As the new season begins, we finally learn which of the Glee Club members are Juniors and which are Seniors. Kurt and Rachel decide to apply to NYADA (New York Academy for the Dramatic Arts) while the other seniors also try to figure out what they are going to do upon graduation. Meanwhile, Blaine contemplates leaving Dalton to transfer to McKinley so he and Kurt can spend more time together while they can; and Quinn seems to have gone bad girl over the summer break, quitting the Cheerios. Things are also getting more serious for Will and Emma, and Sue contemplates a political career.
This season we get a bunch of new characters, including those played by the four winners of the first season of The Glee Project: Irish exchange student Rory Flanagan, Christian Joe Hart, ambitious Harmony and cross-dressing Wade ‘Unique’ Adams. While I wasn’t overly impressed with Joe or Unique, I found Rory and Harmony to have the most potential. Also new to the show are the tone-deaf, self-diagnosed with Asberger’s, Sugar Motta, and synchronized swim coach Coach Roz Washington. The character of Sugar is a great addition to the show—she’s a lot of fun!
There’s also some big guest stars this season, including the return of Idina Menzel and Jonathan Groff. While some of the guests felt like stunt casting—James Lipton, Lindsay Lohan, and Perez Hilton—there were others that were a welcome addition: Matt Bomer, Whoopi Goldberg, Ricky Martin, Rex Lee, Jeff Goldblum, Brian Stokes Mitchell and Gloria Estefan.
One of the major problems Glee had the first two seasons was continuity from episode to episode. This season they revamped the writers room and there was a remarkable difference in this regard. Even plotlines that were dropped in the first season were revisited this season, and things that happened in one episode weren’t immediately ignored or reset in the next. This season, we also see more character development this for some of the characters that have been somewhat ignored in the past, like Coach Bieste, Tina, Mike Chang, Mercedes and Santana. We even finally get to see both Mike Chang and Coach Bieste sing this year—who knew they could sing?!
There were some notable episodes this season: the Whitney Houston tribute episode “Dance With Somebody”, the Mike Chang centric “Asian F”, the Michael Jackson tribute “Michael”, the body-switching episode “Props”, “Dance with Somebody”, the trip to NYC episode “Choke”, and the emotional season finale “Goodbye”. There was also a special Christmas episode, “Extraordinary Merry Christmas”, which was a throwback to the Christmas specials in the early days of TV. Others may have enjoyed this, but I personally found it to be my least favorite Glee episode of the series.
This season, Glee continues to tackle the usual high school problems and does fairly well with these. However, it’s when they try to tackle more serious topics such as Teen Suicide and Domestic Abuse, that it comes off a bit little hokey. There are a few other plot lines that I didn’t really care for—such as Sue suddenly wanting a baby. But, there are also a lot of fun moments and episodes this season, and re-watching episodes on this set, I found myself less irritated by some of the things that I didn’t like when I first watched the season as it aired.
As with past seasons, the third season continues to bring a lot of great music, especially in the “Nationals” episode, which had some of my favorite performances. I’m usually happy with the music as long as they keep the mike and dancing shoes away from Will. The series does great when it covers pop or musical theater songs, but I have always found the themed episodes to be a mixed bag. And this season, I wasn’t really a fan of the songs chosen for Latin-themed “The Spanish Teacher” or the disco-themed “Saturday Night Glee-ver”, but I did enjoy the songs in the Michael Jackson themed “Michael”, probably more than the original versions!
Since half the cast is graduating this year, this is the final season these characters will all be performing together. The emotional season finale does a great job wrapping up these characters and setting them up for next season. It also rewards loyal fans by giving them a lot of allusions and callbacks to the first season.
What’s Included on the Blu-ray:
- All 22 episodes of Season 3
- Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1, English DD 5.1
- English SDH, Spanish & French subtitles
- Glee Music Jukebox
Each disc contains this feature. It gives a list of all of the musical performances in each of the episodes contained on that disc. There are Play All and Shuffle options, and you can select an individual song to just view that performance.
- Glee Under The Stars (7:45)
Clips from a Q&A with the cast and producers at Santa Monica High School
- Ginger Supremacists – Extended Scene (4:05)
Extended version of scene where Will meets Emma’s parents.
- Sue Flashback – Deleted Scene (2:43)
Flashback to a 15-year-old Susie Sylvester appearing in a school production of Oklahoma, and receiving a bad review in the school paper.
- “Santa Baby” – Deleted Scene (3:50)
Santana helps Finn shop for a gift for Rachel and sings Santa Baby to try to get a deal at the Diamond Basement.
- Glee Give a Note (7:46)
Featurette on the Culver City Middle School, which was a recipient of a check for $10,000 towards their musical theater program from the Glee Give a Note program.
- Glee Swap: Behind the Scenes of “Props” (5:41)
Behind the scenes look at the making of one of the season’s funnest episodes.
- Meet the Newbies (13:20)
Interviews with this season’s new cast members including The Glee Project winners Damian McGinty (“Rory Flanagan”), Samuel Larson (“Joe Hart”), Lindsay Pearce (“Harmony”) and Alex Newell (“Wade ‘Unique’ Adams”). Rounding out the new cast are Vanessa Lengies (“Sugar Motta”) and NeNe Leakes (“Coach Roz Washington”).
- Saying Goodbye (15:19)
Featurette on making the season finale, with the entire cast shooting together in the choir room for the last time.
- Ask Sue: World Domination Blog (6:07)
Sue answers questions from fans of her blog.
- Return of Sue’s Quips (2:58)
Montage of Sue’s insults, nicknames and one-liners.
One great feature of the blu-ray is that it includes a season play option that keeps track of where you are in the season, so you can easily pick up from where you left off. I originally watched this show on the FOX HD channel, and this Blu-ray looks even better. The picture is incredibly crisp and detailed and the sound is great.
This extras on the set are pretty solid. The Music Jukebox feature is great for those who just want to listen to or see the musical performances. And the featurettes are entertaining and interesting, especially those about the “Props” and “Goodbye” episodes. The only thing I really found missing was cast/creator commentary on at least some of the episodes, and it would have been nice to maybe have a featurette summarizing the first season of The Glee Project and how the actors got to be on the show.
I would definitely recommend this set for fans of Glee. For casual viewers, there’s a lot of great music and some really fun moments and episodes that may be worth checking out.