Saturday, November 29, 2014

Glee - Season 5 Review

US Airdate: September 26th 2013-May 13th 2014

The series hits a hundred episodes and commemorates the passing one of their leads.

Broadway Or Bust: I should've reviewed this season earlier but I've been busy and due to the fact that more spoilers are emerging for the final season, I'm getting around to it now. I've got to be honest - the fifth season of this show is without a doubt the weakest season we've had and maybe it was the tragic passing of actor Cory Monteith or other stuff behind the scenes, but part of the reason why this season doesn't seem to work is because it feels all over the place to be honest.

Getting back to Cory Monteith first - I am grateful that the show gave his character, Finn an appropriate tribute episode with The Quarterback, an episode both powerful and extremely uncomfortable to watch (I've literally only seen it once). It was a suitable nod to one of the show's most prominent character to boot.

However aside from the tribute episode, there's only really a handful of episodes that are really worth watching again. The opening episode, Love, Love, Love was probably the better of the Beatle tribute episodes (along with that Kurt/Blaine proposal) and Previously Unaired Christmas was easily the best (and least saccharine) festive offering the show has given us. Add into the mix a bisexual gigola hunky Santa in Bryce Johnson and it's an almost perfect episode.

The highlight of the season though would be the 100 and New Directions two parter. The former for bringing back many of the past characters (Quinn and Puck being the obvious examples as Mercedes was brought back earlier in the season), celebrating a 100 episodes and of course, writing out the second generation of kids and shutting the doors of McKinley, though now we know the place will be returning properly for the sixth season anyways. As episodes, they're probably the most fun the show has had in a long time and the remaining seven episodes following them just don't hit the mark either, except the penultimate episode written by Chis Colfer, which turned out to be a surprise gem.

In fact most of this season seems to be marred - first by a tiresome feud with Rachel and Santana which lasts about two episodes longer than necessary. Santana herself is actually savagely underused in this season, even to the point where she was written out in the finale and the relationship she's given with Demi Lovato's character, Dani doesn't really go anywhere. Similarly, her reunion with Brittany, while sweet is also somewhat rushed and unexplored as well. It also doesn't help that both Will and Sue also feel there at times, the Blaine and Sam bromance felt like it was pandering to the Tumblr crowd and it's a shame that Adam Lambert didn't get more to do, though his stint as Elliot was fun to watch.

Also the tribute and special episodes don't seem to have the same effect as well. One where the group are divided into either Katy Perrys or Lady Gagas reeked of scraping the barrel as did the ode to twerking while Bash for all it's good intentions of highlighting gay bashing was something that also didn't quite hit the mark either. Plus, the less said about the episode, Tested, the better right? Definitely one to erase from the memory banks there.

Much as I enjoy this series in general and as much as it will probably be Ryan Murphy's most successful offering (with American Horror Story not far behind), there's not actually a lot to recommend about this season. It's definitely the weakest, save a few episodes and too often at times too focused on Rachel's ambitions which take in both Broadway and a television career as well (also complete with a Lena Dunham style writer trying to mine a TV show from Rachel's life) and the finale is definitely the weakest of the bunch.

With a reduced final season to 13 episodes, hopefully the series can regain some focus and spread the love a bit with it's core characters because this season certainly could've benefitted from that.

DVD Extras: A feature on the show's 100th episode as well as the features Glee in the City and Glee Music Jukebox. Not really anything too exciting there.

Episode Ratings

5x01: Love, Love, Love = 7/10, 5x02: Tina In The Sky With Diamonds = 6/10,
5x03: The Quarterback = 8/10, 5x04: A Katy Or A Gaga = 6/10,
5x05: The End Of Twerk = 7/10, 5x06: Movin' On = 7/10,
5x07: Puppet Master = 7/10, 5x08: Previously Unaired Christmas = 9/10,
5x09: Frenemies = 6/10, 5x10: Trio = 7/10
5x11: City Of Angels = 8/10, 5x12: 100 = 9/10,
5x13: New Directions = 8/10, 5x14: New New York = 7/10,
5x15: Bash = 7/10, 5x16: Tested = 4/10,
5x17: Opening Night = 7/10, 5x18: The Back Up Plan = 7/10,
5x19: Old Dogs, New Tricks = 8/10, 5x20: The Untitled Rachel Berry Project = 5/10

Glee Season 5 is currently available on DVD.

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