Saturday, November 10, 2012

TV Review: Glee Season 4

The first two seasons of Fox's smash comedy/musical Glee were both refreshing and entertaining, and both were handidly rewarded with lots of viewers and a bunch of Emmy nominations. Then something happened and the wheels came off the track as Season 3 began to unfold. Suddenly Murphy and his team were throwing one week storylines, abandoning the trajectories of the characters we had fallen in love with in the first two seasons, and wasting time doing public service announcements that, while important issues, were almost insults because they were thrown in and out without much care or attention. While the last couple of episodes tried to correct some of the earlier issues by focusing on the characters, their future plans, and of course, saying goodbye, by then it was too little too late.

So going into Season 4, Glee had two options. It could continue down its path of destruction and run the show into the ground. Or it could try its hardest to balance its ever growing cast by giving enough time to each story, actually have the storylines last longer than an episode, and try to bring back the energy of its first two seasons. While it is definitely having some growing pains, I am happy to say that Glee is at least trying, and I applaud it.
The story hit a few snags this week as it brought back Mike and Mercedes, and I hope that in the upcoming Grease episode, the writers take a little more care to explain why they were able to drop everything and come back to Lima, and what, in general, has been going on with their characters. If they fail to do this, I would consider it a real misfire on the part of the creative team. But so far, Glee writers have done a pretty good job balancing the Kurt and Rachel storyline in New York, and the happenings back home in Lima with both the remaining old cast and the newcomers. All of these came to collide in the previous episode, which now played over a month ago, featuring the break up of our favorite couples. It was a highly charged, highly emotional, and wonderfully amazing episode that left a perfect cliffhanger for fans. I thought this latest episode fell sort of the promise, but I understand that you have to sometimes focus on different storylines. I was glad to see Blaine' reactions to his break up, and see Finn's struggle to find himself in the aftermath of his personal and professional failures. I hope that this upcoming episode shows us the aftermath from Rachel, Kurt's, Santana's, and Brittany's perspectives, because if Glee doesn't adequately handle these issues (which could be nicely paralleled with Grease and the happenings at McKinley if done right), then the so-far-better-than-expected season will find itself once again coming off the rails.

So what does all of this mean? Basically, Glee still faces some of the consistency issues that it has always faced, and it still demands that its viewers and fans suspend disbelief. But after last season's trainwreck, it is nice to see that the actors and characters we love are still committed to their stories, and the show itself. It is also nice to see the writers trying to balance all of the different storylines, while advancing characters week to week. Glee isn't perfect, it never was for that matter. But if its creators continue to work hard, and its cast remains dedicated, I think Season 4 can be a good one. For now, its off to a pretty good start.

Grade: B+

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