'Community' (2009-2014)

Watch Community on American Netflix

Six seasons, still no movie. After five seasons of varying popularity, Yahoo! managed to keep the dream alive by securing the rights to help produce the sixth (and what appears to be) the final season of this cult show success story. ‘Community’ has elevated several of its cast members into the spotlight, while giving show creator Dan Harmon the opportunity to go forth and produce another “universally acclaimed” hit TV series, ‘Rick and Morty’.

While ‘Rick and Morty’ is being held on to – for now – by Hulu and Adult Swim, ‘Community’ received welcome broadcast syndication for release on streaming services, which Netflix worked on securing. Sadly, the final season is held on to by Yahoo! – again, for now – but the five that precede it are available in all their glory for viewing on Netflix.

‘Community’ is a sitcom set in a fictional community college, centred around mainly a former lawyer looking to earn the qualifications he claimed he had to get back the job he lost. After forming a study group to try and pick up a woman in his study group, he finds himself making friends with those in the fake group, and in increasingly daft comedic situations. The show frequently finds a strong balance between comedy and heartfelt dramatic moments, which proved to be a key component in the show becoming the success it has. Many endeared themselves to the group of characters as they developed throughout the seasons.

The likes of Danny Pudi, Alison Brie, Jim Rash and Donald Glover helped bolster the strength of its leading cast, particular the latter, who was also notable for their writing talents – Rash won an Oscar in 2011 for ‘The Descendants’, while Glover found success with his work on ’30 Rock’. As the show developed further, more familiar faces began to get involved: John Goodman became a semi-regular cast member, with ‘Breaking Bad’s Jonathan Banks making regular appearances in the fifth season.

It was a turbulent career for ‘Community’ however, going through writer/show-runner changes, difficulties with cast members and their commitments, and a constant battle against ratings that ultimately led the show towards its safe space on the internet. It was the quality of the show’s writing in the early stages that pulled in its recognisable roster of talent – Chevy Chase (being a favourite of Harmon’s) was convinced to take on a sitcom, while Joel McHale and John Oliver both had priors with Harmon but joined after liking what they saw of the show and its potential. The show waned in its latter stages though, as it struggled to maintain its edge. Clawing its way back to popularity in its the fifth season, ‘Community’ eventually won over many who had perhaps lost hope.

Regardless, the whole show is a joy to watch, and is well worth the investment. The first five seasons are available in Canada, Ireland and the UK.

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