The Netflix Files: December 8, 2011

Everyone in the whole world agrees that Arrested Development was a brilliant show cancelled before its time. Those very same people are now up in arms about the fate of Community, which was recently put on hiatus midseason by NBC.

Vulture takes a rational look at the announcement and deduces that there’s a 70-30 chance that the show will see a Season 4. But if it does, will we demand that an even unlikelier Season 5 come next year (or, more accurately, six-seasons-and-a-movie)? Don’t get me wrong, I think Community is one of the funniest, smartest, bestest comedies on television, but when the study group graduates, where do they go next? Do they resort to teaching, like Dr. Cox and Turk in that last season of Scrubs we’d all like to pretend doesn’t exist? Does Ed Helms eventually take over and pretend no one notices that he’s pulling the exact same schtick as the last guy? Will anyone still give a fuck who the mother is?

I’m firmly in the camp that Community should be granted the four years necessary for a Greenvale diploma, but after that it might be time to call it quits. A show overextending its welcome is far worse than being prematurely cancelled. The entire basis of Community, as showrunner Dan Harmon conceived of it, warrants four years and nothing more (except maybe an awesome post-series movie).

Party Down (2009-2010) is widely considered another brilliant-show-cancelled-before-its-time. It aired on Starz, where it received almost no attention, and it’s known mainly for featuring a pre-Glee Jane Lynch, who ditched the show when Fox came calling. It follows the antics of a catering crew that works various absurd events, ranging from Pepper McMasters Single Seminar to the Stennheiser-Pong Wedding Reception. Party Down was smart, witty and endearing – it also ends on the perfect note, after two seasons and twenty episodes total. Continue Reading