If the most recent season 6 finale of NBC's Parks and Recreation made anything clear, it was that big - big - changes were in store. Now it seems that the series itself will be undergoing as dramatic a change as its core cast, with the schedule for the show's seventh and final season now revealed. Switching from Thursday to Tuesday, the season 7 premiere comes on January 13, 2015 - with the series finale following just six weeks later.
The reason for the shortened season is due to NBC's decision to air back-to-back episodes from 8-9pm, leading up to an hour-long series finale in February. According to NBC chairman Robert Greenblatt, the decision to seemingly cut the lifespan of one of their (few) beloved comedy series short isn't what it seems. Instead, the doubling up of episodes is meant to draw more attention to the show, not less:
"In an effort to give it the send-off it deserves, we wanted to ‘eventize’ the final season to maximize the impact of these episodes, which really do take the show to a new level."
Those kind of claims are all but expected when discussing any series, but those who have followed Parks and Rec to this point know that the showrunners really do have some startling tricks up their sleeves. With only a few hints of what's to come when audiences follow Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) and her supporting cast into a brand new chapter of civil service, NBC seems to think that the series is fit for a 60-minute block of their Tuesday line-up.
Without knowing just what's on the way in the series' final season, it's not hard to grasp what NBC is after. With their once-lauded comedy line-up on Thursdays nights now all but completely evaporated, and Parks and Rec having long proven itself as one of the network's strongest remaining comedies, a shift to Tuesday is clearly a strategic move, not a desperate one. And there's no denying that a 'blink and you'll miss it' final run will have even casual fans sure to tune in when they might otherwise have taken their time.
Unfortunately, that comes at the expense of those fans who hoped to have months to prepare themselves for the series' final bow. It's hard to pass judgement just yet, since the intentions of creator Michael Schur are the definition of enigmatic, perfectly illustrated by the season 6 finale that left viewers downright shocked. Schur explained shortly after the finale that while his vision for the final episode remains intact, it's anyone's guess what the future holds for Knope and company:
“Chunks of it are mapped out. We have signposts and stuff, but other parts are wide-open and are very much up in the air. I’m sure that some of the chunks that we felt are mapped out are going to change. We just have a general idea of what is going on in the world, and we have some general ideas for what happens to those people over the course of this future season, but until we really get back in the room, I’d really prefer not to try to commit to anything too soon. It just sort of like shuts up creativity. … I have an idea for the final image, the final scene and the final image of the show, and I have no idea whether that’ll be the final image or not.”
What do you make of the new night, new airing format, and shortened schedule? Are you happy to hear that each week will bring two doses of the comedy, or is it hard to believe the end will come so soon? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Parks and Recreation's Season 7 premieres January 13, 2015, and concludes with the hour-long series finale on February 24, 2015.
Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce.
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