Football coach rivals Sue Sylvester
Glee is returning to US screens for its sophomore year with a new American football coach, two new ear- and eye-catching students, and an identity crisis for big man on campus Finn.
"Let's show them how down we are," says glee club director Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison) in the first episode, challenging his students to stage a number that will persuade others to join the club branded as a way station for losers.
Instead, the hour itself verges on being a downer. Will goes to the dark side with cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester, Rachel becomes even more self-absorbed and a molestation accusation is played, literally, with a wink.
But there's still joy to be had in the series that was nominated for a best comedy Emmy Award, as the glee clubbers make the most of Empire State Of Mind and Lea Michele, as Broadway-bound belter Rachel, owns What I Did For Love.
There's also the introduction of two fresh-faced students - an exchange student with a big smile and bigger voice (played by teenage pop star Charice, whose fan club includes Oprah Winfrey) and a golden-boy athlete (Chord Overstreet).
The other newcomer is a female gridiron coach with a winning record, who quickly proves a formidable rival for Cheerios chief Sue (Jane Lynch).
Coach Shannon Beiste (pronounced "beast" because "it's French," she helpfully explains) wants the school budget to put football ahead of cheerleading. That won't do for Sue, who enlists Will in a plot to undermine Beiste (Dot Marie Jones).
A "female football coach is like a male nurse: sin against nature," snarls Sue. Coach Beiste doesn't quite have the hang of trash talk, telling Sue: "You're all coffee and no omelette."
The new series of Glee is set to debut in the UK next year.