By Sahil Patel
Six seasons and a movie… maybe.
“Community,” the critical darling from Dan Harmon and Sony Pictures Television that was just canceled by NBC, might still have some life. According to Deadline, Sony Pictures Television is talking with Hulu for a “more original installments” of the show. While talks are very much in the preliminary stage, the report suggests that there is strong interest on both sides on getting something done.
The news comes a few weeks after NBC canceled the comedy series after five seasons. A critically acclaimed comedy, often considered one of the most inventive on air (at least during the four seasons Harmon was on board as showrunner), “Community” had been on the bubble at the broadcast network pretty much since the end of its second season.
It’s around then when the #sixseasonsandamovie hashtag became popular, inspired by a season two episode in which one of the characters makes the same rallying cry for another now-defunct NBC series, “The Cape.”
Following its cancellation, there were calls among the show’s fan base for Netflix, the current go-to savior for beloved-but-canceled TV shows. That said, Netflix made it known that a “Community” revival on its streaming service was highly unlikely, citing the deal Sony Pictures Television has with Hulu to syndicate prior seasons of the show.
Which is to say: Hulu makes a good deal of sense to bring back the program — and not just because of that syndication pact.
During its upfront presentation in late April*, CEO Mike Hopkins said that Hulu would quadruple its investment in originals in the coming year. A deal to bring “Community” back would certainly fall in line with that statement, and would also give the video service a tentpole “original” the likes of which it has yet to produce. What’s more, it would be nowhere near as expensive as “House of Cards,” but would have a similar cultural and social resonance.
If you’re not familiar with “Community,” the series stars Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi, Alison Brie, Yvette Nicole Brown, Jim Rash, and Donald Glover. It follows a group of students and friends at a community college, and all of the shenanigans they get into.
* Also worth mentioning: “Community” stars Gillian Jacobs and Danny Pudi spoke on stage during Hulu’s upfront, highlighting how all episodes of the show are available to those who subscribe to Hulu Plus.