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Why I'm Cautiously Optimistic About The Final Season of Glee

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Glee returns for its final season tonight on Fox. Will once diehard Gleeks like me be tuning in for the homecoming?

During its early seasons, Glee was a show I didn’t miss. The songs were fantastic and I loved the original cast of characters.

From the teachers: Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison), Emma Pillsbury (Jayma Mays) and Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch), to the original Glee club members: Quinn (Dianna Agron) Mercedes (Amber Riley), Santana (Naya Rivera), Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz), Brittany (Heather Morris), Mike (Harry Shun Jr.), Artie (Kevin McHale), Kurt (Chris Colfer) Finn (Cory Monteith) and of course Puck (Mark Salling) everyone was perfectly cast — including my least favorite character, Rachel Berry (Lea Michele). There was something magical about Glee’s early years.

Even though Blaine (Darren Criss) and Sam (Chord Overstreet) weren’t original Glee club members, creator Ryan Murphy incorporated them seamlessly into the story. I can’t imagine Glee without them.

Like other Ryan Murphy shows before it, Glee went downhill after the second season. The quality of the writing suffered greatly.

What was once a story about a group of underdog misfits finding a place to fit in, became something different. Extremely talented characters and their portrayers, like Mercedes/Amber Riley, were often neglected in favor of a stronger emphasis on Rachel. There is nothing wrong with a TV writer having a muse, but after Finn bade Rachel goodbye at the train station, so she could pursue her Broadway dream Glee wasn't the same.

I tuned in initially for Glee’s Big Apple years, but other than Kurt and bad-ass Santana I wasn’t invested. Back at McKinley High, the new crop of Glee club members never felt right. I blame the show for not integrating them correctly.

Compared to Grey’s Anatomy—which also introduced a new class of interns around the same time—the introduction of the new Glee club was jarring. Supposedly many of them had been at the school for a some time, though we’d never seen them. All of a sudden we were supposed to care about these new singing faces.

Marley (Melissa Benoist) and Ryder (Blake Jenner) were no Finn and Rachel. Unique (Alex Newell) had pipes, but wasn’t Mercedes. Puck’s younger brother Jake (Jacob Artist) was the best of the “new class”, but Glee never recaptured its original magic.

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The last time I watched Glee was to bid farewell to Finn after Cory Monteith died. It was a touching memorial to a great character and a fine actor.

Tonight Glee kicks off its final season. Rachel and Kurt are back where it all began — rebooting the Glee club at McKinley High. Based on the previews, they will face off with Sue Sylvester, which is never a bad thing!

The alums have their work cut out for them. The arts have vanished from the school. Blaine is leading The Warblers and Mr. Schuester is leading Vocal Adrenaline. Of course there are new students auditioning for Glee club, but for me the final season is all about getting one last chance to reconnect with the original characters.

I have reason to be optimistic. Variety’s headline for the new season is “Glee Kicks Off Final Season on High Note.” I would like nothing more than to see Glee do just that.

Did you stick with Glee through its entire run, or, like me, did you lose interest over the years? Will you be there for its swan song?

Check out previews for tonight’s return of Glee below!