Fox’s Glee, which has held the title of TV’s most inaccurately named show for some time now, will be returning for its sixth and final season at some point in the 2014-15 season (though it was conspicuously absent from Fox’s fall upfronts), but it’s coming back for a shorter season than fans of the series are accustomed to. Fox announced today that the series order for Glee‘s final season had been cut from 24 episodes to 13.
The trimming wasn’t entirely unexpected, given how low Glee‘s ratings have been, but the news just reinforces the fact that this show is not what it once was. When Glee premiered its first season, it became a cultural sensation, with many songs performed by its cast entering the iTunes Top Ten and episodes receiving extremely high ratings. Then, as the writing weakened over subsequent seasons, viewership slipped.
Star Cory Monteith’s death was another harsh blow from which Glee never really recovered, as no characters introduced since his character’s graduation from the show’s high school setting had really caught on with fans in the same way. Because of Monteith’s passing, the show’s fifth season was also trimmed, though just a few episodes, from 24 to 20. Glee‘s reputation at Fox wasn’t helped by its lowest ratings yet during the latter half of that fifth season.
Glee‘s final season will also feature a setting change and attempt to bring many old characters back into the fold. Whether it will be successful in doing so with only 13 episodes remains to be seen, but the writers are likely pushing to give fans the closure they’re expecting with regard to characters including Lea Michele’s Rachel Berry, Matthew Morrison’s Will Schuester and Jane Lynch’s Sue Sylvester.