Oh, Marti Noxon, you had fun writing this one didn't you. The Buffy vet, who serves as a consulting producer on Glee this season, made her episodic writing debut with "Extraordinary Merry Christmas," a near-plotless throwback to The Judy Garland Show's boozy, high-as-a-kite holiday special (and old-timey variety specials in general). And why not? Last season, they turned Sue into the Grinch (literally) and gave Artie fake legs (literally). Why not deliver a holly-jolly Christmas by serving up some Yuletide chestnuts and the best of '60s TV (accents! corny jokes! canned laughter!)?
But in case you missed the story stuff, or forgot it, or blocked it, here's what you need to know: Mr. Schue picks Artie to direct a throwback Christmas special for Lima's cable-access station, which interferes with the glee club's promise to help Sue serve at a homeless shelter (this year, she's the anti-Grinch), but they show up anyway to sing...
Historically, horror hasn't scared up a great track record on TV. Supernatural series? Yes. Terrifying ones? No. The good news for FX, which on Wednesday launches American Horror Story, is that audiences seem to be growing braver. Millions have dared to peek out from behind their fingers, making hits out of The Walking Dead and True Blood. Even when Nip/Tuck dipped its scalpels into overt horror -- terrorizing us with sadistic serial killer The Carver -- it drew record numbers to FX.
But do viewers have the stomach for a haunted house dreamed up by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, who gave us both Glee and Nip/Tuck?
Here's what Glee boss Ryan Murphy says he likes about his new team of writers: "We hired people who will read scenes and scripts and go, 'We can do better, let's change that. Like, they'll literally say, 'You know what? We don't wanna do that with Mercedes. No one wants to f---ing see that.'"
That may sound extreme, but to help plot out what will be senior year for most of the McKinley High glee clubbers, Murphy says he specifically sought out writers with "big opinions" about the show. Why? Because the second season of Glee had been hit with its own kind of Slushee and was in need of cleaning up.
There are many reasons the Internet exploded when it was announced in June that Buffy the Vampire Slayer executive producer and fanboy favorite Marti Noxon had joined the writing staff of Glee: She has plenty of cult cred, thanks to her days working alongside Joss Whedon, but her resume is also littered with top dramas including Mad Men, Private Practice, Grey's Anatomy and Brothers & Sisters.
"Geeks and musical nerds are all the same people," she says. "There were only so many places to hide in high school: One was the A/V club and the other was the drama club. In Glee, the two meet so beautifully."
Is Darren Criss, better known as lead Warbler Blaine on Glee, headed for Broadway? Does he know if Blaine is a senior, and thus headed for graduation? What does he think about creator Ryan Murphy's decision to graduate stars like Lea Michele and Chris Colfer off the show anyways?
TVGuide.com caught up with Criss on the eve of Glee's Sunday Comic-Con panel and attempted to get answers: