Jul 16, 2015

[TV] Community: Season 6

It came as no surprise to anyone that NBC eventually cancelled Community. Despite critical acclaim, the show just never quite got up there in the ratings market And so it seemed the show was at an end and various online petitions were launched in the hopes of changing the minds of the folks at NBC.

But then a most surprising announcement came along that Yahoo of all companies decided to save the show. We've gotten used to pay-TV providers like DIRECTV picking up shows and more recently streaming services like Netflix breathing new life into various shows up for network television cancellation.

It was part of some effort to promote Yahoo Screen, which is a product that I had never heard of before and probably won't remember much despite Community's sixth season appearing on the online service. And while it was nice to see it continue on, it clearly suffered from changes in the cast and the writers seemingly not 100% certain where they want to go with these characters. The end result was a season with good laughs in general but not that much overall impact at the end of things.

Synopsis: Community is an American comedy series created by Dan Harmon. It ran for five seasons on NBC before it was cancelled and subsequently picked up by Yahoo Screen for a 13-episode season.

The fifth season of the show had ended with some casting changes, and the start of the season included more. And with everyone having graduated from the titular community college, it was becoming more and more of a stretch for all of them to be together.  Now the committee that used to be about saving Greendale is, well, it's never super clear what it's supposed to be, but at least we have a reason for them to gather in the study hall together. Our primary cast include long-time characters like Jeff Winger (Joel McHale), Britta Perry (Gillian Jacobs), Abed Nadir (Danny Pudi), Annie Edison (Alison Brie), Ben Chang (Ken Jeong) and Dean Pelton (Jim Rash).

They are eventually joined by the rather controlling Frankie Dart (Paget Brewster) and the old school computer programmer Elroy Patashnik (Keith David). And beyond that the show goes back into hijinks, concept episodes and other bits of craziness. And despite a lot of the same show elements in play including most of the original cast, things just felt weird. And the show tried to address this in its typical meta-fictional manner, but even that still didn't quite feel right up there.

This is not to say that this web-only season of the show didn't get to have a little fun. "Laws of Robotics and Party Rights" is a prime example of a really strange premise. The decision to allow prison inmates to virtually attend classes via telepresence robots was a pretty wild idea even though implementation wasn't quite all that.

I'm not quite sure what point they wanted to make with "Basic Email Security" since it had this whole thing about a stand-up comedian that has been received threats and has been the subject of protests in order to get him to stop his show. It certainly had echoes of the free speech debate in contrast with the need to avoid overly offensive material, but how it was resolved didn't seem all that compelling.

I rather enjoyed " Advanced Safety Features" and the ridiculousness of secret Honda marketing going on at the school. I'm not sure what was more entertaining - Britta's surprising skill at this sort of underhanded marketing or the fact that the Dean was so affected by pretty much anything they did. The next episode, "Intro to Recycled Cinema" was also rather brilliant in concept, at least in terms of how they put things together and the joy of seeing people act alongside badly inserted images of Chang.

Oh, and I have to take a moment to celebrate "Basic RV Repair and Palmistry", which was particularly fun for me because of Abed's entirely meta dialog involving repeated flashbacks that he tries to work into the narrative.

I guess the only other episode that I want to talk about is probably the last one, although I'll do my best to avoid spoilers. "Emotional Consequences of Broadcast Television"  where the crew talk about what their theoretical "season 7" would look like. That was pretty fun, but I think the credits sequence was really the best part of the story more than anything else.

Community remains to be a good show with a lot of heart, although I don't think Yahoo Screen was ready enough for trying to revive a prime time show. A lot of times it felt like the show was just trying way too hard. Thus the season can only really get 3.5 really bad examples of grifting out of a possible 5.

No comments:

Post a Comment