Skip to main content

The Daily Beast: "Community: Season 4 of the NBC Comedy Ponders the End"

(Jordin Althaus/NBC/Sony Pictures)
The absurdist comedy returns to NBC on Thursday after a lengthy delay and many behind-the-scenes changes, including the exit of creator Dan Harmon.

Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, "Community: Season 4 of the NBC Comedy Ponders the End," in which I review the fourth season of NBC's Community, which returns Thursday evening and after many behind-the-scenes changes. Does the show look and feel as it once did? Or does it feel as though not every came back from summer break?

“What’s the deal, Jessica Biel?”

Community, after an absence of what feels like five years and numerous timeslot and launch date changes, finally unveils its fourth season on Thursday. For the faithful, waiting this long to return to Greendale has been an arduous trial, particularly as curiosity is running high amid the many behind-the-scenes changes made since the show wrapped up its third season way back in May 2012.

For one, series creator Dan Harmon is no longer at the helm, after a well-publicized ouster that saw him as well as showrunners Neil Goldman and Garrett Donovan depart the NBC comedy. A handful of others—including writer/producer Chris McKenna (currently writing on Fox’s The Mindy Project), executive producers/directors Anthony and Joe Russo, and actor/writer Dino Stamatopoulos (Starburns)—also exited stage left. In their place are new showrunners David Guarascio and Moses Port, perhaps best known for their work on the multi-camera workplace comedy Just Shoot Me and for creating the short-lived comedy Aliens in America.

Suffice it to say, fans of Community want to know: what does the show feel like without Harmon and Co. steering the plot? On a show so gonzo and absurd and generally out there, what does the loss of its creator mean?

It would be far easier to say if the (new) Community were a disaster or a masterpiece. However, the truth doesn’t fall at either end. Community now feels rather like it did during its first three seasons, with its sense of humor and bizarro-world energies intact. (That sense of sameness might be aided by longtime writer Andy Bobrow scripting the season opener, offering a sense of continuity.)

If there’s anything I noticed during the two episodes provided to press for review (the first and third installments, but not—oddly enough—Megan Ganz’s Halloween episode, which airs on … Valentine’s Day), it’s that perhaps a spark that permeated the very best episodes of Community is missing. Perhaps that sense of mad genius came from Harmon himself or perhaps it can be regained once this new configuration of the Community writers finds their legs. But I can’t point to anything specific after two viewings. It doesn’t feel entirely off, but it feels as if not everyone came back from this prolonged summer break.

Continue reading at The Daily Beast...


Popular posts from this blog

Pilot Inspektor: CBS' "Smith"

I may just have to change my original "What I'll Be Watching This Fall" post, as I sat down and finally watched CBS' new crime drama Smith this weekend. (What? It's taken me a long time to make my way through the stack of pilot DVDs.) While it's on following Gilmore Girls and Veronica Mars on Tuesday nights (10 pm ET/PT, to be exact), I'm going to be sure to leave enough room on my TiVo to make sure that I catch this compelling, amoral drama. While one can't help but be impressed by what might just be the most marquee-friendly cast in primetime--Ray Liotta, Virginia Madsen, Jonny Lee Miller, Amy Smart, Simon Baker, and Franky G all star and Shohreh Aghdashloo has a recurring role--the pilot's premise alone earned major points in my book: it's a crime drama from the point of view of the criminals, who engage in high-stakes heists. But don't be alarmed; it's nothing like NBC's short-lived Heist . Instead, think of it as The Italian

Katie Lee Packs Her Knives: Breaking News from Bravo's "Top Chef"

The android has left the building. Or the test kitchen, anyway. Top Chef 's robotic host Katie Lee Joel, the veritable "Uptown Girl" herself (pictured at left), will NOT be sticking around for a second course of Bravo's hit culinary competition. According to a well-placed insider, Joel will "not be returning" to the show. No reason for her departure was cited. Unfortunately, the perfect replacement for Joel, Top Chef judge and professional chef Tom Colicchio, will not be taking over as the reality series' host (damn!). Instead, the show's producers are currently scouring to find a replacement for Joel. Top Chef 's second season was announced by Bravo last month, but no return date has been set for the series' ten-episode sophomore season. Stay tuned as this story develops. UPDATE (6/27): Bravo has now confirmed the above story .

What's Done is Done: The Eternal Struggle Between Good and Evil on the Season Finale of "Lost"

Every story begins with thread. It's up to the storyteller to determine just how much they need to parcel out, what pattern they're making, and when to cut it short and tie it off. With last night's penultimate season finale of Lost ("The Incident, Parts One and Two"), written by Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, we began to see the pattern that Lindelof and Cuse have been designing towards the last five seasons of this serpentine series. And it was only fitting that the two-hour finale, which pushes us on the road to the final season of Lost , should begin with thread, a loom, and a tapestry. Would Jack follow through on his plan to detonate the island and therefore reset their lives aboard Oceanic Flight 815 ? Why did Locke want to kill Jacob? What caused The Incident? What was in the box and just what lies in the shadow of the statue? We got the answers to these in a two-hour season finale that didn't quite pack the same emotional wallop of previous season