The hit musical dramedy series Glee holds a special place in many people’s hearts: the show lasted six seasons and won multiple awards, and is fondly remembered seven years after the show’s end.
But a new documentary series, developed by Discovery+, is set to explore and examine several tragedies and controversies surrounding it. The doc will feature various people involved with the show, including their family and close friends, and focus on both the ups & downs and what has been dubbed “the Glee curse”.
The as of yet untitled doc is set to have three parts in total, and is set to release next year. While the show itself was usually upbeat and about finding joy in music, behind the cameras the set was often beset with issues and mired in problems. Actress Lea Michele, who featured on the show as Rachel Berry, was accused of creating a hostile and toxic atmosphere and environment on set, though she addressed these allegations saying she could often be somewhat difficult due to her perfectionist work ethic. But co-stars have continued to claim that she made things difficult.
The show also had several tragedies that occurred during and after its run, with one of the most high profile being the death of Cory Monteith from a drug and alcohol overdose, which came as a huge shock to the production crew, and the show ended the following season. Monteith played Finn Hudson in the series, and had spoken about having addiction troubles in an interview only a couple of years beforehand, and attempted to fix it with rehab.
Several years after the end of the show, Naya Rivera, who played Santana Lopez in Glee, drowned in 2020 aged 33 whilst saving her four-year-old son in a lake in California. In an even more tragic twist, her body was recovered on the anniversary of Monteith’s death.
Another actor on the show, Mark Salling, was arrested for possession of a large amount of child pornography on his laptop, and later pleaded guilty in court. However, he took his own life in a park in Los Angeles in 2018, aged 35.
These various incidents will all be covered in the upcoming documentary, but there is emphasis that the higher points and positive aspects of the show and how it connected with people will be discussed too, so the show won’t be solely negative. The series is being developed by Discovery+ and ID, who both developed the documentary House of Hammer centred around actor Armie Hammer.