brennan, Brad Falchuk, Ryan Murphy
Directed by Brad Falchuk, Elodie Keene, Ryan Murphy and John Scott
Written by Ian Brennan, Brad Falchuk, Ryan Murphy
Executive Producer: Dante Di Loreto, Brad Falchuk, Ryan Murphy
Co-Executive Producer: Ian Brennan, John Peter Kousakis
Producer: Alexis Martin, Michael Novick
Associate Producer: Jennifer Morrison, Thomas Kuehl
Music by James S. Levine
Cinematography by Christopher Baffa
Edited by Bradley Buecker, Nathan Allen, Joe Leonard
Casting by Eric Dawson, Carol Kritzer, Robert J. Ulrich
Production Design by Mark Hutman
Art Direction by Kevin Constant, Peter Clemens
Set Decoration by Barbara Munch
Series Costume Design by Lou Evrich
Jane Lynch as Sue Sylvester
Matthew Morrison as Will Schuester
Lea Michele as Rachel Berry
Cory Monteith as Finn Hudson
Dianna Agron as Quinn Fabray
Chris Colfer as Kurt Hummel
Jessalyn Gilsig as Terri Schuester
Jayma Mays as Emma Pillsbury
Kevin McHale as Artie Abrams
Amber Riley as Mercedes Jones
Mark Salling as Noah “Puck” Puckerman
Jenna Uskowitz as Tina Cohen-Chang
Naya Rivera as Santana Lopez
Heather Morris as Brittany
Iqbal Theba as Principal Figgins
Harry Shum Jr. as Mike Chang
Dijon Talton as Mark Rutherford
Patrick Gallagher as Ken Tanaka
Stephen Tobolowsky as Sandy Ryerson
Josh Sussman as Jacob Ben Israel
Max Adler as Dave Karofsky
James Earl as Azimio
Jonathan Groff as Jesse St. James
Stephen Tobolowsky as Sandy Ryerson
Romy Rosemont as Carole Hudson
Lauren Potter as Becky Jackson
Idina Menzel as Shelby Corcoran
Bill A. Jones as Rod Remington
Kristin Chenoweth as April Rhodes
Molly Shannon as Brenda Castle
Charlotte Ross as Judy Fabray
Television’s most award-wining new series, GLEE was honored with a Golden Globe® for Best Television Series, Comedy or Musical; a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series; and a People’s Choice Award for Favorite New TV Comedy. GLEE follows an optimistic teacher who – against all odds and a malicious cheerleading coach – inspires McKinley High’s Glee Club to conquer the world one singing competition at a time. GLEE stars Dianna Agron, Chris Colfer, Jessalyn Gilsig, Jane Lynch, Jayma Mays, Kevin McHale, Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, Matthew Morrison, Amber Riley, Mark Salling and Jenna Ushkowitz. The hit show has attracted celebrity guest appearances by Kristin Chenoweth, Eve, Josh Groban, Jonathan Groff, Neil Patrick Harris, Olivia Newton-John, Idina Menzel, and Molly Shannon. GLEE: The Complete First Season Blu-ray and DVD
The music from GLEE continues to shine with inventive renditions of past and present hit songs including Ike & Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary,” Madonna’s “Like A Virgin” and Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.”
With a lot of hype behind the teen musical/comedy/drama series “Glee”, many people catching “American Idol” wondered what this new series would be about. The series created by Ryan Murphy (writer for “Nip/Tuck”, “Popular”), Brad Falchuk (producer for “Nip/Tuck”) and Ian Brennan would gain attention because of its music but for the most part, it would prove to become successful with its catchy music (with actual talent that can sing), a witty storyline and its well-cast characters.
The series proved to become so popular that two soundtracks have been released for the television series and even was nominated for four 2010 Golden Globe Awards. With support from various media sites to even celebrities and a fanbase that have branded themselves as “gleeks”. “Glee”, although not exactly original (“Fame” was known for its musical teens in the 1980′s and the teenage jock musical was featured heavily in the Disney “High School Musical” films) and a cast of talent playing teenagers from various ethnicities and even one who is handicapped, “Glee” manages to capture the drama of high school life but also the fun of watching this group of underdogs trying to succeed.
The series revolves around the glee club of William McKinley High School in Lima, Ohio. Spanish teacher Will Schuester (played by Matthew Morrison, “As the World Turns”) becomes the director of the club and his goal is to turn this group of underdogs to achievers and bring them to Sectionals. Will used to be part of a successful Glee Club back in high school and wants to make the club prominent once again. But with money now being diverted to this new club, money is taken out of the cheerleading squad (aka “Cheerios”) led by head coach Sue Sylvester (played by Jane Lynch, “Julie & Julia”, “Two and a Half Men”). And Sue is literally hell bent in doing what she can to close the Glee club down.
Members of the Glee Club known as “New Directions!” include:
- Rachel Berry (played by Leah Michelle) – Very driven and wants to be come a famous talent. A talented singer and has feelings for Finn.
- Finn Hudson (played by Cory Monteith, “Kyle XY”, “Kaya”) - The star quarterback of the football team who has alienated his teammates for joining the Glee Club. Dates the cheerleader Quinn and has feelings for Rachel. He is also the main male singer of the club.
- Quinn Fabray (played by Dianna Agron, “Heroes”) - The head of the Cheerios (cheerleading squad) and the Celibacy Club who joins the Glee Club to spy on them for her coach Sue Sylvester and because she notices that her boyfriend Finn has eyes for Rachel.
- Mercedes Jones (played by Amber Riley) – The talented singer of Glee Club who hates being second fiddle to Rachel. She is attracted to Kurt.
- Kurt Hummel (played by Chris Colfer) – A gay student who is picked on because he of his flamboyant style.
- Noah “Puck” Puckerman (played by Mark Salling) – Finn’s best friend and a teammate on the football team. He joins the Glee club only so he can impress mothers at the PTA meetings.
- Artie Adams (played by Kevin McHale, “Zoey 101″, “True Blood) - A guitarist and also a paraplegic. He is seen as a nerd and loves being part of Glee Club.
- Tina Cohen-Chang (played by Jenna Uskowitz) – The shy member of the Glee Club and is attracted to Artie.
- Santana Lopez (played by Naya Rivera) – A member of the Cheerios and the Glee Club. Joined along with Quinn and Brittany to spy for their cheerleading head coach Susan Sylvester.
- Brittany (played by Heather Morris) – The not-s0-smart cheerleader. Joined along with Quinn and Santana to spy for their cheerleading head coach Susan Sylvester.
Other main characters of “Glee” include:
- Jayma Mays (played by Emma Pillsbury, “Heroes”, “Ugly Betty”) – The guidance counselor who is attracted to Will but she is dating and engaged to the high school football coach, Ken Tanaka.
- Terri Schuester (played by Jessalyn Gilsig, “Heroes”) – Married to Will but a woman who will do anything to prevent Will from leaving her and dislikes his commitment towards the Glee Club.
- Ken Tanaka (played by Patrick Gallagher) – Head coach of the football team and is dating and engaged to Jayma Mays. He is not too fond of Will.
- Principal Figgins (played by Iqbal Theba) – The fair and reasonable principal who tends to listen to Glee Club director Will Schuester and Cheerios Head Coach Susan Sylvester going at each other’s throats but tries to make sure both are on the same footing.
“glee – The Complete First Season” features the following 22 episodes on seven DVD’s (note: the following are spoiler-less summaries):
- EPISODE 1: Pilot - Will Schuester, a former member of the Glee Club and a Spanish teacher of McKinley High School tries to restore the Glee Club in school.
- EPISODE 2: Showmance - The Glee club performs in front of the school in order to get new members. Meanwhile, Will takes a second job as a janitor when he finds out his wife is pregnant.
- EPISODE 3: Acafellas - Will forms an all-male a cappella group known as the “Acafellas”. Mercedes falls in love.
- EPISODE 4: Preggers - Rachel doesn’t feel she is being treated right in the Glee Club and Quinn receives shocking news.
- EPISODE 5: The Rhodes Not Taken - Will brings a former high school classmate and Glee Club friend April Rhodes (played by Kristin Chenoweth) to spice things up with the current Glee Club.
- EPISODE 6: Vitamin D - Will starts a competition between the boys and the girls.
- EPISODE 7: Throwdown - With Cheerios coach Sue, now a co-leader of the Glee Club, she makes sure to cause tension amongst the members.
- EPISODE 8: Mash-Up - Will composes a mash-up. Puck decides to ask Rachel out on a date.
- EPISODE 9: Wheels - Artie’s chances of traveling with the Glee Club at regionals comes to question and Kurt takes on Rachel for a “Diva-Off”.
- EPISODE 10: Ballad - Will splits the Glee Club into teams who must sing a ballad.
- EPISODE 11: Hairography - Will suspects that Susan may be leaking information about their Glee Club to another high school.
- EPISODE 12: Mattress - The Glee Club are asked to take part in a commercial without Will’s knowledge.
- EPISODE 13: Sectionals - Will takes a bullet for the Glee Club and is suspended. Finn finds out the truth about Quinn. With problems facing the group, now the Glee Club must prepare for their competitions at Sectionals without their director and one of their members.
- EPISODE 14 – Hello-O – The return of Sue, Will and Emma start dating and Rachel meets Jesse St. James, the lead singer of Vocal Adrenaline and starts to become attracted to him.
- EPISODE 15 – The Power of Madonna – When Will hears how Sue utilizes Madonna songs for her Cheerios, Will decides to utilize Madonna songs for New Directions. Meanwhile, Jesse leaves his school and Vocal Adrenaline and joins New Directions.
- EPISODE 16 – Home – Sue wants her new cheerleader Mercedes to lose weight. Meanwhile, Will becomes reacquainted with his former glee singer April Rhodes (Kristin Chenoweth).
- EPISODE 17 – Bad Reputation – Kurt steals a video of coach Sue Sylvester performing Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical” and members of New Directions post it on YouTube. Meanwhile, Principal Figgins gives an order to Will after a “Glist” is found, which ranks the New Directions members based on sexual promiscuity.
- EPISODE 18 – Laryngitis -Rachel complains that some members of the club are faking their singing and thus Will makes sure everyone must perform a solo act. Meanwhile, Kurt is jealous of how much time his father is spending with Finn.
- EPISODE 19 – Dream On – Bryan Ryan (played by Neil Patrick Harris), a former McKinley High glee member and now an auditor of the school board visits and wants to cut the glee club. Meanwhile, Jesse learns a major secret about Rachel and the truth of who is her real mother.
- EPISODE 20 – Theatricality – When Rachel discovers that Vocal Adrenaline are planning to perform Lady GaGa at the regionals, Will makes Lady Gaga their class assignment. Meanwhile, Finn and Kurt’s friendship becomes complicated. Rachel discovers who her real mother is.
- EPISODE 21 – Funk – Jesse St. James shows his true colors. Meanwhile, Vocal Adrenaline tries to intimidate New Directions leading Puck and Finn wanting retaliation against them.
- EPISODE 22 – Journey to Regionals – It’s time for the regionals and Will learns that Sue Sylvester is one of the judges. On that same day of regionals, Quinn’s water breaks and will be giving birth. Depending on how well New Directions does at Regionals, they may or may not be able to keep the club from continuing.
“glee – The Complete First Season” is presented in widescreen 1:78:1. Shot digitally, this is a series that I’m sure would look fantastic on the Blu-ray release. As for the DVD release, picture quality is cool as some parts showcase the vibrant colors of the series but one thing I noticed is that the pilot episode definitely shows a lot of noise but as the series progressed towards the second half of the first seaosn, picture quality was much better. Blacks are nice and deep and skin tones look natural on the DVD but for the most part, picture quality for “glee” very good on DVD. But for those who are concerned with picture quality will definitely want to “glee – The Complete First Season” on Blu-ray. Otherwise, the DVD is good.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“glee – The Complete First Season” is presented in English 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround. The series is front and center channel driven but with those who own modern home-theater receivers may find it a benefit to have the audio set at stereo on all channels if they have a 5.1, 7.2 or higher setup. Audio is clear and understandable but what matters for a series such as “glee” is how the music sounds and for the most part, music sounds great. There is crowd ambiance in the school hallways or chatter in during the competitions but for the most part, “glee” is a front and center channel-driven soundtrack. And similar to the video, if you are an audiophile, then you will definitely want the lossless soundtrack and go with the Blu-ray version.
Subtitles are presented in English SDH, Spanish, French and Portuguese.
“glee – The Complete First Season” comes with the following special features:
- Welcome to McKinley! – (5:02) A video of Principal Figgins introducing 8th graders to his office before they go to McKinley High School. A hilarious featurette.
- Glee Music Video – (2:44) A music video for “Somebody to Love”.
- Full Length Audition Pieces – Featuring the full-length audition pieces of Rachel performing “On My Own” and Mercedes performing “Respect”.
- Fox Movie Channel Presents Casting Session – (11:58) The creators of “Glee” talk about how it was important to have a cast that can sing and dance. The creators and FOX execs also discuss how “Glee” became a television show.
- Deconstructing Glee with Ryan Murphy – (2:49) Ryan Murphy talks about “Glee” and how it’s different from other musicals. Classic songs being performed on the show and more.
- Dance Boot Camp – (3:12) Interview with choreographer Zach Woodlee about training the cast to learn their dance routines.
- Jane Lynch A to Glee – (:52) Jane Lynch talks about what the vowel “A” means to her.
- Meet Jane Lynch – (1:03) Jane Lynch talks about her character Sue.
- 5 Things you don’t know about Jayma – (:39) Know more about Jayma Mays.
- 7 Things you don’t know about Cory – (1:00) Know more about Cory Monteith.
- 6 Things you don’t know about Amber – (:58) Know more about Amber Riley.
- 7 Things you don’t know about Chris – (:41) Know more about Chris Colfer.
- Video Diaries – Video diaries for Jane Lynch, Lea Michele, Matthew Morrison, Cory Monteith, Kevin McHale, Amber Riley, Chris Colfer and Dianna Agron. The video diaries which last about 2-3 minutes long features each talent going to New York City and back to Los Angeles to promote the show.
- Glee Music Jukebox – This section allows people to view the musical portions of “Hell-O”, “The Power of Madonna”, “Home” and “Bad Reputation”.
- Glee Music Jukebox – This section allows people to view the musical portions of “Laryngitis”, “Dream On” and “Theatricality”.
- Glee Music Jukebox – This section allows people to view the musical portions of “Funk” and “Journey to Regionals”.
- Glee Sing-Along Karaoke – Karaoke portions for “Alone”, “Somebody to Love”, “Keep Holding On” and “Don’t Stop Believin;”.
- Staying in Step with Glee – (6:20) A featurette featuring Zach Woodlee (choreographer of “glee”) and Brooke Lipton (assistant choreographer) at the Tin Shed Dance Studio in Hollywood. The two show how to do choreography of Vocal Adrenaline.
- Bite Their Style: Dress Like Your Favorite Gleek – (8:53) Costume designer Lou Eyrich talks about the various clothing for each character.
- The Power of Madonna – (10:37) Crew and cast talk about doing the Madonna episode and how the songs were chosen, especially the making of the Sue Sylvester “Vogue” video and more.
- Making of a Showstopper – (17:22) Show creator Ryan Murphy and other crew members including Jonathan Groff talk about their thoughts on working on the “glee” finale and making the Vocal Adrenaline performance work and utilizing Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”.
“glee – The Complete First Season” comes with a slip cover case.
The first time I watched “Glee” was its pilot episode and thought it was pretty fun concept, especially with the popularity of musicals such as “High School Musical” but what I liked about “Glee” is that you have your average students and the members of Glee Club are pretty much the underdogs that are picked on by the jocks. It’s really interesting to see how the group dynamics start to evolve from the beginning to the 13th episode and by the second half, you can tell that the hiatus leading to the second half of the series and the popularity of the series definitely made the series get a boost in the types of music that can be utilized, better production value and the cast seem to gel much more.
And it’s no surprise as 2009-2010 have been incredible for the cast members and crew. From award nominations, the cast receiving love from a lot of television show critics and soundtracks that continue to sell incredibly well. “glee” also features solid writing that goes hand-in-hand with the awesome musical performances and for the most part, “glee – The Complete First Season” is a fantastic DVD set.
But what hooked me to the series was the music. Personally, I’m not a fan of covers but the fact that the people on the show can sing and for the most part, how the songs are incorporate to the storyline has definitely made me a weekly viewer of the series. Also, the talent can sing…Matthew Morrison, Leah Michele and Amber Riley do a great job but also for the writers to recognize that its not good that only a few characters receive the spotlight and diversifying the various musical performances to other characters as well, so they can showoff their vocals.
Also, it’s important to note that these characters are not perfect teens and not everyone bursts into song ala “High School Musical”. “Glee” is not a group of perfect teenagers, each of these characters have their faults but these characters are well fleshed out in the series that you actually care about these characters and each play their part in each episode. Will, a teacher and the director of the Glee Club deals with his marital strife with his wife, who is determined to make sure her husband doesn’t leave him. Quinn must deal with being a single mother, Mercedes deals with her weight, Artie deals with being in a wheel chair, Curt deals with how people look at him because he is homosexual and each characters has their own set of issues. It’s high school life and it’s great to see the students have their own set of issues, as well as the adults.
While the first season had a pretty interesting storyline with Will trying to get the glee club going and dealing with his wife, the second half of the series is where things get even more interesting in drama dynamics. Throw in Jesse St. James of Vocal Adrenaline, throw in Curt falling for Finn, Quinn having to deal with her pregnancy and finding friendship from a person she never expected to get close to, seeing things develop between Will and Emma and more. And of course, Sue Sylvester was absolutely wonderful this season. And as for the music, especially with the Madonna and Lady Gaga episodes, the music for the whole season was fantastic.
There is no doubt that “glee” is a series that now has a great budget to license these songs for television, CD and also for the DVD release and just by seeing the sheer amount of songs used on each episode, I’m sure that the music takes a big chomp out of the budget. But that is what makes “glee” work and that is the ability to use contemporary music (and classics) to attract listeners of young and old.
Also, by the second season, it looks as if the talent are more at ease and comfortable working with each other. The vocals are of the cast are much better, the chemistry between the characters are also well done (the interaction between Will and Sue is fantastic) and there is better use of the characters that like Santana and Brittany and also getting some of the other background characters involved as well.
For those who purchased “glee Season 1 Volume 1″ and intend to purchase “glee – The Complete First Season”. You can also get a $10 rebate by sending the proof of purchase that comes with this DVD set and also providing a mail-in form and a barcode from the first DVD release.
Overall, there are a good amount of special features on this DVD box set to keep Gleeks busy but for those who wonder what the hub-bub is all about and why the media is giving so much coverage to this series, check this DVD out and you’ll see what is so special about “glee”. It’s a series that is fun to watch, cool characters, solid performances and a series that has a fantastic soundtrack. “glee – The Complete First Season” is highly recommended!
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