TV on DVD: Glee – Season 2, Volume 1

Most TV shows wait for a full season to roll out episodes on DVD. Not so Glee, a pop phenomenon and a cult hit with such a hold on fans that Fox rolls out the first half of the season as the second half picks up. And so this week we get Glee: Season 2, Volume 1, featuring ten episodes on three discs.

Slushee shower

This run of episodes features the Britney episode (with Britney Spears herself making a cameo in the gas-induced hallucination musical numbers), “The Rocky Horror Glee Show” (directed by Adam Shankman and featuring cameos by Barry Bostwick and Meat Loaf Aday) and Gwyneth Paltrow belting out the radio version of Ceelo Green’s “Forget You” as substitute teacher turned temporary Glee coach Holly Holiday, and ends with a Glee Christmas episode where the Glee club of misfit toys meets Sue Sylvester’s Grinch (complete with green face paint).

But for all the romantic pairings (and a wedding episode top boot!), the storyline that grabbed fans and media attention is all about Kurt (Chris Colfer), the sole openly gay student in a Midwest high school where jocks rule and the cheerleading squad is national champion. Last season, Kurt’s blue-collar father’s unconditional love and support gave the character—and the show—a tremendous foundation. This season tackles bullying with a vengeance. Where the Glee members are routinely picked on (the slushy shower has become part of their life), the abuse that one football player heaps on Kurt crosses the line into social terrorism and he transfers to a private boy’s school with a zero-tolerance policy toward bullying and prejudice. And he finds a potential boyfriend in an out and proud fellow student and star singer in his new school’s glee club. For the Christmas episode, they duet on “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” offering two gay men sharing a love song on network TV without playing it as a joke. If it’s not a landmark, it certainly is a significant moment. It’s also a superb performance and really, if this show is about anything, it’s harmony.

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TV on DVD 09/14/10 – Glee, The Good Wife, Fringe and The League

The pick for the week is not anything new but the Blu-ray debut of a classic: The Twlight Zone: Season 1 Blu-ray, reviewed on my blog here. I also featured one of my favorite shows in another DVD/Blu-ray release: Sons of Anarchy: Season Two, reviewed here. But this a month dominated by new shows and network productions rolling out as the fall TV season begins. Here are a few of the highlights from this week.

"The Good Wife" Julianna Margulies

Neither nighttime soap opera nor tabloid exploitation, The Good Wife: The First Season (Paramount) is a classic legal drama reframed with a ripped-from-the-headlines twist. Julianna Margulies’ Alicia Florrick is the publicly loyal but privately ambivalent wife of a disgraced Chicago politician (Chris Noth), who resigns in the face of a sex scandal. “Six months later,” Alicia goes back to work as the junior attorney at a firm run by an old friend and colleague (Josh Charles) while her husband (now in prison) fights his conviction for corruption. The cases are pretty conventional, what with a firm that (with exceptions) manages to represent only innocent clients and consistently Perry Mason-style last-minute saves with evidence that reveals the true culprits (and, more often than not, humiliates the man who took down Alicia’s husband). What makes them interesting is how the cases reflect back on her struggle with her marriage and her loyalty to a man who wants to rebuild his political career and needs her support. Noth makes the husband a wonderful set of contradictions and questions and Margulies grounds the courtroom tactics and law-office politics with a compelling personal journey as her husband tries to rebuild his political career even as his appeal is barely underway and she has to decide if she trusts him anymore.

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