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glee: The Complete Second Season (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

September 14, 2011 by  



“glee” season two had everything that one would instantly fall in love or become hooked on the series.  Fun, emotional and heartbreaking storylines but also seeing the writers do something different and meaningful on television and continuing the trend of featuring awesome music. “glee: The Complete Second Season” is highly recommended!

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Images courtesy of © 2010-2011 Twentieth Century Fox Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: glee: The Complete Second Season

TV SERIES RELEASE DATE: 2010-2011

DURATION: 22 episodes (1000 Minutes)

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (widescreen 1:78:1), English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish and French

COMPANY: Twentieth Century Fox

RELEASE DATE: September 13, 2011

Created by Ian Brennan, Brad Falchuk, Ryan Murphy

Directed by Brad Falchuk, Ryan Murphy, Bradley Buecker, Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, Eric Stoltz, Paris Barclay, Carol Banker

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, Kenneth J. Silverstein, Michael Novick

Associate Producer: Jennifer Morrison, Thomas Kuehl

Music by James S. Levine

Cinematography by Christopher Baffa

Edited by Bradley Buecker, Doc Crotzer, John Roberts, Fabienne Bouville, Joe Leonard

Casting by Eric Dawson, Carol Kritzer, Robert J. Ulrich

Production Design by Mark Hutman

Art Direction by Michael Rizzo

Set Decoration by Barbara Munch

Series Costume Design by Lou Evrich

Starring:

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 Santa Lopez

Heather Morris as Brittany

Iqbal Theba as Principal Figgins

Harry Shum Jr. as Mike Chang

Mike O’Malley as Burt Hummel

Darren Criss as Blaine Anderson

Chord Overstreet as Sam Evans

Ashley Fink as Lauren Zizes

Lauren Potter as Becky Jackson

Dijon Talton as Matt Rutherford

Max Adler as Dave Karofsky

Josh Sussman as Jacob Ben Israel

James Earl as Azimio

Dot Jones as Shannon Beiste

Lamarcus Tinker as Marcus

Jonathan Groff as Jesse St. James

Bill A. Jones as Rod Remington

Stephen Tobolowsky as Sandy Ryerson

Gwynneth Paltrow as Holly Holiday

Kristen Chenoweth as April Rhodes

Charlotte Ross as Judy Fabray

John Stamos as Dr. Carl Howell

Charice as Sunshine Corazon

GLEE is a biting musical comedy about a group of eager and ambitious students who strive to outshine their singing competition to win Nationals while navigating the cruel halls of McKinley High. A pop-culture phenomenon, GLEE boasts critical acclaim, a loyal fan base of “GLEEks,” two Platinum and two Gold albums, more than 29 million song downloads, the record for the most titles on the Billboard Hot 100 by a non-solo act (beating out Elvis Presley, James Brown and The Beatles), an incredible 19 Emmy nominations – earning it the distinction of being the most-nominated series of the year – and four Emmy Awards. To top it off, the genre-defying, award-winning series has been picked up through its third season.

Exciting, fun and a definite step-up from the first season, “glee” is a fantastic series, breaking boundaries and trying to accomplish something new with each episode!

Last season, there was a lot of hype behind the teen musical/comedy/drama series “Glee” and for some series, season two can either substantiate a series popularity or prove it was just a fluke.  Fortunately for “glee”, not only did the series prove that it is one of the best series on television, we also got to see producers and creators of the series experiment with different themes, more music and most of all, giving the characters much more to work with and to let them showcase their talent.

The series is 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 worldwide that several soundtracks have been released and have been hits on various worldwide album charts and in 2011, winner of multiple awards and even earned 12 Emmy Award nominations, as well as earning a Golden Globe Award for Chris Colfer (Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television) and Jane Lynch (Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television) as well as earning an award for “Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy”.

“Glee” 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.

In Season 1, the Glee Club known as “New Directions!” made it to the regionals (and came in last place).  But this time it’s a new year, and season two brings new members and the Glee club will do what it can to make it to the regionals and the final national competition in New York City.

Also, new relationships as Will tries to get closer to Emma (who may have chosen another man), Finn and Rachel have their ups and downs, Santana and Brittany have their ups and downs, Kurt finds love at a new school and Artie finds new love!

Meanwhile, what happens when Rachel finds a rival with a good voice at her school?  What happens when Artie wants to join the football team?  What happens when the football team gets a female head coach and how will Will react when Sue gives a big announcement of a new group that she will be responsible for?

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 is dating 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.  Once dated the cheerleader Quinn and now dating Rachel.
  • Quinn Fabray (played by Dianna Agron, “Heroes”) –  The former head of the Cheerios (cheerleading squad) and now a member of the Glee club and is dating Sam Evans.
  • Mercedes Jones (played by Amber Riley) – The talented singer of Glee Club who hates being second fiddle to Rachel.  She and Kurt are good friends.
  • Kurt Hummel (played by Chris Colfer) – A gay student who is picked on because he of his flamboyant style.  Because of bullying at his school, he attends a private school where he falls for Blaine Anderson.
  • Noah “Puck” Puckerman (played by Mark Salling) – Finn’s  former best friend and a teammate on the football team.  He starts to like the tough Lauren Zizes.
  • Artie Adams (played by Kevin McHale, “Zoey 101″, “True Blood) – A guitarist and also a paraplegic.  He is dating cheerleader Brittany Pierce.
  • Tina Cohen-Chang (played by Jenna Uskowitz) – The shy member of the Glee Club who was once dating Artie but now in a relationship with Mike Chang.
  • Santana Lopez (played by Naya Rivera) – A member of the Cheerios and the Glee Club.  Very blunt and has a crush on Brittany.
  • 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.  But now a key member of the Glee club and is dating Artie.  She also had a relationship with Santana.
  • Mike Chang (played by Harry Shum, Jr., “Step Up” films) – The dancer who is dating Tina.
  • Sam Evans (played by Chord Overstreet, “Private”, “The Hole”) – A football player who joins the group and starts dating Quinn.
  • Lauren Zizes (played by Ashley Fink, “You Again”, “Fat Girls”) – The tough girl who becomes the attraction of Puck.

Other main characters of “Glee” include:

  • Will Schuester (played by Matthew Morrison, “Music and Lyrics”, “Dan in Real Life”) – A Spanish teacher and the glee director.  Was married to Terri until she faked her pregnancy, has dated Emma Pillsbury.
  • Sue Sylvester (played by Jane Lynch, “the 40-Year-Old Virgin”, “Talladega Nights”, “Role Models”) – The crude Head Coach of the Cheerios who becomes Will Schuester’s nemesis/frienemy.
  • Emma Pillsbury (played by Jayma Mays, “Heroes”, “Ugly Betty”) – The guidance counselor who is attracted to Will but because of their uncertain relationship, she has married a Dr. Carl Howell.
  • Terri Schuester (played by Jessalyn Gilsig, “Heroes”) – Divorced to Will Schuester.  Dumped after lying about her pregnancy.  She loves Will and would like to win his trust again.
  • Principal Figgins (played by Iqbal Theba) – The fair principal who tends to listen to Glee Club director Will Schuester and Cheerios Head Coach Susan Sylvester going at each other’s throats but trying to make sure there is decorum.
  • Shannon Beiste (played by Dot Jones, “Material Girls”, “The Boondock Saints”, “Patch Adams”) – The new coach of the McKinley High School football team.
  • Becky Jackson (played by Lauren Potter) – Sue Sylvester’s assistant who reports to her if anything goes wrong in school.
  • Blaine Anderson (played by Darren Criss, “Eastwick”) – Attends the private school that Kurt is attending and both become close friends.
  • Burt Hummel (played by Mike O’Malley, “Yes, Dear”, “Eat Pray Love”, “The Perfect Man”) – Kurt’s father who cares about his son, gay or not gay, he is there for him.  He marries Finn’s mother.

 

“Glee: The Complete Second Season” features 22 episodes on four Blu-ray discs.  Here is a spoilerless summary of each episode:

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 23 – Audition – What happens when Rachel finds a rival in a student named Sunshine Corazon (played by Charice) who also has a great voice?
  • EPISODE 24 – Britney/Brittany – What happens when Brittany S. Pierce has to go to the dentist and while under sedation, starts dreaming that she is performing Britney Spears songs.
  • EPISODE 25 – Grilled Cheesus – What happens when Finn sees the face of Jesus on his grilled cheese sandwhich.  Burt has a heart attack.
  • EPISODE 26 – Duets – Sam joins New Directions and is teamed up with Quinn during the duet competition for Glee Club.
  • EPISODE 27 – The Rocky Horror Glee Show – What happens when the New Directions put on a Rocky Horror Picture Show performance?
  • EPISODE 28 – Never Been Kissed – It’s a Boys vs. Girls mash-up competition.  Meanwhile, Kurt is being bullied by a football player.

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 29 – The Substitute – When Will becomes ill, substitute teacher Holly Holiday comes to replace him temporarily.  Meanwhile, Sue becomes the temporary principal.
  • EPISODE 30 – Furt – Sue’s Nazi-hunting mother Doris (played by Carol Burnett) comes for a visit, meanwhile Finn and Kurt deal with their parents engagement.
  • EPISODE 31 – Special Education – With Kurt going to another school, New Directions! brings in Lauren to join them.  And it’s time for Sectionals, meanwhile one of the couples breakup.
  • EPISODE 32 – A Very Glee Christmas – Still reeling after the breakup, Rachel tries to make peace with Finn. Meanwhile, the faculty hold a Secret Santa gift exchange.
  • EPISODE 33 – The Sue Sylvester Shuffle – With McKinley High’s football championship taking place, the football coach makes the team join the Glee club for a special half-time performance.
  • EPISODE 34 – Silly Love Songs – Will assigns the Glee club an assignment for them to perform a Valentine’s Day song.

DISC 3:

  • EPISODE 35 – Comeback – Brittany tries to make Rachel more sociable.  Meanwhile, Sam forms a Bieber tribute band.
  • EPISODE 36 – Blame it on the Alcohol – As Principal Figgins wants to teach the student body about the danger of underage drinking, the Glee club gets drunk during a party.
  • EPISODE 37 – Sexy – Holly Holiday is back as a substitute sex education teacher.
  • EPISODE 38 – Original Song – New Directions compete against Kurt and the Dalton Academy Warblers and Aural Intensity at Regionals.
  • EPISODE 39 – A Night of Neglect – The Glee Club perform songs from artists they feel are neglected.

DISC 4:

  • EPISODE 40 – Born This Way – Santana blackmails Karofsky into starting an anti-bullying club in order to bring Kurt back to McKinley High School.
  • EPISODE 41 – Rumours – Sue revives the school newspaper “The Muckraker” and prints things about the Glee club in order to cause problems between them.
  • EPISODE 42 – Prom Queen – The competition for prom queen heats up.  Who wins prom king and queen?
  • EPISODE 43 – Funeral – It’s almost time for the Nationals and Will brings in Jesse to give advice to the New Directions.
  • EPISODE 44 – New York – Season Finale.  The New Directions perform in New York City for the National Show Choir Championship.

VIDEO:

“glee – The Complete Second Season” is presented in 1080p High Definition.  First, the good.  The good is that compared to watching it on HD via satellite, the picture quality is much clearer as details can be seen.  Especially in close-ups of the characters.  Colors are much more vibrant and for the most part, picture quality is very good.  The bad news is that you will see compression artifacts show up during episodes with a lot of red or a lot of blue lighting.

Fortunately, this is only done only a few times throughout the second season, most notably when the group performs “Blame it on the Alcohol?”, that is where you see it the most.  So, I wish that they fit four episodes per Blu-ray disc as opposed to five or six episodes on four Blu-ray discs in order to maximize the video for the entire Blu-ray disc on five Blu-ray discs.

But still, compared to having watched in on HD television, the Blu-ray picture quality is very good and fans of the series who want to experience the show in the best quality as possible, will definitely want to watch “glee” on Blu-ray!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“glee: The Complete Second Season” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio.  And for me, the biggest difference compared to watching it on television is hearing how the music is utilized via lossless audio through the surround channels.  Dialogue and music is clear coming from the center and front channels but through the surround channels, you can hear how certain instruments and vocals are utilized and definitely makes the music sound really awesome.  So, for example, a song such as “Singing in the Rain/My Umbrella”, the surround channels are also utilized for the bass drum.  So, the music really makes for an immersive soundtrack and definitely makes the special feature “Glee Music Jukebox” worth using and making the music worth listening to over and over via lossless!

Subtitles are in English SDH and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“glee: The Complete Second Season” comes with the following special features:

DISC 1:

  • Glee Music Jukebox – The isolated music portions of each episode.  Each song for an episode featured on that disc is featured individually, so you can easily select the song without having to search for it during an episode.
  • The Making of the Rocky Horror Glee Show – (8:47) Cast and crew discuss their role on the Rocky Horror Glee Show and their thoughts of performing the music and the outfits they wear.
  • Exclusive Bonus Song: Plante, Schanet, Janet -(1:11) Bonus clip from the “Rocky Horror Glee Show” episode.

DISC 2:

  • Glee Music Jukebox – The isolated music portions of each episode.  Each song for an episode featured on that disc is featured individually, so you can easily select the song without having to search for it during an episode.

DISC 3:

  • Glee Music Jukebox – The isolated music portions of each episode.  Each song for an episode featured on that disc is featured individually, so you can easily select the song without having to search for it during an episode.

DISC 4:

  • Glee Music Jukebox – The isolated music portions of each episode.  Each song for an episode featured on that disc is featured individually, so you can easily select the song without having to search for it during an episode.
  • Building Glee’s Auditorium – (5:31) Cory Monteith gives a tour of the newly built auditorium at Stage 16 on the Paramount lot and we meet Barbara Much (Set Decorator) and Mark Hutman (Production Designer).
  • A Day in the Life of Brittany – (5:45) Heather Morris in character of Brittany giving a tour of what she does during a day of shooting on “glee”.
  • Shooting Glee in New York City – (10:31) A look at the excitement by the cast and the fans during the shooting of the season finale in New York City.
  • Guesting on Glee – (8:06) Interviews with season two guests of “Glee”: Katie Couric, Carol Burnett, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cheyenne Jackson, Charice, Kristen Chenoweth, John Stamos and Jonathan Groff.
  • Stevie Nicks Goes Glee – (3:34) Stevie Nicks visits the set of “glee” and meeting with the cast.
  • Sue’s Quips – (2:15) A collection of Sue Sylvester’s quips from season two.
  • Santana’s Slams – (2:51) A collection of Santana’s slams from season two.
  • The Wit of Brittany – (2:20) A collection of Britney’s comments from season two.
  • Getting Waxed with Jane Lynch – (6:08) What went into the making of the Madame Tussaud’s Jane Lynch wax character and the unveiling.
  • Glee at Comic-Con 2010 – (14:54) Q&A with the cast of Glee and show creators at San Diego Comic-Con 2010.

EXTRAS:

“glee: The Complete Second Season” comes with a slip over cover case.

When I began watching the second season of “glee”, there were a lot of awesome moments during the series and I was quick to proclaim that “glee” season two was magnificent.

I felt the series started quite strong during its first half as we had the opportunity to see the rivalry between Rachel and Sunshine Corazon (who I thought was going to become a cast member and something I was actually quite excited about), the Britney/Brittany episode was fantastic which prompted me to blog about the episode right after I watched it and wrote:

Not sure how you all felt but last night’s episode of “GLEE” was awesome! I definitely want more Brittany and Santana!!! Both Heather Morris and Naya Rivera did a fantastic job on the choreography especially for “Me Against the Music”. Morris tore it up on “I’m a Slave 4 U”.

I’m sure Morris was being modest when she told New York Magazine, “We saw it on Friday, with the whole cast and crew saying they liked the Madonna episode better than Britney. But to me they’re so different. My character’s quirky, so the episode has more comedic stuff; it’s more of a funny episode. I thought it was hysterical. ”

This episode was waaaaay better than the Madonna episode.

My feeling at the time was that the writers were smart in bringing in new characters such as Sam, establishing the Sam and Quinn storyline, the Coach Beiste storyline was emotional but also seeing how the Kurt/Blaine storyline would resonate strongly among viewers.  There were so many things that the writers were doing right for the first half of the series and then the series continued with awesome episodes as we had the emotional “Grilled Cheesus” episode with Kurt’s father suffering a heart attack, the awesome “Rocky Horror Glee Show”, the episodes featuring Gwyneth Paltrow and then the fantastic Glee Christmas episode “A Very Glee Christmas”.

And if there was a major improvement, it was the amount of music that was featured in season two and also to see original music being featured as well.    In fact, what really hooked me to the series, especially season two 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, to find out that “glee” now holds the record for 113 single entries on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.  For a TV series to have that much impact, that is quite phenomenal.

Also, “glee” is not a series about 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 losing a person he may have loved but has went to another man.  And the honest feelings that people have in high school and the usual drama enhanced several times to make things seem so much worse than it is.  It’s high school life well-covered.

So, far I found the music to really be pretty fun and enjoyable.  The series has strong talents especially with the voices of Leah Michele and Amber Riley and Glee cast jams are pretty fun to listen to as well.   But I have to admit that with season two, the two that captured my attention were Heather Morris (Brittany) and Naya Rivera (Santana).  I loved how the writers started to use these two much more and when Naya Rivera and Amber Riley are paired up together, wow… what a wonderful musical pair!

But while I loved the majority of the episodes of “Glee”, I started to realize that the writers were drawing a blank with some of their newer characters.  Sam who started out strong, became a character that started to fade obscurity and that is sad because he could sing (even sadder is that he is not a returning character for season three). But when he was paired with Quinn, they were able to utilize both he and also Dianna Agron much more to their own storyline but break them up and writers tried to pair Sam with other members and it didn’t work at all.

Then you have Mark Salling who plays the character of “Puck”.  He was rarely used and when he was, it was for him trying to go after Lauren Zizes, and while it is an interesting concept to try something different with relationships, this is one couple that I can not picture in my mind, chemistry-wise.  If anything, instead of using Lauren’s character more towards the budding relationship storyline, there was so much more she could have been used for and she also seems to have lost her regular character status for season three.

A major plus was the casting of  Darren Criss (Blaine Anderson) for “glee”.  I was shocked like everyone when his Warbler rendition of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” became a big hit on iTunes, doing better than any of the other songs by any “glee” cast member and no doubt that the Kurt/Blaine storyline has become very popular this past season.

Fortunately, I did like how writers did manage to work things out with Finn and Rachel but the off-and-on status of their relationship can easily grow old.   While I did like the Tina and Mike couple flourishing, I’m still undecided with Artie and Brittany but I did like how the writers worked the Santana/Brittany storyline mid-season and towards the end.

So, while I enjoyed season two a lot, I felt there was some stumbling as the season neared the end.  Mainly character utilization but everything else seemed to work out great.  Gwyneth Paltrow and John Stamos were wonderful additions to this latest season and it would be great to see Neil Patrick Harris make a return.

And with season three coming soon, suffice to say, some fans were shocked with the announcement that characters such as Rachel, Finn and Kurt will be graduating but I do understand Ryan Murphy’s decision as he wants to capture the realistic high school life and the last thing anyone wants to see is a character staying in high school for too long.  You’re going to have to say goodbye to characters and say hello to new characters, so it will be interesting to see what Murphy has planned for the 2011-2012 season.   But it appears that the “Graduation” may or may not happen. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

“glee” season two had everything that one would instantly fall in love or become hooked on the series.   Featuring fun, emotional and heartbreaking storylines but also seeing the writers do something different and meaningful on television and continuing the trend of featuring awesome music  (makes you wonder how much is spent per episode for licensing the music).

As for the Blu-ray release, “glee: The Complete Second Season” is definitely an improvement over its HD broadcast but I wish that the episodes were broken down to four per disc to allow for better video for those of us who are picky about picture quality on Blu-ray but still, the picture quality is very good and the lossless audio is fantastic!  Also, I enjoyed the number of special features included but it would be great to have audio commentary for the next Blu-ray release.

“glee: The Complete Second Season” is highly recommended!

 

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