Glee is an American musical comedy-drama television series that airs on Fox in the United States. It focuses on a high school glee club called "New Directions", at the fictional William McKinley High School in Lima, Ohio. The pilot episode of the show was broadcast after American Idol
on May 19, 2009 and the first season began airing on September 9, 2009. On September 21, 2009, Fox officially gave the series a full-season pick-up. Glee aired its mid-season finale on December 9, 2009 and is currently on a 4-month hiatus before returning on April 13, 2010 with the remaining 9 episodes of the season. On January 11, 2010, Fox President, Kevin Reilly announced at the Television Critics Association winter press tour that Glee has been renewed for a second season.
The show's creators Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Ian Brennan first conceived of Glee as a film. Murphy selects the series' music, maintaining a balance between show tunes and chart hits. Songs covered in the show are released on ‘iTunes’ during the week of broadcast and a series of Glee albums will be released through Columbia Records, beginning with Glee: The Music, Volume 1, which was released on November 3, 2009. The music of Glee has been a commercial success, with over two million digital sales.
The show has received generally positive reviews from critics. Although Alessandra Stanley in The New York Times
highlighted the pilot episode's unoriginality and stereotyped characters, she praised the showmanship and talent of the cast. David Hinckley in The Daily News opined that the show was imperfect and implausible but "potentially heartwarming", while Mary McNamara for the Los Angeles Times wrote that Glee had a wide audience appeal, calling it "the first show in a long time that's just plain full-throttle, no-guilty-pleasure-rationalizations-necessary fun." The series won the 2010 Golden Globe Award
for Best Comedy Series and received three additional nominations for Best Actress (Lea Michele), Best Actor (Matthew Morrison), and Best Supporting Actress (Jane Lynch).
Glee was created by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan. Brennan conceived the idea for Glee based on his own experience as a member of the Prospect High School show choir. He initially envisioned Glee as a film, rather than a television series, and wrote the first draft in August 2005 with the aid of "Screenwriting for Dummies". He completed the script in 2005, but could not generate interest in the project for several years. Mike Novick, a television producer and a friend of Brennan's from Los Angeles, was a member of the same gym as Murphy, and gave him a copy of Brennan's script. Murphy had been in a show choir whilst at college, and as such felt he could relate to the script. Murphy and his Nip/Tuck
colleague Falchuk suggested that Glee be adapted to a television show format. The script was entirely re-written and was picked up by Fox within 15 hours of being received, which Murphy attributes in part to the success of the network's American Idol
, commenting: "It made sense for the network with the biggest hit in TV, which is a musical, to do something in that vein". Murphy and Falchuk became the show's Executive Producers and show-runners, while Brennan is a Co-Executive Producer and Novick is a Producer. Brennan, Falchuk and Murphy write all of the show's episodes.
Glee is set in Lima, Ohio. Murphy chose a Midwest setting as he himself grew up in Indiana and recalls childhood visits to Ohio to the Kings Island theme park. Although set in Lima, the show is filmed at Paramount Studios in Hollywood. While Glee has attracted comparisons to the film series High School Musical
, Murphy commented that he has never seen a High School Musical film and that his interest lay in creating a "postmodern musical," rather than "doing a show where people burst into song," drawing more heavily on the format of Chicago
. Murphy intended the show to be a form of escapism, explaining: "There's so much on the air right now about people with guns, or sci-fi, or lawyers running around. This is a different genre, there's nothing like it on the air at the networks and cable. Everything's so dark in the world right now, that's why Idol worked. It's pure escapism." With regard to Glee's audience, Murphy intended for it to be a family show which would appeal to adults as well as children, with adult characters starring equally alongside the teenage leads. Murphy has mapped out plans for the series covering a potential three years of broadcast.
Music and choreography:
The series features covers of numerous songs sung on-screen by the characters. Musical segments typically take the form of performances, as opposed to the characters singing spontaneously, as the intention is for the series to remain reality-based. Murphy is responsible for selecting all of the songs used and strives to maintain a balance between show tunes and chart hits, as: "I want there to be something for everybody in every episode. That's a tricky mix, but that's very important — the balancing of that." Song choices are integral to script development, with Murphy explaining: "Each episode has a theme at its core. After I write the script, I will choose songs that help to move the story along."
Murphy was surprised at the ease with which use of songs was approved by the record labels approached and explained: "I think the key to it is they loved the tone of it. They loved that this show was about optimism and young kids, for the most part, reinterpreting their classics for a new audience." Composer and musician Billy Joel
offered many of his songs for use on the show, singer Rihanna
offered her single "Take a Bow" for use at a reduced licensing rate and other artists have offered use of their songs for free. Madonna
granted the show rights to her entire catalogue and a 2010 episode will feature Madonna performances exclusively. Murphy has planned an episode utilizing original music, to air in spring 2010. He explained: "I've had a lot of calls from songwriters, to the point where it's kind of embarrassing and ridiculous. So we're writing an episode called "Original Song" where the teacher asks the kids to write their own piece of music. Diane Warren is going to do two big ballads, and if it works, we'll see what happens ... but we won't do it all the time."
There will be a series of Glee albums released through Columbia Records. The first, Glee: The Music, Volume 1, was released on November 3, 2009. Songs featured on the show are available for digital download through iTunes up to two weeks before new episodes air and through other digital outlets and mobile carriers a week later. The score of the show features a cappella covers of instrumental songs, provided in the pilot episode by The Swingle Singers.
Glee is choreographed by Zach Woodlee and features five to eight production numbers per episode. Once Murphy selects a song, rights are cleared with its publishers by music supervisor P.J. Bloom and music producer Adam Anders re-arranges it for the Glee cast. Numbers are pre-recorded by the cast, while Woodlee constructs the accompanying dance moves, which are then taught to the cast and filmed. Studio recordings of tracks are then made. The process begins six to eight weeks before each episode is filmed and can end as late as the day before filming begins. Each episode costs at least $3 million to produce and can take up to 10 days to film as a result of the elaborate choreography.
Prior to the premiere of the second episode, the cast of Glee went on tour at several Hot Topic stores across the nation. The cast sang the national anthem at the third game of the 2009 World Series. Originally, the cast were invited by Macy's to perform at the 2009 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, but host broadcaster NBC rejected the plan due to Glee airing on a rival network. Co-creator Ryan Murphy commented on the cast's exclusion: "I completely understand NBC's position, and look forward to seeing a Jay Leno
Due to the success of the show, the cast will go on a concert tour following first season wrap up. "We're going to do what American Idol has done and put the kids on the road," Murphy told The New York Post. In addition, the cast recorded an exclusive cover of Wham!'s "Last Christmas" that will not be featured in the show. Matthew Morrison, Lea Michele, Cory Monteith and Chris Colfer will reprise their roles as Will, Rachel, Finn and Kurt respectively for a cameo appearance in an upcoming episode of The Cleveland Show.
Summary courtesy of Wikipedia