“Glee” may be ratings gold for Fox, but that didn’t prevent it from experiencing a bit of a sophomore slump in the eyes of critics and fans alike this past year.
As Season 2 progressed, doubtful buzz about the show hummed louder and louder: Where was the heart from Season 1? Why so many theme episodes? What’s with storylines disappearing to make room for big, disconnected production numbers?
The folks running the show are hoping an overhaul of the writing and production teams will smooth out some of these wrinkles, and they’ve hired six new writers to get the job done.
This is a substantial addition to “Glee’s” writing staff, which for the past two years has consisted of just three masterminds: series creator Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Ian Brennan. It was an unusual setup to bypass the convention of a writers’ room in the first place, but there was the added weight of producing musical numbers that required choreography, music supervision, and occasionally even songwriting. It’s no wonder the quality of the show eventually suffered with such a small creative team keeping it afloat.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the new staff of entertainment veterans will begin work Monday. They include co-executive producer Allison Adler, consulting producers Michael Hitchcock and Marti Noxon, co-producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, and staff writers Matt Hodgson and Ross Maxwell.
Murphy recognizes the need for adjustments, telling THR, “What I have learned form this season is I think people want story arcs.” He cited Season 1’s pregnancy storyline as an example of a serialized plotline that was absent in Season 2.
Murphy added that Season 3 will highlight new students at McKinley High that will eventually become the main players once our current favorites graduate next spring.
With fresh faces both on camera and at the writers’ table, it will be interesting to see if the show can keep hold onto the tight-knit feel it created so well in the beginning. In addition to the lack of compelling, extended storylines, last season was marked by inconsistency in character development. The kids’ multi-dimensional personalities fell to the wayside as the writers seemed to ditch organic stories in order to squeeze in songs that would make exciting production numbers.
Hopefully the new creative team will recapture some of the daring wit and dark humor the show began with. The characters – including Schue and Emma – were more deeply and hilariously flawed than has been displayed recently. Remember when Schue planted weed on Finn in the pilot in order to blackmail him to join New Directions? That guy has gone soft. The desperation and extremism altogether cray-cray that the characters originally were driven by needs to make a return. In other words, they all need the Sue treatment.
We’ll stick it out to see if Glee can reclaim the magic that got us addicted in the first place. If the writers can stop stunt-casting songs and revisit the characters we fell in love with, they’ll be on the right track.