Lost in the madness of the ongoing coronavirus concerns last week was some genuinely good news: Community is coming to Netflix! The NBC sitcom that was at once iconic and infamous will be making its Netflix debut in April 1st thanks to a nice negotiation that will see the show appearing on both Netflix and Hulu at the same time.
Per Deadline, Netflix struck a non-exclusive deal with Sony Pictures TV to land the global SVOD rights to Community, but will still share the domestic rights with Hulu where the show is currently streaming. Netflix paid “significantly more” for the show because their deal includes global rights—meaning people all around the world will be able to stream Community on Netflix. The deal reportedly lasts 3-4 years.
Created by Dan Harmon, Community debuted on NBC in 2009 and rather quickly found its footing as a bit of an oddball sitcom with wild ambitions. Eventual Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo helped shape the visual language of the series as executive producers and directors, and the show became known for its epic homage episodes to movie genres like action, Western, and superhero films.
As the series grew into its own, Harmon became more thematically ambitious—and mind you this was also back when a sitcom like Community produced a whopping 25 episodes a season. Harmon and Sony consistently butted heads over budget and content issues, and Harmon and the cast also had disputes with co-star Chevy Chase. Harmon was fired from the series after Season 3, with Sony TV and NBC enlisting two outside producers to serve as new showrunners. It didn’t work—Season 4 lacked the unique quality that made Community special—and after star Joel McHale lobbied the network and studio, Harmon was re-hired for Season 5, albeit with Donald Glover asking to leave the series to pursue other creative avenues.
Community was on the verge of cancellation at the end of its fifth season but was picked up at the last hour by Yahoo! Screen of all places, where its sixth and final season aired. Harmon, of course, then went on to co-create the now-iconic animated series Rick and Morty.
The show is a wild and wildly uneven ride, but when Community is great it’s great, so I look forward to revisiting it on Netflix next month.