Quality comedic sitcoms are in no shortage on today’s television. NBC alone is responsible for some of the best on-air half-hour shows including “30 Rock,” “Parks and Recreation,” “The Office,” and to a lesser degree, “Up All Night.” It is also home to the imaginative, fan-favorite, cult hit “Community”.
When NBC issued its midseason schedule, many were surprised to find the college-set sitcom’s time slot filled by “Up All Night.” Moreover, “Community,” along with “Prime Suspect,” is ostensibly missing from the schedule, though NBC vows that this is not a cancellation.
The news was met with an immediate backlash from fans and critics alike, with petitions, online outcries of outrage, and a Twitter campaign with #SixSeasonsAndAMovie. Then, perhaps most significantly, fans bombarded TV Guide’s annual poll deciding which TV cast they should run on their cover, landing “Community” with the cover of the “Fan Favorite” themed issue. The show also received Hulu syndication, making the entire series available for view on Hulu Plus.
Being pulled from the midseason lineup can sometimes be seen as a one-way ticket to cancellation, a fate that recently befell ABC’s quirky sitcom “Cougar Town.”
However, recent rises in “Community’s” Nielsen ratings may suggest that it has the right fan base to change NBC’s mind.
And there are plenty of reasons for the Peacock to reconsider. First, the fans of the “Breakfast Club”-esque show are young. Though “Community” is sometimes criticized for its reliance on pop culture references, the fact remains that viewers who feel alienated by the jokes are probably not among the show’s target audience.
Additionally, most of its cast members are considered among the upcoming comedic talent of the next decade. Rising stars Alison Brie, Donald Glover, Gillian Jacobs and Daniel Pudi are all viable choices for upcoming feature films, and the show’s lead, Joel McHale of “The Soup,” is on the verge of ultimate stardom.
A cancellation would also severely vilify NBC. If the Internet has taught us any lesson, it’s that die-hard TV fans are a vocal bunch. The possible downfall of “Community” is already being compared to the unpopular cancellations of “Freaks and Geeks” and “Arrested Development.”
Finally, as TV critics have made clear, there are many more technical reasons that the lineup shuffle may not result in the Thursday night ratings boost NBC seeks. Though it has a very niche fan base, the unique, fresh originality “Community” merits it the right to the six seasons it deserves.