Tuesday night marks a majorly significant occasion for all fans of “Glee” — the end of the show’s third season, and the graduation of at least seven (but likely eight) characters from McKinley High School. This will bring about a major changing of the guard for the way in which the show operates, and with that we have to ask the inevitable question — just what should change for season 4 to make this better?
From a creative standpoint, season 3 was somewhere in between a stellar first season and a second year that was so disjointed we barely even remember what happened. It started with a great deal of promise, and just about everyone had their due — since that time, however, it has been bogged down a bit with tributes, excess musical numbers, and distractions from what we want to hear before the characters graduate.
Much of this can be changed prior to the start of season 4 — just as long as the following steps are taken.
1. Finish What You Start
Even though many of these loose ends may still be tied up in the finale, it’s unusual that there are so many stories on this show that never really go anywhere. The examples? Mercedes’ personal life, Artie’s passion for directing, Sue’s baby, and Rory’s relationship with Sugar.
It’s natural for shows to think of ideas only to not be able to go through with them fully, but “Glee” does this more than any other show. It’s also interesting that Puck and Quinn spent most of the first half of the season talking about their daughter constantly, but now they don’t bother with it at all.
2. Cutting down the characters
This really goes hand-in-hand with the last statement. By investing us in so many characters, “Glee” has forced itself to stretch further than it needs to. When you have over a dozen people to keep track of in a show that has so little storytelling space thanks to musical numbers, you can’t go 6-8 weeks without really hearing from someone.
Since executive producer Ryan Murphy has pretty much committed himself at this point to going to New York, he should plan it out accordingly. Finn, Rachel, Kurt, and to an extent Blaine (so long as he and Kurt stay together) should be the focus of season 4. Everyone else that re-enters the McKinley picture should come as just an extension of their stories. Will it be sad to have to say goodbye to so many faces? Sure, but it would also be a disservice to try and cram stories from all of the McKinley student body (along with the recent graduates) in on a show that is going to inevitably introduce a score of new characters thanks to its setting change.
3. Fewer musical numbers
If there is one thing that “Smash” does correctly (and this may be the only thing after a mess of a first season), it is only putting in a few songs over the course of their episode. It makes the numbers mean something, and not just a way to sell singles on iTunes.
Episodes with more than six numbers should be a thing of the past for this show, and it should go back to the first half of season 1 (the golden age of the show) when really 4-5 numbers was all we got in favor of good story. The characters and the humor made us love “Glee” in the first place and it feels smart to return to this.
What do you think needs to be done to give “Glee” the best season 4 it can? Feel free to share some of your thoughts in a comment below!