When NBC finally dropped the axe on cult favorite comedy Community earlier this month, the gasps of shock and howls of anger could be heard for miles. Some fans held out hope that Greendale could be saved, though Dan Harmon's noncommittal feelings on the matter didn't exactly fill people with confidence.
Well, tonight brings with it a new ray of hope for the world's most dysfunctional study group.
According to Deadline, Hulu (the exclusive online home for streaming Community episodes) has entered preliminary talks with production company Sony TV about picking up season 6 of Dan Harmon's off-kilter sitcom. That said, the report stresses that Community fans shouldn't make plans to subscribe to Hulu Plus just yet. The talks are in the very early stages, and there is absolutely no guarantee that they will lead to the production of a sixth season.
It's easy to see why Hulu would want more Community. The show has one of the most passionate fanbases in modern TV history, with thousands of virtual hours spent on cataloging Community's many pop culture references, complex in-jokes, and general deconstructions of the sitcom form. The "six seasons and a movie" rallying cry may have been born out of a joke at the expense of failed superhero drama The Cape, but that doesn't mean that "human beings" everywhere didn't want it to happen with all their hearts.
Resurrecting Community would instantly elevate Hulu to the status of internet hero, and likely earn the service thousands of new subscribers, much like the relaunch of fellow cult comedy Arrested Development did for Netflix. It would also be a coming out party of sorts for Hulu as a major original content provider, an area they've yet to be able to compete with Netflix in.
While Dan Harmon initially seemed to be blah about more Community, urging fans to appreciate what they got and move on, a follow-up blog entry seemed decidedly more optimistic. To quote Harmon: "I’m not going to be the guy that re-cancels canceled 'Community.' " Based on that, it seems safe to assume that Harmon would be on board with a Hulu aired season of Community, but would the cast? They may love the show, but would they be willing to take a large pay cut?
Continuing on the financial line of thinking, would Hulu be willing to invest the same amount of money in Community's production that NBC did? They very well could afford to, what with Hulu being owned by several large broadcasting companies. However, one must remember what happened with Arrested Development.
Would Community fans want a season where Jeff only appeared in half the episodes? Or Abed? The budget constraints normally involved in moving from on-air to online should not be discounted. Fans may think they want a sixth season of Community at any cost, but that could very well change if Dan Harmon is forced to write around budgetary hurdles.
In the end, all of this conjecture may end up being for naught. Talks between Hulu and Sony could easily fall through. Community fans know this. Still, that won't stop each and every one of them from hoping against hope for six seasons and a movie.
Community finished season 5 in April 2014. Hulu is in preliminary talks for season 6.