Tonight's new TV includes the season premiere of "America's Next Top Model," the start of a new season of "So You Can Think You Can Dance" (hot on the heels of the previous season, as the show leaps from summer airings to a fall slot) and my biggie, the beginning of new episodes of "Glee." I have said just about everything I can to get you to watch, so after the jump I am reprising my column from a little over a week ago, just before Fox began several replays of the pilot.
Ready for more Glee?
The charming musical comedy about the people in and around a glee club at a fictional high school in Lima, Ohio, gave audiences a glimpse of what was to come last spring when Fox televised the pilot. It was then available online in a variety of places [and replayed several times before Labor Day] ...
If all that -- not to mention the Glee mall tour promoting the show -- indicates that Fox believes in this show in a big way, well, it should. It is tuneful, thoughtful and terrific, even if what it calls a glee club looks more like show choirs around here.
In addition to the pilot, I have seen two episodes, and they're all good, blending music from classic rock to Kanye West and Beyonce with often touching story lines and some big laughs.
It has the occasional odd moment; there's one story line that may go too far toward the soap-opera-absurd. And it leans increasingly in those episodes on cheerleading-team coach Sue Sylvester, a rival of the glee club. While Jane Lynch, who plays Sue, is an excellent comedic actress, the show gets a little out of balance when it looks too hard for new ways to get Sue onscreen.
Also, if you're going to be so bold as to have the glee club singing West's Gold Digger, then cutting the n-word from the lyrics is playing it too safe. Especially for Glee, which is far more often about taking risks.
And I very much like the show, across all three episodes. The integration of music into the program is very well done, whether used as a companion to the action or simply as a fun interlude. The large, mostly young cast is full of interesting personalities, but the adults get their screen time, too.
Comparisons to High School Musical are inevitable, I suppose, but really unnecessary. I'd more quickly point to its roots in Popular, the high school comedy also from Glee creator Ryan Murphy. And Glee is a much richer piece, quite able to stand -- and sing, and dance -- on its own.