This one really hurts. It’s May, which means the major TV networks are busy handing down renewal and cancellation decisions. Today, NBC announced that it will not be renewing its beloved, brilliant comedy Community for the sixth season that fans have long clamored for.
In addition to the horror and heartbreak I feel, I’m also a little confused by the decision. Though Community certainly hasn’t had stellar ratings (the fifth season averaged 3.8 million viewers and a 1.6 rating in the 18-to-49-year-old demographic – and that’s including DVR playback), it’s one of NBC’s most enduring comedies, up there with Parks and Recreation. Add in the critical acclaim and loyal fanbase, and the fact that #sixseasonsandamovie is one of the show’s most recognizable contributions to pop culture, and it seems strange that NBC would pull the plug now.
The culprit could be showrunner Dan Harmon. Though his skill is undeniable, Harmon’s relationship with NBC has been tense, to say the least. The network fired him as showrunner after Community‘s low-rated, exceedingly meta third season, only to bring him back for the fifth season after the ratings didn’t improve. During the third season, Harmon also sparred with former cast member Chevy Chase, which led the iconic actor to depart the show during the next season. Then, in the fifth season finale, Harmon directly mocked NBC, adding in a sting with some absolutely terrible (and fake) NBC pilots. The belittling may have put execs over the edge on cancelling Community.
I’ve made it clear that I’m a huge fan of the quirky, wildly ambitious show, going so far as to write a feature on my top 25 favorite episodes. And I wasn’t alone – Community‘s fans are some of the most active and vocal out there on the ‘net (don’t believe me? Check out the 8-bit game adaptation of season three episode “Digital Estate Planning” over on Reddit).
Of course, there’s the possibility that Community won’t stay dead for long. The show has been sold in syndication to Comedy Central, and any number of networks (including streaming giants like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu Plus) may jump in to give fans their coveted sixth season. Until that happens though, we’ll just have to rely on reruns to get our Greendale Community College fix.
Source: Screen Crush