"Pilot" is the pilot episode of the television series Glee, which premiered on the Fox network on May 19, 2009. An extended director's cut version aired on September 2, 2009. The show focuses on a high school show choir, also known as a glee club, set within the fictional William McKinley High School in Lima, Ohio. The pilot episode covers the formation of the club, and introduces the main characters: faculty members Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison), Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) and Emma Pillsbury (Jayma Mays), Will's wife Terri (Jessalyn Gilsig), and students Rachel Berry (Lea Michele), Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith), Kurt Hummel (Chris Colfer), Mercedes Jones (Amber Riley), Artie Abrams (Kevin McHale), Tina Cohen-Chang (Jenna Ushkowitz), Noah "Puck" Puckerman (Mark Salling) and Quinn Fabray (Dianna Agron). The episode was directed by series creator Ryan Murphy, and written by Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan. Murphy selected the music featured in the episode, with the intention of maintaining a balance between show tunes and chart hits.
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The episode achieved 9.619 million viewers on first broadcast, and 4.2 million when the director's cut version aired. Critical response was mixed, with The New York Times's Alessandra Stanley highlighting the episode's unoriginality and stereotyped characters, but praising the showmanship and talent of the cast. The Daily News's David Hinckley opined that the show was imperfect and implausible but "potentially heartwarming", while USA Today's Robert Bianco noted casting and tone problems, but commented positively on the show's humour and musical performances. Mary McNamara for the LA Times wrote that the show had a wide audience appeal, calling it: "the first show in a long time that's just plain full-throttle, no-guilty-pleasure-rationalizations-necessary fun".