Every once in a while you see a show you like so much it scares you. Scares you because, as a TV critic, you're always looking for something original, something clever, something you haven't quite seen before. Such a show is Glee.
The new Fox musical comedy gets a sneak peak next Tuesday at 9 right after the season performance finale of American Idol. Here's a promo clip:
Why it scares me is that often, what critics want or seek is a little out of left field and not always hit material. Arrested Development was the classic example. All of us raved, but after a while, all those smash reviews about the smarted comedy on television went down like "eat your vegetables" talk for regular TV viewers.
I'm hoping that isn't the case with Glee. The music alone is so mainstream that it should connect with viewers. Getting previewed right after Idol is also a great way to get it in front of as many people as possible.
Creator Ryan Murphy seems like the last guy in the world to be behind this sunny, smart, positive show. He's the writer/director/producer behind the dark, twisted drama Nip/Tuck. But in a way he's perfect, bringing an edge and a savvy sensibility to a genre that could use a blast of both: musical comedy. Idealists will love Glee, but so will cynics. What other show does that?
I wrote about Murphy and Glee in today's column for the Canadian Press. You can read the full article here. Left out of that story was how the series will unfold once it returns next September as a regular weekly series. Murphy addressed that last week in a Fox conference call with critics. The pilot features six high school glee club members, a real rag-tag, misfit group. "What happens after you see the pilot," says Murphy, "is there are six kids who are in the glee club, and what we find out is that you need 12 to go to regionals and nationals. The first five episodes particularly are about the teachers hunt to find those kids from all different walks of life in the school. So six new characters come on board from all different walks of life. Then at the end, I think in episode four, you have your core group of 12."
Murphy says he's already been approached about turning the series into something else.
"I already have a offer to turn it into a movie," he says, "and there's somebody who already wants to turn it into a Broadway show, and also there's somebody who wants to turn it into an ice-skating show."
As Murphy says, let's see if it clicks first on TV.