Over the next few months, we’ll see new series soar, old series sour, and so much Jersey Shore madness, we’ll want to shower. Let’s face it: The Fall TV season is intimidating. With dozens of new and returning shows hitting our small screens, we know we have some big choices to make. So, to help you determine what to watch, we’re digging deep into the most notable series premiering this season. Where did each show leave off? Where is it headed? And who should you watch it with? Today, we're checking out the return of Glee, which has all the mystery of a giant sparkling question mark. Where will Ryan Murphy’s darling go now that its beloved singers are scattered all over the country?
Series Name: Glee
Premiere Date: Thursday, Sept. 13 at 9:00 PM ET
Number of Seasons: Three down, heading into the fourth.
You’ll Like It If: You’ve never seen Glee before and love show choirs (hello, one person in the entire United States) or you’ve continued to watch Glee despite being disappointed are you still hold out hope that the series will redeem itself. (Hi, my name is Kelsea and I have a hard time accepting that Glee is not going to return to its glory days. Hi, Kelsea.)
You won’t like it if: You get uncomfortable when characters break out into song and even more uncomfortable when they tell you why they’re about to break out into song.
Best Piece of Merchandise: In case the pillows, iPhone covers, clothing lines, buttons, nail polish, etc. aren’t enough, there’s an Archie Comic/Glee crossover coming. No word on whether Rachel is the Betty or the Veronica.
Best government-funded school common area: That quad. I mean. There are no words. What high school has a full set of steps to nowhere opening up to the general lunching area for the entire student body, practically begging for 12-14 talented teenagers to dance and sing all over them? Seriously. I need to know. That high school sounds awesome.
Cast: Everyone who isn’t tied up over at The New Normal and American Horror Story. Ryan Murphy attracts big names like bowties attract Blaine Anderson. And if you’ve been living under a rock, here’s an exhaustive (and I mean, man am I tired from memorizing all these names) list of the friendly faces of McKinley High and beyond: Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, Naya Rivera, Jane Lynch, Jenna Ushkowitz, Darren Criss, Kevin McHale, Chris Colfer, Heather Morris, Chord Overstreet, Amber Riley, Harry Shum Jr., Mark Salling, and (just accept it) Matthew Morrison. And those are only the returning cast members. The five newbies include romantic comedy heroine extraordinaire Kate Hudson and youngsters Dean Geyer, Melissa Benoist, and Jacob Artist and Becca Tobin as mini-Puck and mini-Quinn. See, don’t you need a little cat nap now?
Synopsis: Set partially in Lima, Ohio and partially in New York City (and probably partially in a few other places), Glee is about a growing roster of characters trying desperately to take part in relevant storylines without being overshadowed by Sue Sylvester and Blaine. This is nearly impossible. Also, everyone can sing. Even Jayma Mays.
Where we left off last season: Rachel and Finn graduated, and he joined the army, White Fanged her (as in “go on, git,” not whatever you perverts were thinking), and sent her off to New York, where she promptly behaved like Barbra Streisand in the fictional ‘60s movie Rachel created in a dream. Kurt is also preparing to go to New York. This makes his papa cry and Kurt and Blaine decide they will end up like the couple from The Notebook, minus the dementia. Mike is headed to a Chicago Dance school, Santana is also (probably) headed to New York, Brittany flunked and is going to be a Super Senior, Quinn is off to Yale, and Mercedes is hoofing it to Los Angeles to be a star. Schue is no longer trying to move his wedding so the glee club will be there. Sue is still pregnant with a real baby and NeNe Leakes is trying to take over the school (but she’s on The New Normal now so that’ll probably work itself out). There’s probably more, but my brain is sparking and sputtering, so I’m going to give it a rest.
Character to avoid modeling your own wardrobe off of: Will Schuester (sweater vests affect 3 out of four History teachers every year*), Kurt Hummel (sorry, my friend, you are fabulous, but you don’t look it), and (duh) Rachel Berry’s school girl chic.
*Statistics are not based on any real calculation, but rather a fuzzy memory of all my past History teachers.
Required reading: Stephen Sondheim’s Wikipedia page. The references are rampant and now that they’re in New York… oh boy.
Relevant YouTube clip: Lord Tubbington’s Household Chores How-To (because any excuse for a cat video is welcome).
Don’t do this while watching: Hold anything sharp. As much as we keep coming back to this show, hoping it will wash away its past sins, there have been at least a handful of actual facepalm moments in each episode, so that would be bad. Think about it.
Who to watch it with: Someone who isn’t going to insist that you sing along with every musical number. There are way too many per episode for that nonsense. Also, someone who isn’t easily shocked by dramatic and comedic ploys (think, “Oh my GOSH. Did Sue really say that really mean thing?! No. Way.”) There are also far too many of these per episode.
Suggested viewing party refreshments: Carrot sticks (there are some seriously skinny ladies prancing around on screen and you totally skipped the gym to watch this show, so you’d better make up for it somehow. Plus, it will really help offset the calories in all that red wine).
Emmy Wins: Best Comedy Series (2010), Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series (Neil Patrick Harris, 2010), Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series (Gwyneth Paltrow, 2010), Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (Jane Lynch, 2010)
Ratings last season: Season low was 6.01 million, Season high was 9.21 million
Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler
[Photo Credit: Fox]
A guy who usually doesn't have luck with the ladies Matt Saunders (Luke Wilson) has finally found the perfect girl. Egged on by his buddy Vaughn (Rainn Wilson) Matt pursues the mousy and innocent-looking Jenny Johnson (Uma Thurman) after the two meet on a subway. But Jenny has a few secrets--and what Matt doesn't know in this case can hurt him. See Jenny is really G-Girl a superhero and although it's a side most superheroes don't show G-Girl is a bit possessive and essentially has a borderline personality. So when Matt wants to dump her so he can go out with his quiet and cute co-worker Hannah (Anna Faris) Jenny er G-Girl goes ballistic. She unleashes her superpowers on Matt and unsuspecting Hannah doing things like throwing a shark through his window while they're making out tossing his car around immature things like that. What Matt doesn't do is obey the cardinal rule: Never break up with a girl when she's holding a knife--or when she can throw you through a wall by blowing on you. This should be Luke Wilson's moment to shine and he seizes it. He's had little chance to break away from his goofier-looking and more popular brother Owen and has never carried a movie as much as this one. It's perhaps his meatiest role in which he gets to show a restrained comedic side as well as a dramatic angry and perplexed side. Although it's a typical romantic comedy plot the storyline allows for more reach because of the absurd nature of the jealousy by G-Girl’s arch nemesis Professor Bedlam played perfectly by Brit comic Eddie Izzard as well as the persistently bad advice from Matt’s friend Vaughn played by scene-stealer Rainn Wilson (TV's The Office). Rainn is a definitely a talent to watch out for. Unfortunately Thurman is the biggest disappointment. She's exciting only when she rekindles her Kill Bill persona but is mostly outshined by the cute and fun Anna Faris who's so naively brilliant in the Scary Movie spoofs. Expectations would have to be high if you have director Ivan Reitman on board the guy behind such classic comedies as Animal House Ghostbusters and Dave. Perhaps that's why it's so disappointing--and so very familiar. The comic moments are retreads from the past. Sure we've seen the odd moments where mortals make it with super-human characters--Superman II Bewitched I Dream of Jeannie--and every once in a while the character with super powers gets a bit peeved and goes off the deep end. The best contribution Reitman makes is to keep the over-the-top comedic aspects in check. He doesn’t have the actors play it for laughs. But if you look at past history female superhero movies don't seem to do well at the box office (Elektra and Catwoman anyone?) maybe because guys don't like to take dates to see movies about women who will kick their butts. And guys will be cringing in their seats BIG time when Jenny is trying to analyze the real meaning of the color of a rose that she just got. "Red means that you're in love with the girl. Of course I'm not trying to pressure you." Ugh! Just take the flower.
David Callaway (Robert De Niro) is having a tough time dealing with the apparent suicide of his wife (Amy Irving). His young daughter Emily (Dakota Fanning) also has taken her mother's death very hard retreating into her own little world. As a psychologist David decides the only way to help Emily is to move from the big city to a house in the country. Sure that kind of thing usually works like a charm. Emily does perk up a bit when she finds a new "friend " Charlie who likes to have fun and play hide and seek with her. Of course we can't actually see this new friend but that's beside the point. The imaginary Charlie is still a powerful force in Emily's life instructing her not to talk about him much and hating pretty much everyone else in her life including her dad. In short order bad things start happening--yes the family pet gets whacked--which Emily blames on Charlie. This leaves David wondering how his little girl could have turned so psychotic. But wait. Maybe Charlie isn't imaginary after all but actually a flesh-and-blood malevolent presence. Oh god do you think so?
Why you may ask would an acting icon like Robert De Niro star of such classic movies as Raging Bull and Goodfellas choose such a cheesy film as Hide and Seek? Very good question. Maybe he was drawn into the project based on the premise like the rest of us without realizing how derivative the story would get as things progressed. Of course De Niro plays the confused father--dealing with what could possibly be a demonic child--with a fair amount of finesse. But he's a pro that's what he does. Fanning (I Am Sam) too does the best she can as the sunken-eyed pasty-faced Emily. She sulks around rarely smiles and draws scary pictures of people dying horrible deaths which has now become a prerequisite for any child in a scary movie. In the supporting roles Elisabeth Shue Famke Janssen and Dylan Baker are all pretty much wasted. Shue who hasn't acted in anything major since 2000's Hollow Man makes a brief appearance as a potential paramour for David. Janssen (X-Men) playing David's colleague and Emily's confidante thinks living in isolation is a bad idea (and she's right!). Veteran character actor Baker (Kinsey) takes on the predictable role of the hapless town sheriff who never quite gets he's about to be in a world of hurt.
It is always disappointing when the promise of something potentially creepy turns out to possess the same old tired plot points and scare tactics seen countless times before. Director John Polson--best known for helming Swimfan another predictable stalker-gone-mad thriller--and novice screenwriter Ari Schlossberg don't have the necessary skills to take Hide and Seek above and beyond its conventional trappings. To its small credit the film does build a bit of tension in the beginning as David and Emily skirt around each other trying to grasp onto some kind of normalcy. Then when Emily introduces Charlie you continue to hold out hope that somehow the filmmakers will channel some of M. Night Shyamalan's aura and start really scaring the bejesus out of you. But alas it isn't meant to be. Instead you're sitting there pretty much guessing every move the film is going to make before it happens. When the twist finally comes around--you knew there was a twist right?--it doesn't really surprise you whether you've guess it or not.