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Glee: Season 4

FOX

Premieres Thursday @ 9p

There has been much discussion in the press over the last year or so about how “Glee” would be handling the batch of very talented graduating seniors as the story of this Ohio high school glee club went forward.  As the series returns this week, Rachel is already in New York studying her craft under the likes of guest stars Kate Hudson and Whoopi Goldberg.  As Rachel’s world in New York is built up (including a handsome straight boy who sings in her co-ed shower), the series is slightly favoring the kids back in Lima, Ohio, where the Glee Club is holding auditions for new talent.

The new kids on the block are a refreshing addition to the cast and are bringing new life to the series.  Some are rather…familiar, but in a really good way.  Other characters have just gone away (Puck, Coach Beast, Santana) but I imagine we will see them or hear explanations very soon.

Beyond the split locales and new blood, however, the series is getting back to its roots with the darker side of teenage lives – kids who are mean for fun and kids who are mean just to keep themselves safe and in the good graces of the popular mafia.  And in that way the musical interludes are all these students have in the way of a brief respite from reality.  That, and their friends, new and old, who are a most welcome sign of Fall.