OK, confession time, kids: despite the fact that I am a good 35 to 40 percent gay and have a strong passion for vintage musicals and singing in general, I never actually took the time to sit back and watch a single episode of Glee until the Third Season showed up on my doorstep one day. In any case, within minutes of opening up Glee: The Complete Third Season on Blu-ray, I quickly realized what a mistake I had made in not seeing the show any sooner.
Now, of course, I have to go back and check out the previous two seasons — but that’s somewhat irrelevant here.
For the uninitiated, Glee follows the ups and downs of a high school glee club. In this season, the club’s teacher, Mr. Schuester (Matthew Morrison), struggles to keep his spirits as well as those of his students afloat as he endures the agonies of being engaged to the school’s obsessive-compulsive redheaded guidance counselor, Emma Pillsbury (Jayma Mays); butts heads with the ornery-as-ever cheerleading coach Ms. Sylvester (the incomparable Jane Lynch); and witnesses his class divide in two to compete against each other during a regional show choir competition.
The kids (Chris Colfer, Heather Morris, Dianna Agron, Lea Michele, Darren Criss, Kevin McHale, Naya Rivera, Amber Riley, et al), on the other hand, have just as many difficulties. Several find themselves nearing that precarious bridge that links high school life to college life, while nearly everyone has to face the awkwardness of sex (in as PG manner as possible: it’s still a family show, folks), the never-ending bullying that ensues from being in glee club, and the even more cumbersome challenges we all have to face simply by trying to fit in with the world. And it’s loaded to the gills with some truly show-stopping musical numbers performed by the show’s extremely gifted cast.
One of the many highlights in this season includes “Extraordinary Merry Christmas,” wherein Artie (Kevin McHale) directs an epic television yuletide show that combines the classic elements of vintage variety series with facets of the epically-awful The Star Wars Holiday Special (complete with a cameo by Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca). Additional focus goes to a production of West Side Story that takes up a portion of the first quarter of the season, an homage to Saturday Night Fever (which is always better than the actual film itself), tributes to both Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston (without any of the tasteless kiddie or drug jokes that would normally go into play there had this been any other show), and the graduation of several key players.
Guest stars for this round of song and dance include Jeff Goldblum and Brian Stokes Mitchell (as Lea Michele’s fathers), Whoopi Goldberg, Ricky Martin, and Idina Menzel — with additional, not-so-note-worthy appearance by Lindsay Lohan, Perez Hilton, and NeNe Leakes. Fox Home Entertainment brings us all twenty-two episodes of this memorable season to Blu-ray in a glorious transfer that brings out the best the shot-on-film show has to offer all-around. The colors are extremely lifelike, contrast is well-balanced, and black levels are perfect. There is some grain present here, but that’s to be expected for a series that’s not shot digitally, so I don’t want to hear any whining on that one, folks.
The set’s DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is also great here, and balances out the show’s dialogue and enthralling musical numbers wonderfully. Subtitles are provided in English (SDH), Spanish, French, and Portuguese. Special features include an option to jump to your favorite song from this season, a couple of deleted/extended scenes, an assortment of one-liners from Jane Lynch’s inimitable character, and a half-dozen featurettes that range from the show’s production to an answer session from the aforementioned Ms. Lynch as Sue Sylvester.
Like I said before, this is my first experience with Glee. Many fans who have been with the series since the beginning have expressed their dissatisfaction with this season as opposed to Seasons One and Two, so I can only imagine the greatness I’ve missed so far. Oh, well, I’m very happy with Glee: The Complete Third Season both in terms of the show’s quality and the Blu-ray’s transfer.