“Six seasons and a movie.”
It started off as an off-hand, meta-textual joke by Community character Abed (Danny Pudi) has turned into a mantra for fans of the cult comedy series. And despite the threat of near cancellation at the end of each season, with the show’s fifth year close to wrapping up, it looks as if it is about to meet that promise. TV Guide is reporting that NBC is leaning heavily towards renewing the show for a sixth season and that there are already discussions about a possible film spin-off.
Ratings have never been strong for the series, and despite the return of creator Dan Harmon this season after his rather public departure from the show at the end of season three, they have remained so this year. But the ratings for all of NBC’s comedies across the board have been low and most of the new series the network debuted last fall have already been scrapped. Harmon, speaking to Deadline at PaleyFest in Los Angeles last night, seemed encouraged that there would be a sixth season, either on NBC or through some alternate outlet like Hulu or Netflix.
Meanwhile, discussions for the film at Sony have already gotten to the point where there have been informal talks as to who might direct the project. TV Guide is hearing that Justin Lin’s name is being bandied about and he would be a great choice as the Fast & Furious franchise director helmed the series’ famous first season paint ball episode “Modern Warfare,” which many point to as where the fledgling show firmly solidified its unique creative voice.
But Lin isn’t the only feature film director to oversee episodes of the series. Brothers Joe and Anthony Russo, who have Captain America: The Winter Soldier hitting theaters next Friday, not only served as executive producers of the show in its early seasons, but also directed a handful. Most recently Joe Russo was behind the camera for last week’s “Advanced Advanced Dungeons & Dragons” episode. Broken Lizard’s Jay Chandrasekhar has also directed a number of episodes of the series.
As a fan of the series, Harmon’s return has certainly been a welcome turn after last year’s Harmon-less season that lacked the unique feel that the show’s creator brought. But Harmon’s return has not been without its bumps, with several episodes being devoted to explaining away the events of the previous season (“The gas leak year.”) and the departures of cast members Chevy Chase and Donald Glover. The last couple of episodes have settled into the show’s new dynamic rather swimmingly, though, and I would welcome the series continuing on. Of course, a movie would probably be the capstone of the story of Greendale Community College and its students and faculty. But if Harmon is ready to end that story, I would rather that he end it than allowing it to keep going without his participation.