Despite their loss at the Regionals, the kids in New Directions are more motivated than ever. And whether it's Will doing a sexy tango with a substitute teacher (Gwyneth Paltrow), Sue joining the glee club, or everyone catching Bieber fever, the excitement at William McKinley High School is keeping everyone on their toes. With more incredible musical numbers, hugely popular guest stars like John Stamos, Carol Burnett and Kristin Chenowith and lots of behind-the-scenes special features, Glee Season 2 hits all the right notes.
The season is an uneven one, losing steam with the Britney Spears tribute episode and some excruciating plot lines, then having slightly more success with themed episodes (The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Christmas, and the cleverly handled episode involving Justin Bieber, of all people). Fresh energy came from the new students, guest star Gwyneth Paltrow as substitute teacher Holly Holliday, and new football coach Beiste (Dot-Marie Jones), who even inspires a temporary alliance between Will and Sue (Jane Lynch). The show relied less on Broadway tunes and more on classic rock and contemporary pop (Lady Antebellum, Queen, Fleetwood Mac, Lady Gaga) and even introduced its own original songs, the best of which ("Get It Right," "Loser Like Me") are unveiled in the regionals. Morrison and Michele aren't featured nearly as prominently as they were in the first season, but Michele still crushes her big numbers like "Get It Right" and Katy Perry's "Firework," and she participates in dazzling duets with Amber Riley ("Take Me for What I Am") and Agron ("Unpretty/I Feel Pretty"). Other showstopping moments from the season include Rivera's "Valerie," Rivera and Riley's "River Deep, Mountain High," Overstreet and Agron's "Lucky," Paltrow's "Forget You" and "Landslide," the group rendition of My Chemical Romance's "Sing," and almost anything by the Warblers (voiced by Tufts University's Beelzebubs), especially Pink's "Raise Your Glass" and Neon Trees' "Animal." (Parental discretion advised due to mature themes) --David Horiuchi