Fans have known for a while that season 5 of Community would mark a change of pace from the previous year of the critically acclaimed NBC comedy. After all, season 4 was the first without series creator Dan Harmon serving as showrunner, and then there's star Chevy Chase's heavily publicized departure from the show.
However, ahead of next month's premiere, it appears that NBC is embracing the noticeable shift in the show, even going so far as to tout Harmon's return in a recent trailer. Still, Community will face the unenviable task of pleasing newer fans – who helped the season 4 finale earn record-breaking ratings – as well as viewers who have been onboard with the quirky series from the beginning.
Enter NBC's latest preview for the show (see above), which plays up the quick wit and fun dynamic of its ensemble cast. The new teaser also hints at Jeff's (Joel McHale) return to Greendale Community College, this time as a part of the faculty. By all accounts, the show clearly implies that a new beginning is around the corner (the season premiere is even titled "Repilot"), and the fact that the footage is presented in the style of AMC's Mad Men fits well with the pop culture-heavy style that Community is known for.
At this point, the future of Community is uncertain beyond the 13 episodes that will comprise season 5. Even Ken Jeong was surprised that it was renewed in the first place, and the loss of both Chase and Donald Glover (who will appear in just 5 episodes of the upcoming season) could easily affect the overall appeal of the series and mark the true beginning of the end of the show.
That being said, Community has already proven that its staying power and rabid fanbase are not to be underestimated. Perhaps the addition of Harmon will help offset the loss of two key cast members and inject the show with the creativity that many series (especially sitcoms) sorely need this far into their run. At the very least, it does seem as if Harmon and his team are intent on delivering the best season possible, meaning it could either mark a fresh start or a strong finish. In either case, Community fans have reason to be optimistic.
Are you looking forward to season 5 of Community, and do you think the show is on the right track? Let us know in the comments section below.
Community season 5 premieres on Thursday, January 2 at 8pm on NBC with back-to-back episodes.