Glee, the new musical dramedy series that airs on FOX, is now in its second season (with a third already in the queue) and has found an open (or at least unfilled) niche in evening television. With TV series "best of" lists for the past ten years covered with the likes of The Wire, The Sopranos, Mad Men, West Wing, etc, Glee has filled a fun loving escapist niche in evening entertainment - and it's filled it well.
Nearly all of the award winning television series during the last decade have centered around police officers, attorneys, politics, business men, drugs, violence, sex, and... well, are you starting to see the pattern? Plenty of it results in good television, but sometimes you need to escape. You need something bright, cheerful, and uplifting, and true to name, Glee delivers.
Stirred on by the great success of the reality television escapist giant, American Idol, Glee encourages audiences to kick their shoes off, kick back, and just be entertained. There's no heavy thinking necessary. Glee's base of characters is big, bright, and structured in an almost hyperbolic way guaranteeing that every character is essentially typecast as a stereotype (or an inverted stereotype) that you could find at your local high school. Often they are casted with a small twist, as is
Perhaps the only other non-reality television show to do this successfully during the last 10 years was The Office with Steve Carell, which is now in its seventh season and quite obviously having plenty of success. And while Glee could never be as cheap as The Office to produce (think of all the costumes!) it is currently getting more viewers than any season of The Office ever has (with an average of 9.7 million viewers / show in the first season).
So, in our world of demoralizing twenty-four hour news networks and reality TV that is not afraid to get that much more trashy (how is 16 & Pregnant in a 2nd season?), Glee is most definitely a welcome, bright, humorous boost to an otherwise heavy (if not gloomy) line-up of prime time entertainment.