One of the fun games my house mate and I love to play at this time of year – the preceding phrase is laced with so much sarcasm that small puppies and kittens may die if they come too close to it – is whether our favourite US TV shows will make a welcome return to our screens later in the year (after the US summer TV hiatus) or drift off into non-pixelated oblivion.
It is like waiting in a hospital waiting room for a loved one to recover from a serious operation but much, much worse. Of course I am kidding. Or am I? Anyway, there are shows that are shoo-ins for renewal because they’re ratings blockbusters – this season think Suburgatory, New Girl or Once Upon a Time – or are capturing a particular demographic that a TV wants – think Happy Endings which skews young – or simply plug a role in the schedule (which surely is the only reason some of the spin offs of CSI or Law and Order lumber on like ageing dinosaurs with Zimmer frames)…
… and then are the shows that are critical darlings because they’re innovative, cleverly written with three dimensional characters but are failing to find an audience for goodness knows that reason. Case in point are two of my favourite shows of the moment, Community and Cougartown, which bristle with creative energy, clever out-of-the-box plots and characters you want to spend time with as often as is humanly possible.
I wish I knew why people don’t flock to these shows in numbers so great that the TV ratings monitors go into Chernobyl-style meltdowns but alas, they don’t. It is galling when shows as stellar as these two suffer while shows like Two Broke Girls, and Two and a Half Men, which rely on pre-digested flagged-in-advance obvious jokes for their “humour” rather letting it come organically from the characters’ interactions, attract recording ratings.
I daresay it would take a doctoral thesis to pull that apart, or an uncensored drunken night at a bar where I would likely say that I really think is the reason, so probably best if we move on to the very good, Snoopy Dance of Joy inducing news that…
Both Community and Cougar Town have been renewed!
Community is back for cut down season of just 13 episodes but frankly I would rather have 13 episodes of inspired madcap hilarity from the quirky students at Greendale Community College than none at all. There is a good chance that if it performs well that NBC could extend the order to a full season but best not to count our deans until they emerge wearing a figure-flattering Carmen Miranda outfit.
It’s still not confirmed if Chevy Chase will return for the fourth season, or for that matter, series creator and show runner Dan Harmon, but the rest of the gang will definitely be there, thank the TV gods!
Series star, Joel McHale tweeted in response to news:
“Dear #Community fans, You are the best people in the world. We’re renewed for 13 eps. Couldn’t have done it without you.”
To which we say, Joel you’re welcome (although technically living in Australia we had absolutely no impact on the result; even so I shall slap myself on the back and look mighty pleased and self-c0ngratulatory at every opportunity).
The return of Cougar Town was even more in the balance so its ongoing survival is a matter for a bunch of Hail Marys and thanks to any and all watching deities.
Its first three seasons were shown on the US ABC TV network but it’s been obvious to anybody trying to find the show on the schedule that the network’s heart just wasn’t in it. While programming chief Paul Lee maintained he was a fan of the show, his scheduling decisions said otherwise. It’s viewing demographic skews most heavily towards young women but Mr Lee, for reasons known only to him programmed it after the very blokey and hence largely male viewer-skewing new Tim Allen show, Last Man Standing. You can guess how well it did in that graveyard slot.
So news that it has moved across to basic cable channel TBS is to be welcomed. The deal involves production of seasons four and five of the adult-targeted show as well as the right to repeat screen season one to three. This will likely garner the show a much wider audience which hopefully should keep it around for a while to come.
In honour of both shows I would like to say the news is “Cool Cool Cool” and raise a glass of red wine in a Big Carl-like glass to much welcome news… and the end of nervous nail biting for the foreseeable future.