Glee is an American musical comedy-drama television series that aired on the Fox network in the United States from May 19, 2009, to March 20, 2015. It focuses on the fictitious William McKinley High School glee club, New Directions, which competes on the show choir competition circuit while its disparate members deal with social issues, especially regarding sexuality and race, relationships, and learning to become an effective team. The initial twelve-member cast included club director and Spanish teacher Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison), cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch), guidance counselor Emma Pillsbury (Jayma Mays), Will’s wife Terri (Jessalyn Gilsig), and eight club members played by Dianna Agron, Chris Colfer, Kevin McHale, Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, Amber Riley, Mark Salling, and Jenna Ushkowitz. In subsequent seasons, the main cast has expanded to fourteen and fifteen members.
The series was created by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Ian Brennan, the latter of whom first conceived of Glee as a film. The three wrote all of the show’s episodes for the first two seasons, and Murphy and Falchuk initially served as the show’s main directors. The pilot episode was broadcast on May 19, 2009, and the first season aired from September 9, 2009, to June 8, 2010. Subsequent seasons aired in September through May. The sixth and final season aired from January to March 2015. Glee features on-screen performance-based musical numbers that were selected by Murphy, who aimed to maintain a balance between show tunes and chart hits, and produced by Adam Anders and Peer Åström. Songs covered in the show were released through the iTunes Store during the week of broadcast, and a series of Glee albums have been released by Columbia Records. The music of Glee has been a commercial success, with over thirty-six million digital single sales and eleven million album sales worldwide through October 2011. The series’ merchandise also includes DVD and Blu-ray releases, an iPad application, and karaoke games for the Wii. There were live concert tours by the show’s cast after the first and second seasons completed shooting; a concert film based on the 2011 tour, Glee: The 3D Concert Movie, was produced by Murphy and Fox and directed by Kevin Tancharoen.
During its first season, Glee received generally favorable reviews from critics, with Metacritic’s weighted average of 77 out of 100 based on eighteen critical reviews. The season was nominated for nineteen Emmy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards, six Satellite Awards and fifty-seven other awards, with wins including the 2010 Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy, and Emmy awards for Jane Lynch, guest-star Neil Patrick Harris and Murphy’s direction of the pilot episode. In 2011, the show once again won the Golden Globe for Best Television Series, and Jane Lynch and Chris Colfer won Golden Globes for Best Supporting Actress and Best Supporting Actor respectively, and Gwyneth Paltrow won the Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series. The show was also chosen by Fox to fill the coveted time slot that followed the network’s coverage of Super Bowl XLV in 2011.
On October 17, 2013, in the wake of the death of Cory Monteith three months prior, and one week after his tribute episode “The Quarterback” aired, Murphy announced that the sixth season would be the final one of the series. After 121 episodes and over 728 music performances, Glee came to an end on March 20, 2015.