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Glee: The Complete Fifth Season DVD review

The hit musical comedy drama makes some big changes in its penultimate season.

Glee season 5

Glee: The Complete Fifth Season continues to divide the storylines across Rachel (Lea Michele), Kurt (Chris Colfer) and Santana’s (Naya Rivera) adventures in New York and the continuation of New Directions at McKinley High which is a mixture of original characters and characters introduced during the show’s fourth season. Over the course of the season more characters move over to New York once they graduate from McKinley.

The fifth season of Glee was dealt a severe blow when Cory Monteith died following an overdose before filming. The death of the actor, who played Finn in the show, delayed production and saw the season reduced from 22 to 20 episodes. As the creative team reworked the storylines, they made the decision to kill off Finn which served up one of the show’s greatest episodes The Quarterback. How any of the cast got through the filming of that episode is beyond us and be prepared to have plenty of tissues to hand.

It’s safe to say that Glee had a very difficult fifth season. Ratings for the show dropped from season 4’s highs of 7 million viewers in the US to less than 2 million for the season 5 finale. One of the problems with Glee has always been the rush of storylines. That is something that still continues to plague the show in its fifth season and could be partly responsible for the show’s plummet in the ratings. Some of the characters do some things that simply don’t ring true and unfortunately it’s Rachel who the writers severely muck up over the course of the season. From day one on the show Rachel has always wanted to be a Broadway star and this season she gets her shot but the way things play out is really disappointing.

Having said that though there is still plenty to enjoy. If you embrace the weird and wacky, which Glee does very well, the decision to focus purely on the New York storyline for the season’s last 7 episodes is one that paid off. It reminds you why you fell in love with the show in the first place but more importantly focuses on the characters you really care about. Rachel and Kurt have always been the main characters and getting to spend more time with them is always good.

In the second half of the season Blaine (Darren Criss), Sam (Chord Overstreet), Artie (Kevin McHale) and Mercedes (Amber Riley) all make their way to New York and it gives the show a new dynamic. Having Mercedes back properly was definitely a smart move and reuniting Blaine with Kurt serves up plenty of drama and really created an opportunity to explore their relationship, particularly given that they get engaged in the season opener.

There are guest stars aplenty too in the season. Adam Lambert really impresses as Elliott ‘Starchild’ Gilbert, a new friend of Kurt’s, and Demi Lovato is great too despite being drastically under-used. Gwyneth Paltrow and Kristen Chenoweth return to reprise their roles from previous seasons too and it’s nice to have them back.

Special features on the release include a featurette celebrating the show reaching 100 episodes, a music jukebox and a behind-the-scenes look at the New York storylines of the show.

Glee: The Complete Fifth Season is an enjoyable and entertaining watch. Despite its flaws, which are all too apparent this season, there is still plenty to sink your teeth into. The music, as always, is superb and the cast gets through a hell of a lot of songs in 20 episodes. The death of Cory Monteith definitely affects the season and his presence is very much missed. Glee’s final season will kick off early 2015 so make the most of the show before it’s gone for good.

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