The popular comedy series Community was surprisingly dropped by host network NBC this summer, but to the relief of fans was quickly picked up by search engine giants Yahoo (through their Yahoo! Screen brand), and to even greater relief, creator Dan Harmon has recently stated that the move into an online-only realm will not change how the show is produced.
Taken on for a total of 13 new episodes in its 6th season, Community has already lost series regular Yvette Nichole Brown for personal reasons (but citing she is able to return as a guest star), but claim that viewers will not see any other major changes, with Yahoo Screen to continue the show’s traditional ‘three-act format’.
Harmon (Rick & Morty), promoting his upcoming documentary Harmontown, was speaking to Vulture as he said of the matter: “I think that the act breaks from the original Community, as it was born into the NBC clock, are very good act breaks. It’s a three-act story as raised at NBC. The [online] commercial breaks are coming at points in a story where, if you were watching a 20-minute play, the curtain might come down, and you might have an opportunity to go get a box of Twizzlers and think about what’s happening, digest, and speak to your friends about what’s going on.
“I like those act breaks; I like where they are, and Yahoo’s intended clock sounds like it’s perfectly compatible with those same spots. So we are breaking three-act stories in the room. My intention also is to keep the same runtime because that will make for the same pacing and the same tone.”
He added of the show in general and how it has managed to take a place in the hearts of its fans: “I think I realised that what was special about Community is the actors. I’ve written lots of scripts almost as good or just as good as the Community pilot. The big difference is Joel McHale, Alison Brie, Danny Pudi, Gillian Jacobs. That’s what TV is, you know. I’m sure Chuck Lorre would say the same thing about Sheldon. Ultimately, there’s nothing particularly magical about what we do as writers and showrunners; the best we can do is know what we’re doing.
“We can’t really bring any amount of magic to the final product that the actors can. They’re the heads in the box. We have seen lots and lots of very well-written things without people that we liked in them, and we’ve hated them, and we don’t even remember them. On the other hand, we tolerate lots of very poorly written stuff because we love the people. We watch Wheel of Fortune because of Pat Sajak’s head! We love that guy.”
Set to air on Yahoo Screen in early 2015 (presumably on Yahoo’s preferred traditional method of release than Netflix’s ‘all the season at once’ approach), will Community manage to keep their current structure and fanbase with their new online-only limitations? It’s clear that the creator cares, but he should be called out when he gets a little too gushing (like the first sentence of his second statement):
Though it shouldn’t matter so much considering he was once fired from his own show, and while he is back there now, he also has other work: