Blu-ray/DVD blog review: Glee The Complete Second Season

OK, I know you’re stoked for Glee’s third season premiere tonight. But can we not forget that our beloved show also is newly available in The Complete Second Season on Blu-ray and DVD from Fox — especially since those discs offer lots of new special features?

I know I’m straddling the Glee fence right now, because while I avidly await tonight’s premiere, I’m also buoyed by the beautiful transfers (especially on Blu-Ray) for the second season, and such fun new extras as Shooting in New York, a 10-minute look at production of Glee’s previous episode, the second season finale (which I loved, big-time).

NYC may be big, but Glee seems bigger. Throngs of fans belly up to barricades to watch exterior filming in Times Square (and, to a lesser degree, Central Park and Lincoln Center), and even Mayor Bloomberg leaps on Glee’s bandwagon. Some fine on-camera cast interviews arise, and Cory Monteith documents it himself, with point of view shots as he approaches awe-struck femme fans.

I most loved choreographer Zach Woodlee expressing deep concern about Kevin McHale wheeling around the Lincoln Center fountain’s edge in his wheelchair for I Love New York’s location-rich romp. Kevin was up for it, insisting he wouldn’t fall off. Woodlee reluctantly agreed. “I don’t know how we would explain the chair got up there,” he says, “but it’s Glee.

And I agree! “But it’s Glee” says it all.  This show is a musical fantasy, folks, which so many haters don’t get when they hammer it for flights of fancy. Guess they hate Cats, Rent, The Sound of Music, Hairspray, Les Miz, Cabaret, Camelot, Mary Poppins, Funny Girl, etc. too, based on their monotonous and irrelevant complaints.

But Woodlee has an explanation, anyway. “We’ll say he sang himself up there.” Good enough.

Another fun featurette is the 8-minute Guesting on Glee, whose first cameo I’ll ignore, because she’s not a nice person. But it’s good to see Carol Burnett, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cheyenne Jackson, Charice, Kristin Chenoweth, John Stamos and Jonathan Groff make the Glee scene.

Getting her own 3 1/2-minute featurette is Stevie Nicks, who didn’t appear on screen in an episode but whose music was used to great effect. She shows up on set when Paltrow sings Landslide and is greeted as the rock goddess she is. And like so many in show business and music, she adores Glee, which is always good to hear. (Apparently Foo Fighters hate all musicals too. As for me, I love rock — in fact, it’s my favorite music — AND stage or screen musicals. Guess that makes me wildly open-minded.)

Two comparable fun bits are Sue’s Quips (2 minutes) and Santana’s Slams (3 minutes), with quick-cut montages of each insult queen’s blasts. While Jane Lynch is the big, acclaimed star here, I felt Naya Rivera’s rips as Santana were actually the funniest. Especially love “I’ve had mono so many times it turned into stereo.”

More cute than cutting is a 6-minute Day in the Life of Brittany, in which Heather Morris stays in ditzy character while taking us on a tour of her trailer and the Paramount lot. (Been there at 5555 Melrose many times — beautiful for a studio lot.) Woodlee and music director Adam Anders have great deadpan moments with her, both playing exasperated yet patient straight men.

With Morris in character, this feels much like the backstage banter in Glee: The 3D Concert Movie, where actors also stayed in character while addressing the camera. So, New Directions tours big arenas, is filmed for a movie and works on a major studio lot? Okay . . . But hey — it’s Glee!

And of course there’s the Glee Music Jukebox, which is basically a menu allowing you to access any and all song performances within each episode, marred only by some abrupt edits dictated by the song’s narrative context.

I use this feature often to appreciate Glee on Blu-ray or DVD. At heart, it’s the music that matters. In fact, I could watch Rachel/Lea Michele sing My Man each day. Show me a better music performance on TV in the past year. Show me.

Other extras are recycled from the Glee: Season 2, Volume 1 set which Fox issued in January, and there’s some new a capella choral music (love that stuff) for newly styled menus.

So there you have it. Now you can go back to counting the hours before Glee returns tonight. But remember how you did the same thing for Season Two? Well, here it is now, for you to own and savor.

And for those who find it fashionable to dump on Glee’s second stanza as if it were My Mother the Car (this is called the “build ’em up, tear ’em down” syndrome), we’ll have to agree to disagree. Glee may have flaws, but it’s still the best show on TV — now, or ever, as far as I’m concerned. So give it a break.

No one else ever pulled off a hit TV musical of any kind. No one. Ever. Yet Glee did — and spectacularly. And while I’ll carp and quibble about details in my Glee episode reviews, overall I still cherish this show, which more people should.

Now, from the top!

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