Glee is Back Tonight–But Canada Will Not See the Madonna “Vogue” Video Sneak Peak –

As was proclaimed today on the giant wrap-around ads on the front page of the Toronto Star, “the wait is over” for the return of Glee. The high energy Fox high school musical series returns tonight at precisely 9:28 p.m. ET/PT–carefully timed so that Fox can milk every last advantage out of that still-potent-but-slipping American Idol lead-in.
I’ve seen the next three episodes and, if you are a fan of the series and watched the 13 that aired last Sept.-Dec., you will be rocked right back into this high school fantasy. A lot has happened since Glee last aired four whole months ago. The series does OK in the U.S. ratings (and better in Canada on Global), but has become more of a success as a marketing phenomenon than as a TV series.
At one point, 25 of the Top-100 Billboard songs were from the first two Glee soundtracks; a third CD of all Madonna tunes drops next week. The series also spawned a first half-season DVD boxed set–the first time a TV series rushed to DVD after half a season.
The cast also promoted the hell out of this thing in personal appearances in New York and Australia and even made a recent stop at the White House (above) as well as on Oprah. Next month, they start singing and dancing on a four city live U.S. tour. If they could train them to make Nike running shoes they’d probably start sewing in May.
Tonight’s episode, “Hell-o” (featuring such songs as The Beatles’ “Hello Goodbye” and Lionel Richie’s “Hello”) has glee club white knight Mr. Shu (Matthew Morrison) back battling sneaky Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch, top with Cory Monteith, Lea Michele and Morrison). Broadway star Idina Menzel (left) guests tonight as the formidable coach of the rival high school glee club “Vocal Adrenaline.” She adds some sizzle to the mix (and, c’mon, has to eventually be revealed as Rachel’s biological mother. The resemblance is scary). It’s great to see Iqbal Theba back as principal Figgins (below right) but the trick Sylvester plays on him to get reinstated at the school seems pretty seen-it-before. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that only three guys write this series, but Glee can seem pretty repetitive at times.
That is when it is not fitfully arbitrary. One storyline tonight finds glee club rival Jesse St. James (Jonathan Groff) bolting from Vocal Adrenaline–with his coaches tacit approval–and joining Mr. Shu’s gleeks. Huh? What the? Is it that easy to switch schools?
Waking Glee up from so-so storylines is that tremendous production and effort put into virtually every song showcase. The second episode, a valentine to Madonna, is, if anything, over-produced. The much heralded, frame-by-frame homage to Madonna’s “Vogue” video–featuring Lynch in blond curls and bustier–is impressive but pointless. (Plus Lynch–brilliant in small doses–overpowers this episode.) There should be more humour and parody or Glee in it or why not just show the original? More dazzling is the multi-character song and dance to “Like A Virgin,” which tracks six characters hopping into bed with one surprising consummation.
The third episode features Kristen Chenoweth and while her Broadway verve makes her an idea guest it seems too soon to be bringing her back.
Fans of Jessyln Gilsig (Terri), Mark Salling {“Puck”) and Canadian Patrick Gallagher (left)–hilarious as coach Ken Tenaka–are going to be disappointed with these next three half hours as they’ve all been more or less benched. We do see more of Kurt’s blue collar dad (Mike O’Malley) who has a busy storyline in two weeks. Also getting more face time as the series heads into its “spring” season are scheming Cheerios Brittney (Heather Morris, right) and Santana (Naya Rivera).
What you won’t see tonight if you watch this show over the Global feed in Canada is a sneak preview of next week’s “Vogue” video. Fox announced today they plan to air it during tonight’s episode as a three-minute sneak peak sponsored by Chevy. No such deal exists in Canada so no sneak peak until “The Power of Madonna” airs next Tuesday, April 20, on Global.
In the meantime, ever wonder about that guy that never talks who plays the piano in the school’s music room? His name is Brad Ellis (left) and he really does speak. I spoke with him last January, in fact, when TV critics were welcomed to the set of Glee on the Fox lot in Los Angeles. Ellis, part of the musical production team connected with the series, now has several Facebook groups and can be spotted again behind the piano in the new episodes. Get the full scoop on the silent one here in this story I wrote last week for The Canadian Press.

1 Comment

  1. Ughhh I am super pissed right now? Global Toronto was running ads that Glee would be on at 10.25 and then they throw in old episodes of The Good Wife sans an explanation! Ughhhh thank you for solving the mystery though ;(

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