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  • GleeCastI’ve watched network TV my entire life. I gawked at “Twin Peaks,” “24,” “Dallas,” “Millennium,” “The X-Files,” and I think the six seasons of “Lost” rank among the best ever on television. But, “Glee” has me positively giddy.

    It’s been on just one season, and though I didn’t really begin watching it until their so-called “Madonna” episode, I have been entranced since then.

    There’s never been anything like it on TV before, and it really does hold up amid all the hype. I guess I’m one of those cynical warriors who believe nothing can ever hold up amid so much hype.

    Truth is, I’m usually right, but this show instantly breaks that rule. The writing and acting are just so different and so above the usual, it’s magically compelling and captivating.

    I found myself actually caring about these characters. I guess the most riveting angle is that this show was created by Ryan Murphy, who was responsible for creating “Nip/Tuck.” I loved and loved that show until it went off the air earlier this year.

    The two rather-dysfunctional plastic surgeons took such twists and turns that even I blinked more than once.

    The show’s finale hit nerves that hadn’t been hit for far too long, and its use of Art Garfunkel’s song, “All I Know,” may well have looked odd on paper, but as with most of the music used on the show’s run, it fit oh-so-perfectly.

    “Glee’s” plot essentially revolves around high school Spanish teacher Will Schuester (played by Broadway-vet Matthew Morrison), who takes over a pathetic glee club filled with pathetic losers and tries to whip them into shape.

    glee-cast Nemesis Sue Sylvester (awesomely played by Jane Lynch) fears the club will usurp all the glory from her beloved Cheerios squad.

    According to Murphy, in a piece in Rolling Stone several months back, “it’s four acts of darkness that take a turn and have two acts of sweetness. It’s about there being great joy to being different, and great pain. Let’s give people a happy ending.”

    Now, on paper, this doesn’t look like it could work at all. In fact, Murphy claims when he first showed it to Fox, they asked “what the hell is this?”

    Well, it does work, by way of outstanding acting and very, very good writing.

    Certainly the actors chosen to play the various characters are just spot-on perfect.

    Morrison, who I missed along the Broadway-way, is superb; he channels just the right amount of comedic reaction mixed with a devastating amount of pathos and care.

    He’s that good.

    In fact, in the most recent show, he danced and sang Vanilla Ice’s “Ice, Ice Baby,” and though I wanted to laugh, I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen; he’s that good!

    Lea Michele, who essays the rather ambitious ‘Rachel Berry’ on the show, has much of the screen time, and she is as perfect in the role as anyone I’ve ever seen.

    Also, Dianna Agron as Quinn and Cory Monteith as Finn anchor the superb cast.

    Usually the show selects several songs for the entire ensemble to portray and they all perform, and quite well, too.

    The Madonna show tapped many songs from her catalog, including a near-perfect video version of “Vogue,” performed by Lynch and the cast.

    It was dazzling and reminded at least this viewer, how good the original version of the song and the video were.

    The following week, guest Kristen Chenoweth, continued the run mashing up a number of songs by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, such as “A House Is Not A Home” with “One Less Bell To Answer.”

    The pairing again didn’t look right on paper, but was perfect.

    Interesting to note that Chenoweth that week opened on Broadway in Neil Simon’s Promises, Promises. A perfect storm, if ever!

    This show evidences the same degree of heart and art that I found in the recently deceased show “Ugly Betty.” If you haven’t watched “Glee,” make a point too; It’s that good!

    Names in the News

    Joel Diamond, James Edstrom, Mark Bego, Steve Walter, Shep Pettibone, Mark Berry, Marcia Habbib, Cory Robbins, David Salidor, Victor Kastel, Aneglo Babbaro, Daniel Glass, Tom Cuddy, Deb Caponetta, Keisha1, Richie Kaczor