This line, delivered with haughty tone and dramatic storm-out-of-a-room flair by choir (gold!) star Rachel Berry, aptly sums up why Glee has struck a chord (owning that pun) and is firmly at the top of my Must Watch list for the 2009 season. Equal parts musical, absurd comedy, underdogs-realizing-their-potential and coming-of-age high school stories, the mantra of the show is all about, as the definition of “glee” shown in the pilot states, opening yourself up to joy.
And what a joy it is. This is a show that deftly moves between campy (the use of a glee club sung instrumental score – “Flight of the Bumblebee” is especially amazing), wrongly hilarious (just after Rachel finishes narrating her many self-proclaimed exceptional accomplishments she gets a “drive by” slushie to the face) and sincere (embodied by protagonist teacher Will Schuester), and is instantly quotable, particularly anything coming from Jane Lynch (“You think that’s hard? Try being waterboarded, that’s hard!”) as coach of winning cheer squad the Cheerios and nemesis to our intrepid group of songsters. Most importantly it’s a show that cares enough to make its high school characters, most of which at first glance seem cherry-picked from the cliched outcast student roster – a big, sassy diva; the effeminate boy obsessed with fashion; an over-achieving prissy girl; the kid in a wheelchair – actually show signs of depth and potential for more than what they appear. There are moments where I cringed one second and felt endeared the next when introduced to each member of the ragtag group of singing misfits.
Originally premiering the pilot episode after the season finale of American Idol in May (a brilliant move with its core audience being amongst the rabid viewers to one of the biggest nights on television), I was worried that Glee would soon be forgotten, considering the next episode wasn’t set to air for another three months. However, FOX really surprised (and won major points with me, someone still smarting from un-nurtured, gone-before-their-time FOX shows like Arrested Development, Firefly and Wonderfalls) by deciding to heavily advertise throughout the summer, offer songs and videos from the show on iTunes and build a strong interwebs presence. Not stopping there, we’re also getting two encore presentations of the pilot this week, with a special Director’s Cut and a “tweet-peat” (Twitter synergized) episode. With Glee‘s official new episode return set for next week, Wednesday September 9th at 9/8c, it now stands as the most highly-anticipated and talked-about new show this Fall.
Cashing in on the powers of social networking juggernaut Twitter, FOX will be giving repeats a 21st century face-lift. Dubbed “tweet-peats” the network will be airing an encore presentation of last season’s penultimate episode of Fringe on Thursday, September 3rd at 9/8c with producers joining stars Joshua Jackson and John Noble. The following night at 9/8c they will re-air the Glee pilot, which had a preview screening in May after the American Idol season finale, with cast members Kevin McHale and Lea Michele among others.
The “tweet-peats” are being produced in coordination with Twitter; fans can sign up at Twitter.com/FRINGEonFOX and Twitter.com/GLEEonFOX to follow the event, and will be able to ask questions and reply to the cast and producers’ tweets, with select comments from the discussion carried live on FOX during East and West Coast airings.
FOX is scheduling other special telecasts leading up to its fall season premieres. On Wednesday, September 2nd, the network will screen a “director’s cut” version of the Glee pilot, with never-before-seen deleted footage. The same night, to rev up viewers for the SYTYCD inaugural fall run, a special So You Think You Can Dance: The Fifteen Best Performances Ever showcasing top performances from the past five seasons.
Dollhouse is showing more geek-love today with an official announcement that another from the Joss Whedon staple of actors will be joining his Fox show for its second season. Summer Glau, recently seen on Fox’s now-cancelled series The Sarah Connor Chronicles and most well-known for Whedon’s Firefly series and its film sequel Serenity, will have a recurring role opposite lead and Whedon darling Eliza Dushku for an as-yet unknown number of episodes. This news follows on the heels of other geekified additions in Jamie Bamber and Michael Hogan (teaming up with their old Battlestar Galactica co-star Tahmoh Pennikett) as well as Joss alum Alexis Denisof.
Being a staunch supporter of all Whedon works, I championed Dollhouse from the beginning even though it took a few episodes to completely hook me, but the show really started to find its voice midway through and provided an excellent payoff with its season finale which was one of the best hours of television this year, and if Fox had seen fit to air what was originally penned as the last episode of the season, “Epitaph One,” then I would be so bold to proclaim it one of the best season finales ever.
Referred to as the “lost” episode, I was one of the lucky attendees at Comic-Con to attend a screening of “Epitaph One” before its wide release with the season 1 DVD set last month (which has since hit number one on iTunes) and am now imploring all to move it up their viewing queue. Very much like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the first season had its share of hit-or-miss episodes but ended on a stellar note and, when folding in “EO” as a part of that end, provided an amazing amount of plot possibilities for its season(s?) to come.
Dollhouse Season 2 premieres Friday, September 25th 9pm eastern/8pm central on Fox. Season 1 DVD now available.
Actually mama really loves samba but either sexy latin flavor will do the trick, and I’m so looking forward to a bit of both this fall from dueling dance shows, Fox’s So You Think You Think You Can Dance and ABC’s Dancing with the Stars.
While ravenous for all-new episodes of SYTYCD that just ended its summer season recently, I fell behind in viewership of DWTS during its spring cycle, due mostly to a conflict of interest with other Monday and Tuesday night shows (the DVR Gods demand a sacrifice!), but with the names of this year’s “biggest cast ever” released I find myself, although somewhat confused — Tom Delay, really? Methinks he’ll be joining the ranks of Tucker Carlson as the first trainwreck to depart rather than surprise like a Warren Sapp hoofing it all the way to the finals; it’s the teddy bear appeal, the avid granny viewer eats that up — mostly intrigued and shall make an attempt to watch even though no “star” stands out for me to put my fanship behind at present. I do, however, always anticipate rooting for some gloriously incomprehensible and/or inappropriate comment from judge Bruno. It’s worth tuning in just for that Italian imp and all the agita he must give Disney censors.
Season 9 premieres September 21st.
Meanwhile Uncle Rupie’s Fox will premiere SYTYCD‘s first fall cycle on September 9th, coupled with new darling Glee (will save more giddy musings on that one for a later post). Coming on the heels of its fifth and most successful season to date SYTYCD may not be equal to American Idol in the ratings as yet, but give it time as each year continues to build huge viewer numbers as opposed to the Idol which only seems to be slipping in the ratings. SYTYCD has also never disappointed with the levels of contestant talent, and thereby makes this competition feel more legitimate rather than one that finds pleasure in so-bad-we-have-to-watch-to-see-what-they-do-next entertertainment (aka, no Sanjayas).
Showcasing not only talented dancers but also an amazing and varied group of choreographers, SYTCD garnered 5 Emmy nominations this year adding to its 6 previous noms and 3 wins, and for those of you unimpressed by such numbers I dare you not to be affected by some of the outstanding performances over the past 5 years most recently with “This Woman’s Work” from Emmy-nominated Tyce Diorio.
Other impressive routines run the gamut in flair and emotional response, from Wade Robson’s visually-arresting gothic, undead group number “Ramalama (Bang Bang),” Mia Michael’s love story on a bench “Calling You” and a heartbreaking hip-hop in Tabitha & Napoleon (or, NappyTab)’s “Bleeding Love.”