Friday, March 15, 2013


I have a problem with TV shows once they get longer than about two series (of any length) where I eventually forget most of what's happened before. The broad strokes are fine, but hanging onto details ends up being pretty much impossible.

This has now happened with Community, where the extended space between seasons three and four has made the problem even worse; I remember really liking more or less everything so far though, even if I can't recall every scene and plotline the way some internet commenters seem to (do they watch this stuff repeatedly even as it airs?).

The fourth season got off to a rocky start with the departure of Dan Harmon, the show's creator and lead writer. While lots of the episodes could get a bit self-indulgent with its parodies, references and meta-commentary, Harmon's oversight seemed to always keep things more or less consistent in tone and character.

The recent episodes, with the loss of that single voice at the top, are reminding me a lot of the Futurama movies and the first series post-revival. The jokes are there, and the characters are themselves, although dangerously close to imitations in some scenes.

That's not to say the new shows haven't had their moments - Thursday night's Advanced Documentary Filmmaking was pretty good for my money, although there were some things that didn't make a whole lot of sense logistically - but it does feel like a poor imitation.

I'm hoping the new writers get into the swing of things more once they've gotten out of Harmon's shadow a little (easier said than done, perhaps, when his name's still featured so prominently in the opening credits), and I've got my fingers crossed that the ratings will keep it going for a while yet. Even without that guiding hand, I like the cast and their characters that I'm keen to see where it goes.

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