Save the date, Community fans. On May 17, NBC will air the final three episodes of the low-rated, passionately loved comedy. The first episode will air at 8 p.m., as usual, followed by an episode of 30 Rock. Then, strangely, the final two episodes of the Community season will air back-to-back at 9 p.m. What does it all mean? Critics are divided. Community is among several NBC series that has yet to be renewed for next season, and the decision could still go either way. Is this odd bulk scheduling an auspicious sign of renewal, or the precursor to a death sentence?
It's good news: May 17 is right in the middle of the lucrative, ultra-competitive TV sweeps season, when networks try to juice their ratings so they can sell ads throughout the year based on those higher numbers, says Drusilla Moorhouse at E! Online. Clearly, NBC has faith in Community, as networks typically save the best episodes of their best series for sweeps.
"Is NBC killing — or saving — Community? Finale switch-up offers clues"
It's bad news: Bundling multiple installments of a show together typically "suggests a network is trying to burn off episodes of a failed show," says Duane Dudek at the Journal Sentinel. Community's ratings have never been impressive, and the comedy has "a troubled history" — factors that will likely lead to cancellation. It's a shame, too. Last week's episode, a parody of Law & Order, "may have been one of the best episodes of the season for any TV comedy."
"The end of Milwaukee native Dan Harmon's Community?"
Don't read too much into it: How you view this news depends on whether "you see the world as a glass half full or half empty," says Brody Gibson at Boom Tron. This isn't the first time NBC has tinkered with Community's schedule. Remember when NBC unceremoniously yanked the comedy from its mid-season lineup? Critics worriedly tried to read meaning into that move, too. The bottom line is "NBC just needed to fill space" in its schedule. So let's just celebrate that on May 17 we're all in for "90 minutes of awesome."
"Community's finale gets moved up for 90 minutes of awesome"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 10 things you need to know today: September 30, 2014
- How liberals are unwittingly paving the way for the legalization of adult incest
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The troubling persistence of eugenicist thought in modern America
- Why the Chinese military is only a paper dragon
- Libertarianism's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad idea
- How the Simpsons/Family Guy crossover revealed the worst of both shows
- Are hedge funds doomed?
- Obama's politically lethal credibility problem
Subscribe to the Week