If you’re a fan of the show “Community,” you’ve been following TV news and biting your nails more than usual for the past month. The Committee to Save Greendale turned out to have supporters far beyond the campus boundaries of Greendale Community College and even further beyond the television screen.
On June 9, NBC announced that “Community” had not been renewed for a sixth season. For diehard fans, this was depressing news. What had been the show’s mantra, “six seasons and a movie,” now seemed impossible, but that didn’t stop fans from tweeting #sixseasonsandamovie on Twitter.
If you haven’t seen “Community,” you’re missing out. From classic television gags to film spoofs, it’s TV gold that stars Joel McHale, Alison Brie, and Danny Pudi, among others. It’s not a show to be missed.
“Community” is a comedy about the world’s most dysfunctional post-secondary institution. Greendale Community College is the place for screw-ups; it is within this dysfunction that a group of diverse students (four of whom are non-traditional) build their own community around a study group and a desire to graduate and get out. On the momentarily imperiled cusp of the sixth season, the members of this motley crew have started to realize that the community they have at Greendale might be better than anything outside its campus.
Once NBC pulled the plug, outraged fans turned to social media. It wouldn’t be the first time a canceled show has been resurrected by fan activism. Fan campaigns are their own dramas where characters fight the system with fingers crossed while the audience watches in suspense. As “Family Guy” or “Arrested Development” can tell you, sometimes it works. Twice as often, however, it doesn’t.
Fans soon turned to the show’s creator, Dan Harmon, for hope. Yet, for a week after NBC’s news, he was silent. Harmon later admitted in a blog post that he had to gain the strength to face fans and let them know that the show might not return.
“The general feel of my twitter feed is, ‘Well, what should we do, do you want us to petition/riot/negotiate/scream or do you want us to say goodbye,’” Harmon wrote. “I know fandom, when it gets this deep for this long, becomes almost religious, including the urge to stone the less than faithful. But there are lots of reasons a ‘Community’ resurrection could be difficult. So be prepared for that.”
Harmon offered the fandom a realistic message, but not necessarily the one we – I count myself among them – wanted to hear. Meanwhile, Sony Pictures Television was determined to find “Community” a new home. Talks began with Hulu, which already owns the digital rights, but soon broke down with no explanation. Hulu, while open to sharing past episodes, probably isn’t ready to drop that kind of cash to support production. Six days before the actors’ contracts expired, it seemed like it was all over.
Then, the day before the contracts’ expirations, Yahoo Screen bought the rights from Sony. Don’t worry; you’re not the only person who’s never heard of them.
Yahoo Screen began life on the Internet as Yahoo Video (a site similar to YouTube) that let users share their own videos. After what I guess could’ve only been obscurity, Yahoo decided to rebrand the site as Yahoo Screen and morph it into a video streaming site similar to Hulu. With a few more shows like Community and maybe some of its own original content, it might be able to compete with the big boys like Netflix and Amazon.
Though the show will stream online, don’t expect the sixth season of “Community” to be released all at once. Yahoo Screen has announced each episode of the upcoming fall season will be released weekly.
That’s six seasons. Soon enough we might see it on the big screen. #sixseasonsandamovie.
Jesse Lobbs is a graduate student in English. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.