NBC announced its midseason schedule yesterday; Community is not on it. I fear it’s not long for this world – something I hate to say that about my favorite current TV series, but I have to accept it. So much of the show works. It’s well-acted and well-written; the study group at the show’s core comprises a genuine ensemble of multi-faceted characters. Episodes teeter on a knife’s edge between absurd comedy and heartfelt drama without slipping into the excesses of either.
Community’s signature move is its theme episodes: full-length parodies of mafia movies, say, or of Westerns. One even spoofs the single-camera sitcom itself, in the form of a mock-mockumentary. Done poorly, these would be time-sucking detours, but writers and the cast have so thoroughly developed the characters’ relationships that even a show that overreaches or misses the mark enhances the series as a whole. There are bad episodes of Community, to be sure, but no unnecessary ones. It’s the first show in years where I make sure never to miss an episode.