Monday, May 18, 2009

'Glee' review - Sepinwall on TV

In today's column, I review Fox's "Glee," which I wasn't a big fan of. Beyond the fact that I'm not exactly the target demo, it also reminded me too much of aspects of Ryan Murphy's other shows ("Nip/Tuck," "Popular") that I tired of quickly. Your mileage may, of course, vary.

20 comments:

Byron Hauck said...

Is there a word to describe that extra, like, whine, in Broadway actress's singing voices? I find it utterly intolerable, and the female lead here seems to have it in spades.

Anonymous said...

I'm so excited about Matt Morrison and Lea Michele on a tv show about singing. I really want to like this. I hope it is fun.

Asta said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Alan Sepinwall said...

Asta, that comment probably went too far into spoiler territory. I appreciate the commentary, but let's keep things vague until after it airs.

Anonymous said...

It's a Ryan Murphy show. So that means it'll be great the first season before going completely off the deep end by the second season. Oh well. I am sort of curious to check the show out, but one of my biggest television pet peeves is the episode ending musical montage and I have a feeling this show will be full of them. I'm also a little amused by the casting of Jessalyn Gilsig since a lot of the commercials remind me of Boston Public (which was also no stranger to musical montages and general whackiness.)

Not sure what to think about the strategy of launching the show now before bringing it back this fall. American Idol seems like a compatible lead-in and I can see the premiere doing well, but isn't this the season where basically every new show last year that went off the air until the next fall because of the strike got canceled? It's one thing to ask viewers to wait months for a show they're already invested in, but for something brand new? Seems pretty risky.

Art Fleming said...

Interesting! That show seems to be a bit divisive, a lot of other people seem to relly like it.

olucy said...

@Anonymous -- I understand what you're saying about the strike, but I think what hurt those shows was that they had to pick up where they left off, and the extracted break hurt the momentum of ongoing storylines.

I'm assuming that Fox is using this pilot airing as a test, but that they intend to re-air it in the fall, thus not really hurting the show's momentum.

dfleishman said...

Alan, according to this LA times article--

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-ca-glee26-2009apr26,0,7366573.story

"Fox will sell the episode on iTunes all summer and a different version of the pilot will air as the series premiere in the fall."

So maybe they will take criticism about this pilot and air a better version in the fall? It might be worth checking it out again then.

Anonymous said...

Alan, could let us know if Glee is to be considered family-friendly? Is it more AI and less FNL?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Alan, could let us know if Glee is to be considered family-friendly? Is it more AI and less FNL?

It seemed surprisingly tame to me, given Ryan Murphy's pedigree. Obviously, there's some verbal bullying from the jocks and the cheerleaders, and there's a suggestion (though the episode makes it ambiguous) that a gay teacher was a little too friendly with his male students, but compared to a lot of primetime TV, there wasn't a lot I'd object to showing to my daughter if she were a few years older and actually interested in stuff not explicitly made for kids.

That may change in ensuing episodes, but the pilot seemed pretty mild.

pgillan said...

I don't know if it's the marketing, or the trailer, or the subject matter, but I have trouble imagining a show I'd be less interested in seeing. I'm not even sure what a Glee club is, but I gather it's just the "musical" part of "musical theater." Isn't that, you know, awful? And the trailer, with the dialogue audio running over a bed of showtunes music, and the occasional jump cuts of people dancing, puts me way, way off. I thought this might be one of those situations where the show has a completely different vibe than the advertising suggested (a la Castle or The Unusuals), but your review seems to suggest that it's exactly what it appears to be.

Linda said...

I think it's definitely true that people who find big musical numbers "awful," the show is not going to be for you. But there are actually people who really dig that kind of thing, including me, so I'll be watching it.

"And the trailer, with the dialogue audio running over a bed of showtunes music, and the occasional jump cuts of people dancing, puts me way, way off."

If we're talking about the same trailers, those aren't showtunes.

pgillan said...

"I think it's definitely true that people who find big musical numbers "awful," the show is not going to be for you. But there are actually people who really dig that kind of thing, including me, so I'll be watching it."

'Awful' was probably too strong a word, and I apologize for the offense. Let's just go with 'not my cup of tea.'

As for my misuse of the word 'showtunes', I meant something that sounded "stagey", like a choir or a choral arrangement. I may even be completely misremembering the commercials- after a I saw them once or twice, I started actively avoiding them.

Z said...

I find my tastes usually line up with Alan, but not this time. I got the pilot screener last week and ended up watching it 3 times, and everybody I've viewed it with has loved it. I can't stand most musicals, but by operating under the "nobody burts into song" rule and spot-on casting, GLEE exceeded my expectations. The dialogue hits those "aspirational" network notes a little too hard in places, but I'd encourage fellow non-music loving TV watchers to give it a try. It sticks with you. For what it's worth, I loved early Nip/Tuck but think it's gone off the rails, and Murphy's last pilot, PRETTY HANDSOME, was one of the worst things I've ever watched.

maura said...

I despise musicals, and I'm not a big fan of huge, showstopping numbers, but I'm really looking forward to this show. It looks like a whole bunch of fun. I'm keeping my mind open.

Todd said...

I was deeply suspicious of this at the start, but it really wore down my defenses and wormed its way into my good taste. There are bad elements here, and I could see where they would take over the show, but the pilot feels like Murphy (or perhaps his co-creators?) is going to try his best to restrain his own worst impulses.

I should also point out that I HATE camp as a tone. I had to ditch Desperate Housewives after half a season, and I only hung on with Ugly Betty for so long because some of the performances were excellent. I've also mostly disliked Murphy's other stuff.

Hyde said...

@Linda: I think it's definitely true that people who find big musical numbers "awful," the show is not going to be for you. But there are actually people who really dig that kind of thing, including me, so I'll be watching it: Not to act as a spoiler, but it does appear the show is aiming to be more about the high school experience with a concentration on these glee club kids. So in the same way non-sports fans can and do appreciate Friday Night Lights, I think Glee could get viewers who aren't necessarily into the music.

Keeping things vague as requested by Alan: There were things I liked about the pilot (I've had a crush on Jayma Mays since her one episode of Heroes, so I was pleased to see her here), most notably its overall tone. But there were danger signs too, and I share Alan's general skepticism about the Ryan Murphy track record. Thinking about a past high school show, Boston Public started out decently, and then became a David E. Kelley show, with all that negatively implies.

Kelly said...

Not a big fan of?

But Alan... it's got singing, and Journey...and Jane Lynch. Jane Lynch!

If loving singing, Journey and Jane Lynch is wrong.. I don't want to be right.

Also, Alan - if you say you don't love Jane Lynch, my non-threatening crush on you/dream that we will someday meet and watch an entire episode of Lost together will be destroyed. Do you want to be responsible for the death of that dream?

Word verification - persol. "When one becomes too persistently personal on Alan's blog and he's forced to ban them."

Luckily, I'm not persistent enough yet.

Mike said...

The pilot was kind of the complete opposite of the Joss Whedon style where the first six episodes are basically the pilot. Here it seems like we have gone through about a season's worth of storyline arcs in one hour.

Anonymous said...

Mike, I don't think you're right about Joss Whedon shows at all. He just gives the story time to grow. The pilot for Firefly (the real one) set out all the groundwork for the show. Everything we needed to know about Dollhouse was made pretty clear by the second episode (I actually thought it would have made a better pilot)

As for Glee, it was far too jolty. It seemed weeks had passed in just 45 minutes time. That didn't bother me too much, because it was quite possibly filled with more cliches than I have ever seen on any TV show, so there was really nothing new here. Besides the good acting, great music and a few funny one-liners (mostly from Jane Lynch), I thought the pilot was bland.

I'm really getting tired of the Cheerleader/Jock cliche. Kids THAT good would not be ostracized. And really... who abuses kids in a wheelchair? Does that actually happen?

The show has potential, if it stops emphasizing everything about it that makes it bland.