This week Yahoo premiered a trailer for the sixth season of the cult comedy sitcom, Community, the absurdist, pop-culture referencing show about a local college starring Joel McHale. Originally part of Must See TV with The Office, Parks & Recreation and 30 Rock, NBC cancelled Community (several times) and its hardcore fans thought they’d never get the “six seasons and a movie” they hoped for every year the show lived on the ratings bubble.
While many hoped Netflix, Amazon or another network would come to Community’s rescue, few predicted its savior would be Yahoo, which had yet to start its own streaming service. While the show has lost some cast members, including Chevy Chase, Donald Glover, Jonathan Banks and John Oliver, season six will have new characters played by Keith David and Paget Brewster.
While the show’s surprising resurrection and trailer is great news to its fanbase, it also highlights some major evolutions for the television industry. For one, it is the coming out party for Yahoo! Screen, which is using Community’s beloved cult status as a foothold to break into the increasingly-crowded streaming mediascape, much like Netflix did with Arrested Development in 2013. With its capital and buzzworthy CEO, Yahoo is poised to become a major player.
For another, it shows that Amazon’s strategy was most likely not a fluke. Yahoo is joining other large companies not originally based in filmmaking and TV in providing original content online. It won’t be long before these corporate names are as synonymous with Emmys and ratings as the broadcast and cable networks.
Finally, it’s another feather in the cap for vocal fanbases, who are succeeding more and more with bringing back their favorite shows with their passionate outcries. With more and more companies entering the TV game and having a lot more to prove, suddenly these TV viewers are finding themselves with more power than they ever expected. Now that’s community.