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Series premiere: Glee debuts at 9 p.m. ET on the nose

In television on 09/08/2009 at 11:29 pm

Series name
Glee

Debuts
Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2009 at 9 p.m. ET on Fox and Global

Regularly airs
Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on Fox and Global

Premise
Nerdy teacher attempts to reclaim his mojo by taking charge of McKinley High’s glee club, attracts odd cast of characters. Some singing, dancing and eye-rolling.

Primary cast and crew
Matt Morrison (A Light in the Piazza and other stage productions, guest roles on Law and Order: Criminal Intent, CSI: Miami) is Will Schuester, alumni of the Glee club and now head of the club and convinced his new crew can make it to the nationals.
Lea Michele (Spring Awakening and other stage work, Third Watch) is Rachel Berry. She’s gonna be a stah!
Cory Monteith (Kyle XY, Final Destination 3) is Finn Hudson, star QB with a good voice, an unintimidating IQ and a heart of gold.
Dianna Agron (Veronica Mars, guest on numerous shows including Numb3rs, Close to Home) is Quinn Fabray, cheerleader and — of course — girlfriend to the QB. NOT in the Glee club.
Jane Lynch (Two and a Half Men, 40-Year-Old Virgin, Julie and Julia) as Sue Sylvester, cheerleading coach with acid in her soul. Give this woman more scenes. Now.
Jayma Mays (Ugly Betty, Red Eye, Flags of Our Fathers) is Emma Pillsbury, germphobe teacher who is in love with Will.
Chris Colfer (community and regional theatre ace) is Kurt Hummel, soprano with a strong fashion sense and a personal scent he’d like to market worldwide. Called Hummel, of course.
Kevin McHale (True Blood, The Office) as Artie Abrams, wheelchairist, guitaristand member of glee club.
Mark Salling (guitar player, songwriter) is Puck, bully. Not gleeful.
Amber Riley (numerous stage productions) is Mercedes Jones, she’s the diva of the glee club.
Jessalyn Gilsig (Nip/Tuck, Heroes) is Terri Schuester, Will’s wacko wife, who is addicted to Pottery Barn.

Jenna Ushkowitz (Spring Awakening and other stage work) is Tina, a glee member who desperately wants to lose her stutter.
Ryan Murphy (Nip/Tuck), Brad Falchuk (Nip/Tuck) and Ian Brennan are creators, writers and exec producers.

Buzz buzz
Is there any buzz left in the world or has this show eaten it all up? Annoying already.

But what do I know anyway? After having seen the pilot I predict…
Well, we’ve all seen the spring pilot, haven’t we (and if you haven’t click here to watch online). Tonight is the premiere, in which: “The Glee Club performs in front of the school for the first time and surprises everyone in the audience. When Rachel realizes her feelings for Finn, Quinn goes to great lengths to keep her man. Meanwhile, Mr. Schuester’s wife reveals some surprising news, leaving Will to figure out a new way to make ends meet.”

But not everyone is sold. Bob — he’s a friend of mine and not a Professional TV Critic (TM) — he says this show is lame and it will not rise to any greatness. I say he’s wrong and that it’s a perfect mix of sweet, old-fashioned “Let’s put on a SHOW”-type appeal and dark comedy. We have a bet. If I lose, I have to write an essay on why my critical skills suck, detailing past missteps. If I win — he has promised, and he is an honorable sort, to give it three episodes before passing his verdict — and he finds  himself enjoying it (come on Jane Lynch!), he must give me a half day of clay-sculpture lessons. And please note that this is about quality and not ratings. This show’s buzz will inflate its ratings for a few episodes, even if it fails. Stay tuned.

Other reviews
Metacritic did the homework for us, showing a rating of 77 out of 100 by professional critics and 7.4 out of 10 by civilians. The range covers Entertainment Weekly’s Ken Tucker giving it 100 to David Zurawik at the Baltimore who gave it a 50, saying the music almost makes up for the  “stereotypes and lame humor”.

Official website
Some promo videos (which we can see up here in hick Canada), and full episodes (which we cannot). Some photos. Song page with links to iTunes. Not a lot else. I guess they were too busy stoking the hype machine. The Global site also has Gleeworld, in which other Glee-type school videos are rounded up. Inspiring?

Twitter
There are several character accounts and an official show account, but I recommend Sue Sylvester’s strange tweets, like: “Thinking of getting my hips replaced. My hips are fine, but I’ll be one step closer to becoming a machine.”

Can’t wait for the next new-series preview?
Melrose Place, coming up.

Wondering when the other new series and returning series are kicking off?
Click here for my select list of fall 2009 premieres and other important dates. Who am I to tell you what to do, but you could consider bookmarking it…

— Denise Duguay

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