So after raving about the new season of "Glee" in the early going, I feel a little silly revisiting the show now and finding it, once again, to be disappointing.
The plot, such as it is, involves a superhero club (everyone picks a made-up identity and powers) and a purloined trophy the school won the year before. It's an excuse to do songs with heroes as the loose theme and showcase the attractive cast in wacky costumes, but the result is highly uneven, which has often been characteristic of the show in the past.
There's certainly ample vocal talent in the new recruits, but as this latest hour makes (sometimes painfully) clear, the characters have yet to really pop. Moreover, all the teen angst over relationships -- lately involving Kurt (Chris Colfer, absent here) and Blaine (Darren Criss) -- has begun to grow tiresome, in part because the old romances have played out so many combinations, and the new ones involve kids it's difficult thus far to care much about.
Even with a flat hour, "Glee" tends to yield a few high notes, but they're simply too few to sustain the level of interest the show generated initially, when it looked possible to strike a balance between its graduates adjusting to college and the new batch of high schoolers. (USA Today's Robert Bianco took another look at the series recently and came to a similar conclusion, in the context of the "Grease" episode.)
In a way, the superhero theme is a perfect metaphor for where "Glee" once again finds itself: It's colorful, and energetic.
Creatively speaking, it's just not a consistent force for good.