5/10/2014

Some Thoughts Regarding the Cancellation of Community

Community is one of my favourite things. Or was, until I read the other day it had, at last,  been cancelled. But I've followed the show from the start, and am willing to say that when it was at its best it was quite possibly the best thing on television, period.

(As a brief aside, if I had any criticism at all, it was that the show did suffer at times from a very American addiction to 'lessons': characters learned 'lessons' in the course of their adventures in a way that causes almost anyone outside of the USA - and, I suspect, a great many within that country's borders - to throw up in their mouths a little. The one great, uh, lesson American television comedy gained from Seinfeld was how much better a show could be when lessons were resoundingly given the boot. But Community's saving grace was the singular genius show-runner Dan Harmon brought to the mix.)

Now there are suggestions the show could conceivably be revived for future seasons through online services like Netflix, Hulu or even Amazon, a strategy that has apparently worked for other shows. I can't say how successful that's been for those shows, because I never watched them. But it happened, and continues to happen, and so there can be life after apparent (network) death.

Now I'd like to make a proposal regarding Community's future, and how it could be kept fresh for further seasons, should they ever come to pass. It does struggle, at times, to find ways to justify the continued presence of much-loved characters within the bounds of the college in which it is set. Which makes me think about the British TV series Skins, which would, every season or so, replace its entire cast.

Its entire cast.

How to keep Community fresh? Replace the entire cast with new admissions to the college. Give that study room to a batch of new students. Some faces may remain the same: Jeff Winger, now a teacher at the college. The Dean. One might even see the possibility of a future return for Donald Glover's Troy as the new head of building maintenance. Assuming there's any need for multimillionaire heads of building maintenance (assuming he completes that round the world trip).

Sometimes, the best thing you can do for something you really love, and that's already given you enormous returns, is to wipe the slate clean and find a fresh cast. And just to remind you - in no way is this a criticism of the current cast. They're fantastic. But if Community were truly to continue, one thing the writers should at least have on the table - next to the coffee and the doughnuts - is a question: who are the next batch of students?

And if it doesn't continue, well, that last episode wrapped things up nicely for all of that. 
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