Glee is an American musical comedy-drama television series that airs on Fox in the United States. It focuses on a high school glee club called "New Directions", at the fictional William McKinley High School in Lima, Ohio. The pilot episode of the show was broadcast after American Idol on May 19, 2009, and the first season began airing on September 9, 2009.
Glee aired its mid-season finale on December 9, 2009 and is currently on a 4-month hiatus before returning on April 13, 2010 with the remaining 9 episodes of the season. The show's creators Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Ian Brennan first conceived Glee as a film. Murphy selects the series' music, maintaining a balance between show tunes and chart hits.
Songs covered in the show are released on iTunes during the week of broadcast, and a series of Glee albums will be released through Columbia Records, beginning with Glee: The Music, Volume 1, which was released on November 3, 2009. The music of Glee has been a commercial success, with over two million digital sales. The show has received generally positive reviews from critics.
Although Alessandra Stanley in The New York Times highlighted the pilot episode's unoriginality and stereotyped characters, she praised the showmanship and talent of the cast. David Hinckley in The Daily News opined that the show was imperfect and implausible but "potentially heartwarming", while Mary McNamara for the Los Angeles Times wrote that Glee had a wide audience appeal, calling it "the first show in a long time that's just plain full-throttle, no-guilty-pleasure-rationalizations-necessary fun." The series won the 2010 Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series—Musical or Comedy and received three additional nominations for Best Actress , Best Actor , and Best Supporting Actress . Glee was created by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan.
Brennan conceived the idea for Glee based on his own experience as a member of the Prospect High School show choir. He completed the script in 2005, but could not generate interest in the project for several years. The script was entirely re-written, and was picked up by Fox within 15 hours of being received, which Murphy attributes in part to the success of the network's American Idol, commenting: "It made sense for the network with the biggest hit in TV, which is a musical, to do something in that vein".
The series features covers of numerous songs sung on-screen by the characters. Musical segments typically take the form of performances, as opposed to the characters singing spontaneously, as the intention is for the series to remain reality-based. Song choices are integral to script development, with Murphy explaining: "Each episode has a theme at its core. They loved that this show was about optimism and young kids, for the most part, reinterpreting their classics for a new audience." Composer and musician Billy Joel offered many of his songs for use on the show, There will be a series of Glee albums released through Columbia Records. The first, Glee: The Music, Volume 1, was released on November 3, 2009. Songs featured on the show are available for digital download through iTunes up to two weeks before new episodes air, and through other digital outlets and mobile carriers a week later.
The score of the show features a cappella covers of instrumental songs, provided in the pilot episode by The Swingle Singers. Glee is choreographed by Zach Woodlee, and features five to eight production numbers per episode. Once Murphy selects a song, rights are cleared with its publishers by music supervisor P.J.