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VINE VOICEon 12 April 2010
This shouldn't work. But it does.

I shouldn't like it. But I do.

Why? Because, against all the odds, it works. Brilliantly. Stay with me and I'll see if I can work out why this tv series manage to appeal to such a mass and wide-ranging audience. Musically alone, it manages to appeal to those who like show tunes to those who like The Blues and rough-edge Rock (me). But I'm getting ahead of myself.

First off, the cast and their roles. I'm not going to mention all of them -and they are all good- but the key cast (and a personal favourite).

As Mr Schue, the leader of Glee Club, Matthew Morrison, an experienced Broadway musicals singer/actor, possesses a rumpled but appealing face well suited to both comedy and drama and he anchors the show to perfection. He's also a skilled adaptable singer who's received some criticism for his rap and what passes these for r'n'b but sounds just fine to me, who can't stand either, and manages to make them listenable.

The production team must have fallen on their knees to praise the Gods of Showbusiness when Lea Michele not only auditioned by accepted the role of Rachel. Michele herself has already attained the status that Rachel aspires to of being a young star of Broadway. She is a gifted light comedy actress and an absolutely stunning singer who could well end up being one of the greats, up there with Streisand and Minelli, only more appealing.

Corey Monteith completes the core triad as Finn, the Tim-nice-but-dim jock with a heart of gold. Like Morrison and Michele, he acts well and sings well and is completely convincing. The likeability of Finn is one of the show's great strengths.

Lesbian icon Jane Lynch is great as the villain, the utterly self-centred unfeeling ruthless enemy of Mr Schue. Chris Colfer is a star in the making for the dignity he displays as the effeminate Kurt, also a great singer. Jessica Gilsig as Mr Schue's wife is so appallingly horrible that I want her to die a slow agonising death every time she's on screen. She's counterpointed by Jayma Mays as the adorable obsessive school counsellor Emma. Lastly (if I tried to mention them all and why they're so good, we'd be here all night -sorry if I've left out your favourite) is Heather Morris as Brittany, a character so dumb she makes Finn look like Einstein. Morris doesn't get much dialogue but she makes the most of it and she has the series' most jaw-dropping line but you have to be on the ball to catch it. Hopefully she'll be featured more in the future.

Okay. so we've got a great cast and strong characters and, let's face it, you probably already know them yourselves. You also know the setup. An idealistic teacher restarts a high school Glee Club ending up with an uneasy mix of outsiders, jocks, and cheerleaders who all have problems whether it's one group being bullied by the other or by having to live up to high expectations, etc. But what they all have is talent and here's where the musical side of things come in. Again, the show's musical director (and creator) gets it just right with a blend of show tunes, pop songs, and a mix of other contemporary genres, which are often reworked for harmonies, which the cast excel in, and manages to give them an appeal beyond their normal audience (see above; you can find my favourites in the my reviews of the two CDs, but I'll just mention Jenna Uskowitz's lovely rendition of 'True Colours'). The songs themselves are deliberately chosen as a means of making a comment on either a character or plot development.

Add some snappy dance routines which are just about convincing as being within the abilities of people other than professional dancers and you have a great show. The musical numbers are supposedly all performed within the context of the club itself (i.e. the cast don't suddenly break into song and dance along school corridors, etc) but there are a couple of cheats as when Mercedes has a fantasy number (and a great one it is too) after she deliberately breaks the window of Kurt's car and starts singing 'Broke Your Window' and goes into a dance routine with the cheerleaders, as you do.

The writing is as sharp as a razor with strong subplots and snappy dialogue. And this is where I finally mention the elephant in the room which I've been ignoring so far. Glee is outrageously funny and it makes me laugh out loud several times an episode. It's one of the funniest shows I've ever seen and is the only comedy show I faithfully follow except for The Big Bang Theory. But it's also more than that. It's also a drama and it touches on real problems such as bullying, schoolgirl pregnancy, homophobia, marital discord, etc, but it does so by seamlessly blending the different aspects.

On a technical level, it's also excellent. The editing is simply masterful and no scene goes on a second too long. Also the recap at the beginning of each show, often a pain for regular viewers to sit through, is brilliant as the narrator hilariously races through key points in a matter of seconds.

The extras and the only sour note in this review. Most of them are brief publicity pieces lacking any kind of depth. The first four are watchable but skip the rest; believe me, you aren't missing anything. Big disappointment as I was hoping for some detail about how the show was put together.

Finally what makes this into a show that will live long in memory is the seamless way it manages to blend every element together without showing the slightest join. It's an unlikely show to be successful but then so was Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Glee, in its own way, is just as good as Buffy and that is one hell of an achievement. Glee, while an appropriate title, could also be called something else, an emotion that it brings to the viewer.

Glee is a total and complete joy.
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on 22 April 2010
I bought this as a total newcomer to the show, I had missed all but one episode on tv but thought I would check out why there was so much hype around it, despite it not being my usual kind of thing .
I normally watch programmes like The X files , True Blood and Fringe so didn't have much expectation, I do however love musicals, but more so the older ones like The sound of Music and Singin' in the rain, I can't stand High School Musical and thought this might just be a drawn out version of that.
To my surprise I was hooked from the first episode and watched the whole lot in one go.
I think the balance of the drama of the characters lives , the comedy (which comes mainly from the character of Sue Sylvester) and the fun of the musical numbers makes this show something that anyone can enjoy.
I would advise anyone to give this a go and I'm pretty sure you'll soon be as addicted as I am.
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on 31 July 2011
While Glee is not for everyone, if you are a fan of the sort of innocent, cheesy fun that movies like Hairspray brought back, then glee will be perfect for you. This first volume represents the better half of the first season, before the show got a little carried away trying to make points and end the story happily, rather than creating a drama (Guess what Glee-writers, making a straight teenage boy get undressed in front of a gay kid everyday would make pretty much any kid start shouting!).

If you are into this kind of awesome cheesiness, you can't go wrong with Glee at all and this volume (Or the later sets which include both volumes) are definitely the place to start, as if you don't like this you DEFINITELY won't like volume 2...
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on 9 February 2015
introduction to Glee - its fun, got singing and dancing and lots of great story lines and devloping characters - a bit like a present day extended version of Grease
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on 19 August 2013
Glee is brilliant! The cast are phenomenal, the songs are great, and the story makes you want to find out what happens next too! Once you've watched the series through once properly it's a great show to put on in the background when you're doing other jobs, so it's definitely worth getting the DVD!
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on 2 June 2010
Love it, i watched this while it was on tv and had to get it when it was available. one thing that i really love about this show is just how amazingly talented Lea Michelle is, that voice is incredible it moves me. the series as a whole is just wonderful these extremely talented students are shunned by the rest of their school because they actually have talent no but because these kids are singing not playing american football or cheerleading it sucks but on the bright side its just a show and its fantastic.
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on 10 August 2016
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on 12 June 2010
I am always looking for good tv series on dvd. I heard this one was a big hit in the US. So I figured I would give it a try. What harm could it do, right? It starts out innocently enough. The first 2 or 3 episodes you get to know the characters a little, the music is good and the whole experience leaves you with a smile on your face. But by episode 4 I was totally hooked. And now I have to wait till September for Part 2? Not fair :-( So be warned.
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on 22 August 2010
I brought this for my son's 13th birthday. This is what he thought. There are alot of special features such as the filming of the auditions process and video of the different actors. It wasn't a disappointment.
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on 15 October 2015
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