I was fortunate to receive an advance review copy of Glee Season 1, Volume 1: The Road to Sectionals, which includes the first 13 episodes of the series on four discs, as well as some special features on Disc 4 of the set. Since this is a blog which revolves around guidance counselor Emma Pillsbury, I'll rate each of the special features on a scale of 1 to 5 Squirts of Antibacterial Hand Gel.
5 Squirts is the best, because it is the cleanest.
Welcome to McKinley. Principal Figgins, played by Iqbal Theba, welcomes incoming froshes to McKinley High School. I've watched this piece, produced by the McKinley AV department, plenty of times already and each viewing presents me with a new gift, wrapped masterfully by Theba's subtle comedic genius. Watch this and receive answers to many questions, including, "How long might it take me to graduate from McKinley?" or "Where might I go to do research at McKinley?" and the ever-important "What is the code of conduct at McKinley High?" 5 Squirts
Glee Music Video. I'm a sucker for slow motion music videos. This video is particularly well done, and feels more like an extended commercial for the show than a flashy music television number. This would be the perfect thing to show a Glee-resistant friend to try to get them hooked on the show. I can't think of a soul who couldn't be persuaded after hearing "Somebody to Love." AND DID I MENTION THE SLOW MOTION? 5 Squirts
Full Length Audition Pieces. I got very excited when I saw the title of this feature, but I was a wee bit disappointed to find that the audition pieces were not of cast members' auditions for Glee, but Rachel's and Mercedes' auditions for New Directions. It was pleasant to hear an extended version of Mercedes singing "Respect," but Rachel's "On My Own" was really nothing new since the full-length single had been released for some time. Of all the auditions, I'd have liked to hear Kurt's "Mr. Cellophane" in its entirety. 3 Squirts
Fox Movie Channel Presents Casting Session. Now we're talking. Although this had been previously released online, I hadn't seen it. These types of special features are the reason I run to my local media store on the DVD release dates of my favorite shows. We're treated to the inside scoop behind Glee's creation and pitch. The show's creators and producers, Ryan Murphy, Ian Brennan and Brad Falchuk, as well as executives from FOX, share their thoughts on how Glee was able to "thread the needle." Watching this feature made me want to abandon my sixteen-year teaching career, move to LA, and apply for an entry-level job at FOX just so I could be privy to the dailies from Glee. 5 Squirts
Deconstructing Glee with Ryan Murphy. I think Ryan Murphy is a television whiz, and I could listen to him discuss the inner workings of his mind for eternity. He clearly understands how to create characters that viewers will root for, and he doesn't have to rely on dumbed-down dialogue and laugh tracks to get fans on board with his vision. Ryan Murphy is to television what Christopher Guest is to film. Sheer genius. 5 Squirts
Dance Boot Camp. This is a fairly entertaining segment, and I suspect many folks will be enamored with choreographer Zach Woodlee. He's a spitfire, full of energy and vision, and it's easy to see why he delivers such an authentic product. I'd have liked more footage from dance rehearsals in this feature. I imagine Glee has a significant fan base who have at some point participated in musical theatre or show choir, and we love to see the process in action. Especially those of us more...seasoned...viewers, who enjoy taking little vicarious trips back to our youth. 4 Squirts
Jane Lynch A To Glee and Meet Jane Lynch. The only thing that would improve this feature is if it came in a Jane Lynch DVD of the Month Club, to which I could permanently subscribe. 5 Squirts
5 Things You Don't Know About Jayma
7 Things You Don't Know About Cory
6 Things You Don't Know About Amber
7 Things YOu Don't Know About Chris
and Video Diaries from:
These features are loads of fun to watch, especially the flip-camera video diaries created by the cast. I suspect these features appeal especially to Glee's younger viewers. Chris Colfer's diary, in particular, is lovely, when he articulates his emotions about his role on Glee. And his reaction to spotting Glee posters in New York City is priceless. 4 Squirts
Viewers who didn't get on board until fall will love the special features we die-hard Glee fans have been enjoying since the summer hiatus. "Welcome to McKinley" alone makes the price of the DVD worthwhile.
We got a taste of Glee behind-the-scenes, but it definitely left me wanting more. I hope that a full season DVD release is on the horizon, with episode commentary, full-length casting videos, deleted scenes, bloopers, and lots more footage of the rehearsal process.
And of course, as a huge fan of Lou Eyrich's, I'd love to get a peek at the show's wardrobe and hear from Lou about how she selects pieces for the characters, where she shops, what gets made on set, and how much input the cast has in wardrobe selection. Heather Morris told me that Glee has the most incredible wardrobe of any show, and I had to force myself not to drool over her words. Note to production: feel free to include an entire DVD called "Dressing Emma," k?
I'm thrilled that Glee was picked up for a full 22 episodes, and grateful that a DVD of the first 13 will hold me over until April. If this quick-launch DVD (with its colorful menus featuring Swingle Singers music and cast photos) is any indication of what we might expect from a full-season DVD collection, the folks at Twentieth Century Fox are on the right track.
Don't wait another second to buy Glee Season 1, Volume 1: Road to Sectionals.