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Category:    Home > Reviews > Musical > Backstage > Comedy > Teens > Satire > TV > Glee - The Complete Fourth Season (2012 - 2013/Fox Blu-ray)

Glee - The Complete Fourth Season (2012 - 2013/Fox Blu-ray)

Picture: B Sound: B Extras: C Episodes: B-

What started as a promising, quirky series that had elements of Freak and Geeks mixed with pop hits of today and yesteryear; has seemingly transformed over four seasons into shell of its former self. With creator Ryan Murphy constantly proclaiming of the series level of innovation and creativity it is interesting to see that it has devolved into a predictable mess.

If that wasn't enough, the series also manages to peddle the same level of smut and raunchiness that is found on modern day MTV. Now I am no prude or saint, but Glee started as a family friendly series that had certain more mature themes that again made the series stand out. The now predictable nature of the series has turned many long time fans away and the somewhat inappropriate messages the series puts forth has critics and parents alike questioning, what happened to this once great series?

In its Fourth Season, Glee splits time between McKinley High and New York City as we follow some of the original New Directions off to college, while we stay back in Ohio with both new and old talent. The show kicked off with a host of bright, fresh talent (even as 30 year olds played 16) and felt real as we were treated to a cappella renditions of a host of hits from a range of generations and genres. Now in Season 4, the audience is experiencing overproduced music numbers that appear more music video than Glee Club. Part of the charm was that the audience somewhat believed these young talents were on stage or in front of their class performing; now reality is stretched so thin its embarrassing.

What started as a band of misfits on an empty stage belting out Journey's “Don't Stop Believing” has somehow transformed into elaborate sets with full bands/orchestras that appear out of nowhere. Whereas at times viewers are willing to suspend reality or allow a ‘dream sequence’ this is now a constant occurrence of the series. The series has strayed so far from its original concept that it even pokes fun at itself at times; commenting on the costumes, sets, and elaborate accompaniment. Though perhaps this is Ryan Murphy and crew taking jabs at the critics, who knows?

The new cast members fit the series nicely and show promise; but the original cast is who viewers want to see. Ryan Murphy is somewhat delusional as on one hand he wants to ‘keep reality in check’ by making each season a year of these kids lives (meaning you must graduate), but at the same time putting on a full Broadway show between homeroom and lunch time. The series does split time between New York and McKinley High pretty evenly, but I find myself caring little for the new cast members. This can be mostly attributed to the fact that when Glee started the cast was young and endearing; allowing the audience see them grow and mature into the monsters they have become. The new members are atrociously too ‘mature’ fashionistas that skip over the awkward years and jump right into MTV Real World nonsense.

Somehow the series has gotten off track and I hope Ryan Murphy can reel it in and bring back what made the series so great; viewing Season 5 on television, however, I can say it doesn't get much better from here.

Again the picture on Glee is bright, colorful, and is in line with the previous season release. The 1080p 1.78 X 1 image again is crisp, clean and appears to still be on film; with hints of grain throughout. The sound again is a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio lossless mix that is nice but I still manages to miss the mark somewhat as the entire speaker range is not utilized. The series mostly comes from the front, center and fails to fill the room. The rears are used, but a bit unbalanced in terms of the transition from dialogue to music number, but those who tune in just for the music will be pleased well enough.

The bonus features are a bit weak as they only give a brief look into behind the scenes. I wanted to see Ryan Murphy explain the direction of the series and how it evolved over the years; instead it was too much fluff. Extras include:

  • Glee Music Jukebox

  • Deleted Scenes

  • Glee Premiere Party

  • Girls (and Boys) on film

  • Glee on Film

  • Road to 500

  • Movin on Up: Glee in New York City

- Michael P. Dougherty II


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