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Community makes its triumphant return to television, but should fans prepare for the end of the show?
The Greendale crew return to TV, but will this be the final season for Community?
The TV graveyard is full of brilliant-but-cancelled shows that, for whatever reason, never achieved the kind of mass audience required for survival on network television. Emmy nominations and rave reviews are great, and can even nudge a network to stick with a struggling show in hopes viewership will increase. If it doesn’t, though, it’s game over.
This seems to be the case with NBC’s Community, a sitcom that has evolved into television’s most Meta comedy, delivering hilarious pop-culture send-ups of everything from zombie movies to Doctor Who to Glee. Critics love the show, as do its devoted fans; when it comes to ratings, however, Community typically gets clobbered in a tough timeslot opposite The Big Bang Theory (TV’s highest-rated comedy) and American Idol.
Fans fretted when NBC yanked Community off the schedule in January and placed it on “hiatus” (a word that has become synonymous with “cancelled”), but were thrilled when the network announced it was coming back on March 15. Unfortunately, unless ratings miraculously shoot through the roof, fans should be prepared to savour the season’s remaining episodes with the knowledge they may well be the last.
In any event, these episodes should be good ones. As star Joel McHale teased in a recent interview, “a character from the show will die,” although he added it wouldn’t be one of the main characters but “someone you’ve seen a lot.”
Another future plotline will feature Chang (Ken Jeong) leading the gang to pull off an elaborate Ocean’s Eleven-style heist, while upcoming guest stars include John Hodgman (The Daily Show) and Giancarlo Esposito, who’ll play a character with a marked similarity to Gus Fring, the ruthless meth mastermind he portrayed on Breaking Bad.
The only downside to Community’s return is that NBC has shelved the similarly brilliant — and similarly low-rated — Parks and Recreation for the next five weeks (it’s scheduled to return April 19). In the case of both shows, all we can hope is that absence makes fans’ hearts grow fonder and ratings grow stronger.
Originally published in TVW. For daily programming updates and on-screen Entertainment news, subscribe to the free TVW e-newsletters, or purchase a subscription to the weekly magazine.