Perhaps the biggest surprise at this year’s Comic-Con is that Community has a panel there. The acclaimed series was toiling on death row a month ago after NBC cancelled the Dan Harmon-created comedy and a deal to resurrect the show with Hulu and Netflix fell through. However, Yahoo! stepped in at the last second to resuscitate Community, and on Thursday, its cast gathered in San Diego for a packed audience of diehard fans that refuse to let the series end until they get #sixseasonsandamovie.
Harmon explained the accessibility of Yahoo! Screen helped cement the decision to bring Community from the TV screen to the computer screen, Variety reports. “Yahoo called me and they seemed really smart and cool,” Harmon said. “I thought… ‘I cannot be the one to not do this.'” Harmon also admitted that he didn’t start writing the new season yet, but he didn’t expect the Internet version of Community to differ wildly from the one that survived five seasons on primetime TV.
Added star Joel McHale: “You’re young people. You watch it the way most people do, which is on tiny little screens. And now we’re on one, so fuck you, network television.” McHale said that he loved Community so much, he’d do the show at regional theatres if it meant keeping his character Jeff Winger alive.
The comedy was besieged by nonstop problems during production: Lackluster ratings despite a fervent fanbase, NBC firing (and then rehiring) series creator Harmon, the much-publicized rift between Harmon and Chevy Chase that resulted in the Saturday Night Live actor awkwardly leaving the show, the sudden departure of Donald Glover and the constant questioning of “Will NBC cancel Community?” that haunted the series every year, resulting in season finales that sometimes felt like they were doubling as potential series finales. The network meddling no doubt frustrated the cast of TV’s most ambitious comedy, so an escape to Yahoo! – where a show’s success isn’t based solely on ratings – is a welcome retreat for the Community crew.
Other revelations from the Community panel: Unlike Netflix, Yahoo! won’t do a mass dump of Community episodes for binge-watching consumption. Actor Jonathan Banks, who took over the curmudgeon role vacated by Chevy Chase’s Pierce, will not reprise his character Buzz Hickey, but John Oliver – who’s now busy with his own HBO show – might still return as Professor Ian Duncan. Harmon even left the door open for Donald Glover’s Troy to return, whether it’s in the sixth season or, hopefully, a movie.