Remote Patrol: "Glee"
Ryan Murphy's main contribution to pop culture thus far has been Nip/Tuck, an increasingly sleazy and depressing meditation on our culture's obsession with sex and self-image.
Murphy's latest show offers a significantly brighter outlook. Glee tells the tale of Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison), a teacher at McKinley High School - Canton, presumably - who attempts to revive the glee club that brought him so much joy as a student. His obstacles include dorky recruits with questionable talents, his controlling wife Terri (Jessalyn Gilsig) and a power-hungry cheerleading coach (Jane Lynch) bent on sabotage.
He's also battling urges to cheat with smitten guidance counselor Emma (Jayma Mays) and blackmailing the golden-voiced star QB (Cory Monteith) into joining glee club.
The show's plot turns are mostly predictable, though Terri's behavior in the second episode showed that Glee might give its one-note characters some more depth than initially expected. Good! The show would do well to avoid simplistic "good guys vs. bad guys" tropes.
The real selling point here, though, is the plentiful musical sequences. Even when the characters supposedly deliver a poor performance, every solo and harmony zips with ProTools precision, making for glossy but usually enjoyable entertainment. It's a hook that might reel in quite a few folks who are rightly skeptical about the serviceable but less than monumental storylines.
9 p.m. Wednesdays, Fox