Community's third season came to an end with a trio of episodes shown across two-hours on NBC; which was either a parting treat for loyal fans, or a way to burn-off the remainder of a low-rated comedy. Which do you think? The first episode, "Digital Estate Planning", was a spiritual sequel to "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas" from last season, only with claymation replaced by 8-bit computer graphics. The virtual adventure began when Pierce (Chevy Chase) was summoned to his late-father's estate with "seven of his closest friends" (um, LeVar Burton didn't show), to compete in a video game against his dad's manservant Gilbert (Giancarlo Esposito) to win his family inheritance. Cue the study group sitting inside a multi-player simulator, playing "Journey To The Center Of Hawkthorne", with the vast majority of the episode visualized as an '80s-style RPG...
|**½ (out of four)|
|*** (out of four)|
|**½ (out of four)|
NBC may have given Community an unexpected fourth season, but showrunner Dan Harmon's contract is still being negotiated. There's a chance he won't return, meaning Community would be without its creator for its fourth (and likely final) season. Will this be damaging? I don't know, but it will certainly have an impact. It's hard to know how strongly Harmon guides the writers, so without him we might notice a change in style and/or attitude. Maybe less/more spoofs? Who knows, it may even be an improvement. Or it could be a disastrous final run without Harmon at the helm. We'll have to wait and see if NBC are willing to compromise with him. I'd be interested to hear what you think about the prospect of Community without Harmon. TV shows lose showrunners all the time, and it's not always a death knell, but it does affect things. Dexter, anyone?Update: Dan Harmon has been sacked. Thoughts?
- Starburns lives! He faked his own death! Uh, yeah. Can't say I care. Ultimately it felt strange to do this, and I think the character's popularity is overrated if his return in the coda was supposed to make us feel anything but cheated. Now, if they'd killed and resurrected Magnitude...
- Guest star Giancarlo Esposito is rapidly becoming one of my favourite actors. He was so damned good on Breaking Bad as the quietly terrifying Gus Fring, and now appears to be getting lots of guest-starring roles in shows where the writers are fans. I hope his larger role in this year's Revolution continues his winning streak.