My last post about Community ended with a hopeful “Welcome back Dan Harmon. Welcome back Community“. Although the show had been almost-cancelled several times over the years, there were several reasons why fans could be optimistic about its future, for a change.
The show had returned for an unlikely fifth season, which had included some of the series’ best episodes, and the show’s creator had been re-hired, in a move which was unprecedented in the history of television. Ratings were decent, reviews were positive, and NBC had even adopted the fandom’s #sixseasonsandamovie hashtag for the show’s official marketing campaign, which suggested that a sixth season and a movie was actually possible.
Then it was cancelled.
It was a bit of a shock. NBC had got our hopes up and then cruelly dashed them. But there was a glimmer of hope. Sony Pictures Entertainment, which owns the show (NBC just aired it and paid some of the production costs), was reportedly desperate to find the show a new home elsewhere. It was a race against time – the cast’s contracts for the show expired in a few weeks, and there weren’t many options.
Netflix was pestered with requests by fans, but they decided not to have it. Hulu, which owned the online streaming rights to Community in America, seemed like an obvious place for the show to continue. However, with a week to go before the cast’s contrasts expired, Hulu made a statement saying that they would not be picking up Community for a sixth season.
At this point, everyone had given up hoping for more Community and were slowly accepting that this quirky, clever little comedy was finished.
It was great that it had managed to get this far. No-one had really expected it to last this long anyway. The whole ‘six seasons and a movie’ thing was just a silly joke from the show that fans had turned into a message of support for the show itself, and used as a rallying cry for when the show was in trouble, which had been quite often.
The phrase became particularly prominent when fans flooded social media with the hashtag #sixseasonsandamovie after Community was abruptly pulled from NBC’s television schedule halfway through its third season. Being taken off air usually means ‘cancelled’, but the show’s most dedicated (ie: slightly obsessive) fans protested wherever they could. The hashtag trended worldwide every Thursday (when the show should have been on the air), flashmobs were organised outside NBC’s headquarters in New York City and, after a couple of months, the show returned to the airwaves.
Unbelievably, it lasted for two more seasons after this. It had ended on a high note. The last episode didn’t quite work as a series finale, but it was much better than season 4’s god-awful final episode. Let’s just be grateful it got this far.
The expiration deadline came and there was still no news. Not that anyone was really expecting any. It was done. It was over. Community had overcome some crazy obstacles in the past that other shows would have never managed to get past, but it would take something truly insane and out of left field to save it now.