Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Community on Hiatus

Everyone should be watching Community. It's the best comedy on TV, that has catapulted into a fan favorite series - with engaging characters, inventive stories, and excellent humor. I feel like I'm being blind-sided by this - but apparently Community wasn't doing that great in the ratings. I really don't understand why - I began watching the show with their claymation Christmas special, and upon favorable comments by friends and acquaintances - I began watching it regularly. I also began watching the series with my sister, who seemingly became addicted to the series - going through Netflix DVD Rentals of the first two seasons and all of it's commentary. It's a show worthy of that kind of attention.

When it first came on the air I originally ignored it, because I didn't entirely understand it. Chevy Chase, once a top tier comedian, had long since become supremely unfunny, starring in very bad movies -- so his name on the series didn't draw my attention. Yet, now having gotten into the series, I consider this show to be the best turn his carrier could have ever taken! His unfunny and grouchy exterior in real life suddenly became a hilarious asset - which was put to good use in this series. Chevy Chase was suddenly funny again.

The series has also made all of it's other actors stand outs in my mind. I recently watched Donald Glover's stand-up act on Comedy Central, and while it definitely used much more adult language, was fundamentally an excellent and hilarious show.

Ken Jeong, being launched into the stratosphere with his appearance in the movie "The Hangover", has cemented himself as an excellent comedian - which has proven episode after episode as he played the role of group outsider Chang. (I still can't get over the fact that he's also a licensed medial doctor in real life.)

Anyway - I bring this all up because it was just announced that the series, in the middle of its third season, has been put on hiatus. NBC has said the show will come back. Seeing as how the Office, as a series, is winding down - it seems such a shame that NBC is screwing with their line-ups that work. Again, while a critical darling and fan favorite show - the ratings haven't been as good as they would like. NBC, in general, have usually always been in 4th place in ratings. I really don't understand why, though. Their Thursday Line up are the only prime-time comedies I watch, and Law & Order where favorite mainstays. (Well, until they started screwing with that franchise as well. Now all we have left is Law & Order SVU. I'd really like to see murder investigations again, instead of nothing but sex-crime related plots.)

The Daily Beast Summarized the situation well in this article "Community on Hiatus: Why NBC is Making a Mistake". Despite the less than impressive ratings, the show has a number of factors going for it - including the shocked internet fan response, which might galvanize viewership when the show does return to the air. Yet it strikes me as what's wrong with broadcast Networks in general. Doing stupid things, rearranging shows and canceling fan favorites isn't a new thing -- but if NBC is really looking to get out of being perpetually in 4th place, acting smarter in instances like this really needs to be a priority. Look at what is working well on you're network; If Community isn't doing as well in the ratings, but is getting great reviews - then maybe moving it to after the Office (for example) would be a good idea to get attention. Put more ad support behind the show; use the already established fan base to help spread word. And, most importantly, stop green-lighting bad shows like "Whitney" (which looks like a dinosaur compared to the laugh-track free programs surrounding it), Perfect Couples (which was only mildly entertaining because of the actors starring in it), or "Up All Night" (which just from the commercials looks like a lack luster sitcom with so-so stars). And bring back Law & Order! (As Tracy Morgan on 30 Rock said, upon hearing of L&O cancelation: "But it was a tent pole, A TENT POLE!)

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