Community is coming back, but not to standard TV. After getting canceled by NBC last spring due to low ratings, the cult comedy will return for a sixth season on Yahoo Screen, much to the thrill of the show’s devoted fanbase. With a new platform and several recent cast departures though, it seems viewers should expect to see some notable changes in the coming season.
Structurally, episodes of the show shouldn’t be too different. The premiere will include two back-to-back episodes, with subsequent weekly installments every Tuesday. Each episode may be a little longer than typical seasons. Whereas the NBC version ran around 22 minutes long, creator Dan Harmon revealed at this week’s Television Critics Association panel that the new cuts are coming in at 26 minutes. Fans may also see some changes aesthetically, as the show has switched soundstages and brought a new director of photography, following the move to Yahoo.
The biggest and most obvious changes though will take place within the cast. Several cast members, including Donald Glover, Chevy Chase, and Yvette Nicole Brown, recently left the show, with the latter having announced her departure in September. Still, Harmon maintained there is a possibility for both Brown and Glover’s character to drop in in the future, although it may not necessarily be this season. Similarly, Chase’s character may also make a reappearance, despite his death. “If you were to take a man and bring him back to life like that, I think you would want to keep that a secret,” Harmon said of the possibility, per EW.
While some familiar characters exit, two new ones will make their entrance. The series is introducing two new faces to the bunch this season, played by Paget Brewster and Keith David. Both will be what Harmon calls “classic Community characters.” Brewster will play a relentless problem solver who’s been hired to fix Greendale’s issues. Meanwhile, David’s character is a computer programmer who spent much of his life trying to develop virtual reality technology and failed.
As for what season six will actually entail, Harmon confirmed there will be no high-concept, themed episodes, instead placing more focus on the characters and their backstories – like Jeff’s (Joel McHale) new teaching job at Greendale Community College. Still, with the show having only filmed a handful of episodes for the season so far and the writers continuing to map out what’s to come, Harmon says he does remain “hopeful of doing something a little extravagant. Something cool in the last couple of episodes.”
While fans are happy to get a sixth season of Community, the question still remains: Where does the show go from here? There’s long since been discussion of a possible big screen adaptation. Though Yahoo has not yet ordered any additional episodes, Harmon says there’s still potential for a seventh season — and maybe even beyond, should viewers want it. “I’m definitely not writing it as if it’s the end,” he said of the upcoming season, later adding. “Only when people stop watching would I ever stop wanting to make the product. I have to continue writing the show as if it’s going to last for 20 seasons.”
Season six of Community will premiere on Yahoo on March 17.