DVD review: ‘Glee Season 1, Volume 1: Road to Sectionals’–Extra! Extra!

Glee Season 1 Volume 1: Road to Sectionals

Glee Season 1 Volume 1: Road to Sectionals

While the length of Glee’s fourth-month hiatus is a bitter pill, at least the interim brings its fall season on DVD, starting Tuesday with Fox’s release of Glee Season 1, Volume 1: Road to Sectionals. If you’re a Gleek like me, was there ever more of a no-brainer in terms of getting a DVD? I didn’t think so.

Plus, it’s got multi-marketing purposes. The four-disc set not only should keep Gleeks’ hearts warm and ready for more, but also should fan the flames of Glee’s momentum toward those who failed to catch it on telly in the fall.

Look at it this way: almost fourth months with only Glee DVDs (and some reruns, as with this week and the next) gives many unconverted people time to catch up and board the bandwagon when Glee returns with new shows April 13.

As for those discs, beyond their 13 superb episodes which I believe will carry Glee to multiple awards to go with its multiple nominations, what’s new? Well, beyond creative menu graphics (but monotonous menu music), there are lots of extras, all loaded onto Disc 4. You know the episodes, so this DVD review will focus on them.

First is an amusing five-minute Welcome to McKinley hosted by Principal Figgins and purportedly shot by the school’s AV Club. It’s for eighth-graders on the verge of attending high school. As Figgins points to a globe, we learn that students come to McKinley from as far away as Mexico — wow!  I love the actor, Iqbal Theba, and it’s great to see him get this showcase.

Next, and most entertaining, is an unnamed “Glee Music Video” which turns out to be Somebody to Love, whose audio plays against a montage of promo shots done early in the production process and clearly filmed at another location than what’s used in the show (with more stark looking high school hallways). All the characters promenade with various bits of business, ending with a triumphant group shot. Though I’ve glimpsed some of this footage before, this video is fun and fresh and the best bonus here for me.

Then there are two full-length audition pieces — meaning, characters‘ auditions. They’re expanded from the pilot, with Rachel singing On My Own and Mercedes singing Respect. Both get more footage than on the show, and Rachel is beautifully shot.

All the aforementioned extras sport new elements. Now we get to completely recycled extras, starting with a 12-minute featurette for the Fox Movie Channel called Casting Session.

This is great stuff, and crucial, since one of the key features of this highly creative show is the excellence of its casting. But many of us have seen this already. Ditto for Deconstructing Glee with Ryan Murphy and Dance Boot Camp, two featurettes already shown on the pilot’s DVD released last September, as well as circulated online. Even so, it’s good stuff.

That also holds true for a series of segments telling us things we didn’t know about Chris, Amber, Corey, Jayma and Jane Lynch, as well as Flip cam video diaries from eight cast members when they visited New York last May for Glee “Up Fronts” (selling the show to potential advertisers) and publicity rounds. Again, it’s fine material, and enjoyably candid, but it’s recycled. That said, though you may have seen these two- and three-minute clips online, did you have them on pristine DVD? I didn’t think so.

Look, if there’s one thing my mama taught me, it’s to be a grateful boy, and believe me, I am. I’m grateful for the best TV series I’ve ever beheld in Glee. I’m grateful for its quick release to the home video market. And I’m grateful for all the extras provided here, from the fresh to the recycled.

But while I’m grateful, I’m also greedy, and I’m thinking there’s a wealth of more Glee material for DVD, such as more making-of and behind-the-scenes featurettes, bloopers, outtakes, interviews with the cast and crew, commentaries by the cast and the show’s creators, collections of Glee’s artful promos and — oh yes — deleted scenes. For instance, didn’t they actually shoot footage of Will’s 1993 performance that Emma displayed (and we didn’t see) on her laptop screen? And where’s the footage with those tacky bell-bottomed disco outfits the glee kids wear, of which I’ve seen photos?

While we’re at it, a “Songs Only” feature would greatly enhance Glee DVDs. That way you could choose to watch just musical numbers instead of entire episodes. (The Monkees’ DVDs offer this feature.) At the least, offer chapter-stop menus for each episode, with songs always starting a chapter.

Any and all of these things could have been added to this release, though maybe some will turn up when the full season is issued on DVD after the back nine episodes air. I’m hearing conflicting reports: that the back nine will emerge as a stand-alone set designed to bookend this one, or that the entire first season will be issued in a DVD set, and those who bought the first 13 shows already may get a price break. We’ll see.

Either way, and extras aside, it’s the show itself which truly entertains and enthralls, and believe me, I’m stoked to have it on DVD for savoring until spring. The best bonus of all is simply having Glee on DVD so quickly after its fall season aired. Kudos to Ryan Murphy and Fox for marketing this show so boldly and astutely.

Sure, I’d like more — or fresher — extras, but there are ample tasty tidbits here for die-hard Gleeks, and lots of new material for the uninitiated. What did you expect — a Lord of the Rings-sized Special Edition?

Bottom line: Glee is gone for four months, but thanks to DVD, Glee is back. Get it, savor it, and don’t stop believing. If any show is worth preserving on digital discs, this is it.

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4 Responses to “DVD review: ‘Glee Season 1, Volume 1: Road to Sectionals’–Extra! Extra!”

  1. Mark Salling of ‘Glee’ gives us a soulful surprise song « Tripping the Light Says:

    […] Mark Salling of ‘Glee’ gives us a soulful surprise song By farsider (Glee fans: Catch my advance review of the fall season’s DVD box set at this link.) […]

  2. Jeremy Sheer Says:

    I have to disagree. Fox does this all the time with Family Guy and American Dad!

    i would rather have a FULL season then half of a season……

    you know there going to release it in full all 22 in all

    and another thing… you can buy 3 seasons of office for how much you will be charged for volume 1 and Volume 2! $50.00!!! LAME!!!1

    i am going to wait i have the soundtracks and I dont need half od season and waste $25.00 with no special features

  3. rockwell Says:

    Very good post. Looking forward to seeing you write a lot more about this subject.

  4. Teeter Hang ups Says:

    I really love Glee! My husband and I got Apple TV for Christmas and have been slowly working through all of the old episodes to catch up. We finished the last one last night so we are ready for the brand new Glee on Super Bowl Sunday!

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