The Complete Second Season Blu-ray Review

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Complete Season Two Blu-ray and DVD sets come out today, and here's the first review I've found. I'll add more as I find them (maybe). This is for all you people that didn't buy the Season Two: Part One set (which is everyone).I hope the extras are worth it, even though I know I'm gonna buy it anyway. "Santana Slams" best be super awesome, but we'll see. 
The Show
This was a tough year to be a Gleek.

Season Two of Glee was off to a bumpy start in small ways, as Rachel (Lea Michele) is back to pouting anytime anyone gets more attention than she does, and big, when she sends the new kid (Filipino singing sensation Charice) to a crack house to get rid of her. It took a few weeks to find its footing, but then I thought that the show had officially jumped the shark about a month in, with "The Rocky Horror Glee Show." The existence of this gross misfire was explained away as everything from a cross-promotional tie-in for the outstanding Rocky Horror Picture Show Blu-ray, released exactly one week before this episode aired, to creator Ryan Murphy's "audition" to helm the rumored remake.

Regardless, Glee's take on Rocky Horror is a disjointed, illogical, sappy mess, as coach Will Shuester (Matthew Morrison) runs into countless obstacles trying to mount a high school production of the hard-R-rated musical... which could not possibly be performed for the students, and certainly should not be performed by students. But this is a masterpiece when compared to the Christmas episode, which culminates with evil cheerleading coach Sue (Jane Lynch) dressing up as the Grinch to try and ruin the holiday. It is as utterly ludicrous as it sounds, and leads to--I believe--the only time in the series that the audience does not know who or why someone is singing, in this case the Grinch theme song while Sue does the deed.

Well, when you hit rock bottom, the only place to go is up, and in the show's defense I admit that the writers did manage to steer the ship back on course more or less, with some big laughs, touching storylines and lots of great singing and dancing, the Britney Spears episode being a particular highlight. Bullying is a TV topic du jour so gay Kurt (Chris Colfer) is picked on to the point that he switches to a private school where he becomes the latest member of The Warblers, chief competition of New Directions, who take on a few additions themselves, including a blonde pretty boy and a plus-sized songbird.

There's lots of entertaining teen drama, and the adults have their share as well, all building to the glee club's most impressive showing yet, taking them all the way to New York City to prove what they can do.

The Picture
Twenty-two episodes spread across four 50GB platters translates to an AVC bitrate routinely in the high teens, and yet telltale blacks and out-of-focus backgrounds looked better than expected, while the 16:9 image also displayed strong, stable colors and ample if not voluptuous detail. We can surely appreciate the difference during the slight contrast/sharpness shift when we switch to a student's webcam video, for example. This really is quite a fine presentation.

The Sound
No surprise, the musical numbers are unquestionably the stars of this DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 channel soundtrack, and there are several per episode. The discrete details and the clarity of it all, the resonance of voices and the sustain of the instruments can be downright exquisite at times. I would wager that the songs are the main reason that people tune in each week, and they certainly don't disappoint sonically.

Of course, there's more to McKinley High than vocal stylings, and so the speakers are alive with that darned school bell (man, that thing rings a lot), milling crowds in the halls, and the almost surreal chanting of the crowd during a zombie-fied football game. Good stuff through and through.

The Extras
The Glee Music Jukebox carries across all four discs in the set, taking us directly to the songs for each episode in full audio/video quality, with a Shuffle option. From here it is a cavalcade of featurettes, some only a few minutes and none longer than 15.

We explore the world of Season Two guest stars, with a special bit devoted to beloved songstress Stevie Nicks' set visit, a tour of the auditorium set which replaced the real location used in Season One of Glee. We also sample the best quotes from Sue, Santana and Brittany, and Brittany returns in character to share a typical day with us.

Sue was chosen by fans to be inducted into Madame Tussauds Wax Museum and we witness that unusual honor. A bonus song from the "Rocky Horror" episode is also salvaged here, in DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1! Worth noting is that, although all bonus content video is HD, there are no Blu-ray exclusives of any kind.

Final Thoughts
Yeah, it was a bumpy road, but that's what high school is, right? If only my formative years had such a catchy--and well-recorded--soundtrack, and were as gleeful as Glee on a good week. I have a feeling I'll be reaching for this Blu-ray a lot more than my old yearbook.

Product Details
Actors: Matthew Morrison, Jane Lynch, Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, Chris Colfer, Kevin McHale, Jayma Mays, Jessalyn Gilsig, Amber Riley, Dianna Agron, Mark Salling, Jenna Ushkowitz, Naya Rivera, Heather Morris, Harry Shum Jr., Mike O'Malley, Iqbal Theba, Chord Overstreet, Dot Marie Jones, Ashley Fink, Darren Criss, Lauren Potter, Max Adler, John Stamos, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cheyenne Jackson, Charice Pempengco

Directors: Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, Eric Stoltz, Adam Shankman, Bradley Buecker, Carol Banker, Paris Barclay, Tate Donovan, Tim Hunter

Audio Format/Languages: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (English)
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Portuguese
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Number of discs: 4
Rating: NR
Studio: Fox
Release Date: September 13, 2011
Run Time: 1,000 minutes total
List Price: $69.99

  • Glee Music Jukebox
  • Guesting on Glee
  • Stevie Nicks Goes Glee
  • A Day in the Life of Brittany
  • Sue's Quips
  • Santana Slams
  • The Wit of Brittany
  • Building Glee's Auditorium with Corey Monteith
  • Shooting Glee in New York City
  • The Making of the "Rocky Horror Glee Show"
  • Exclusive Bonus Song "Planet, Schmanet, Janet"
  • Getting Waxed with Jane Lynch
  • Glee at Comic Con 2010

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