September 14th, 2012
01:58 PM ET
New season, new guest stars, and "Glee" didn't hold back with its season 4 premiere Thursday.
The Fox show's return opened smack in the middle of an NYADA dance class where Ms. David Schwimmer - as Hudson's no-mercy dance teacher, Cassandra July, called Lea Michele's Rachel Berry - was feeling way in over her head.
With Rachel adjusting to being the new kid in New York, the big question for the premiere was who would become the new "Rachel" back at McKinley High in Ohio. Funny enough, it seems critics were almost afraid to find out the answer to that question.
Says Billboard: "The return of 'Glee' is something we've been wary about for months," pointing to the number of missteps the last season made. "It was hard to stay excited about 'Glee' by May, or to wish for more. But 'Glee,' we just can't quit you."
Time magazine's James Poniewozik felt the same way, saying that " 'Glee,' more than maybe any show on TV right now, has mastered the art of disappointing me just enough that I can never permanently give up watching it."
Thankfully, the season 4 premiere didn't make Poniewozik regret keeping the Gleeks in his life, as he was "pleasantly surprised" at how "Glee" made the parallel stories work. "For all its inconsistency ... it's still about something besides being a lucrative jukebox: it's about dreams and their limits, about risk, about discovering identity, about the terrifying work of finding your place."
New York Magazine's Vulture, too, wasn't intending to view "Glee" ever again, and yet, here we are, watching Kate Hudson pull off choreography that was "beyond what 70 percent of the series regulars are capable of," and sing on top of that. "Plus, her interactions with Rachel are the perfect blend of disengaged and bitter and mean."
The Hollywood Reporter took note of the new additions, characters seemingly meant to recall the now-graduated students "circa 'Glee's' first season," like Melissa Benoist's Marley, Jacob Artist's Jake (Puck's half-brother), and Dean Geyer's NYADA student, Brody (who, "in case you were wondering, which you were," is straight).
So what did you think of the season 4 premiere?
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