The Office Kicks Off Its Final Season

The ninth and final season of The Office begins September 20th, but can this long-running sitcom recapture the magic?

Credit: NBC

Expect to see plenty of familiar faces in the final season of The Office

The ninth season of The Office will be its last; can it recapture the magic?

It’s kind of embarrassing to admit, but I hated the first episode of The Office. My thinking was that Ricky Gervais’s BBC original was absolutely ideal just as it was; why remake something that couldn’t possibly be improved upon? 

It didn’t take long before I ate those words, as the American version of The Office quickly found its footing and evolved into something that, while not better than the original, was certainly its equal, a brilliant and wholly unique series that stood apart from its predecessor. 

Steve Carell: The Heart of The Office

Of course, a good share of the credit had to go to star Steve Carell, who imbued Dunder Mifflin branch manager Michael Scott with equal parts goofiness and humanity. Michael was a character we could laugh at even as we rooted for him; his frequent gaffes and social blunders were almost always the result of his overweening desire for others to like him.

Equally important to the show’s success was the strength of its ensemble, with ancillary characters coming into their own to become one of TV’s strongest all-around comedy casts (especially John Krasinski and Rainn Wilson as battling sales reps Jim Halpert and Dwight Schrute).

When Michael Scott left Scranton at the end of the 2010-2011 season, his exit was one of those rare moments of television perfection, as poignant and brilliant as anything Gervais crafted in the U.K. original. 

Can The Office Finish Strong?

But boy, did the show struggle after Carell left. Last season’s elevation of The Hangover’s Ed Helms to boss, and the introduction of James Spader as wacked-out company president Robert California and British comedienne Catherine Tate as U.K. import Nellie Bertram certainly didn’t yield the kind of comic results viewers hoped for, and the show clearly floundered throughout the season. Despite the strength of The Office’s ensemble, Carell’s shoes proved to be tough to fill.

With the show experiencing a drop in both ratings and quality, it’s not surprising that NBC announced season nine will be ’s last. For fans of the show, watching as The Office begin its 22-episode goodbye will be bittersweet; although we may be sad to see it end, there’s no denying that it’s definitely time to go.

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.