I’ve gone on the record before to express my disappointment over Community’s last-minute resuscitation by, weirdly enough, Yahoo. With two of its main characters long gone by the end of Season 5, and the dread that came with the knowledge that its once-consistent streak of brilliance was a thing of the past, it seemed obvious that the series’ legacy would be best maintained if all of us finally just let go. Yet as a longtime fan, I knew that if there was going to be more Community, I couldn’t stop myself from checking it out—after all, the mastermind behind the show, Dan Harmon, is returning. So how terrible could it get?
Well, in the time since Yahoo announced itself as the “hero” to save the day, a third original member of the study group, Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown), has left, too. And now there’s the first official trailer, and it’s not any more encouraging.
The trailer does its best to use the show’s signature self-awareness to make up for the obvious absence of its core cast members and original storylines, emphasizing in every way possible that it’s “new”: “New Shirley” (Paget Brewster); “new allies” like scientist Elroy Patashnik (Keith David); a melodramatic voice-over stating, “Everything is new, but nothing’s Chang-ed.” Yet for all Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Jim Rash, and the rest of the old gang can do, all of the one-liners fall flat. Plus, it feels as though the dynamic is shifting uncomfortably toward Chang (Ken Jeong) again, which is too bad—the zaniest character among a group of zany characters is best in small doses, and cloying in big dollops.
Am I still planning to check it out? Of course—my curiosity, however sick, remains strong. But after seeing this trailer, I think fans would be wise to lower their already low expectations.