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‘Community’ returns with Dan Harmon for season five, tomorrow

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NBC, Thursday January second, 8 PM, the cult hit, ‘Community’ is set to return with series creator, Dan Harmon, back at the helm. In a special one hour episode. Harmon left (was fired) after the third season for “managerial reasons,” namely his reluctance to cave into Universal and Sony’s demands to “broaden the show’s appeal” and a, reported, feud/hijinks with actor Chevy Chase. Harmon’s reluctance to comply evident by season three’s rapid descent into even more pop culture sourced humor and meta-jokes (jokes about jokes). This all but precipitated the decision to can him. The show’s consistently dismal ratings, not helping it.

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But, all of that aside, ‘Community’ will soldier on with a thirteen episode run for its fifth iteration. This only helps showcase NBC’s difference from Fox in the understanding that the Nielsen ratings system is heavily flawed and the power of an unwavering and adamant fan following is one not to be taken lightly.

Troy Barnes, Donald Glover, will only appear in five of the season’s 13 episodes. He is reportedly leaving for personal reasons, unrelated to Chase’s departure from the show nor Harmon’s return. A new character will be joining the cast, Pat Nicols, Jonathan Banks, as a teacher.

After a lengthy preview, by Harmon, at ComicCon, fan reports say that this season is a return to the show’s previous feel. This is very good news, considering Season four’s “underwhelmingness” according to Harmon. Although, many fans do not share in his critique. If tomorrow’s 60 minute premiere is as big an evolutionary leap as season three was from two, then the show’s ongoing tongue-in-cheek recognition of the fan movement for “six seasons and a movie” may be realized.

Now, if only the same would work for Troy and Abed, in trying to resurrect ‘Firefly’ (without the need for loss of life and a suicide note, of course). The only remaining concern about the comedic dynamic is that, with Chase gone, who will be the “fall guy” or butt of many of the show’s jokes. Perhaps Leonard? I guess we’ll soon find out…

Show info and full episodes can be seen here or a special mock-Mad Men trailer is available here.

Note: The added video states that the show will return Friday, January third, but it is incorrect. 'Community' is currently scheduled to premiere tomorrow, Thursday, January 2, at 8PM.

Please also see my overview of the first three seasons linked below.

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