Tuesday, May 22, 2012

What the fuck, Sony?!

So... this happened over the weekend:

A few hours ago, I landed in Los Angeles, turned on my phone, and confirmed what you already know. Sony Pictures Television is replacing me as showrunner on Community [...]

[...] because nobody called me, and then started hiring people to run the show, I had my assistant start packing up my office days ago. I’m sorry. I’m not saying seasons 1, 2 and 3 were my definition of perfect television, I’m just saying that whatever they’re going to do for season 4, they’re aiming to do without my help.
If you haven't done so, read this candid tumblr post by Dan Harmon. It's very refreshing – in a sad "Sony is ruining Community" kind of way.

Seriously – what the fuck, Sony?!

Yes, I'm still going to watch the show when it comes back in the fall, and yes, I'm really wishing that it stays awesome and gets further seasons; but I do think that they've ruin the show that we love. Community is unique because of Dan Harmon's vision and his refusal to follow the traditional sitcom formula.

Many have discussed the possibility of Community retaining its audience and relative success (let's face it, they're not getting the numbers) after this change, and comparing it to other TV shows that have had a change of show-runner. The most mentioned shows: The Simpsons, Doctor Who and The West Wing. I'm only familiar with the latter two, and I agree with most people's arguments.

On Doctor Who, they didn't have an original show-runner who also came up with the idea of the show. Russell T Davies was responsible for reviving the show but the show itself was well-established by then. Therefore, even though the tone of the show shifted when Steven Moffat took over, it's not the same change as what Community is about to go through.

The West Wing, on the other hand, had a more similar change. The show was created by Aaron Sorkin, and almost all of the episodes of the first four seasons were written by Sorkin himself. When he left, The West Wing took a very sharp turn. It became more focused on continuing plots and deeper stories, which is a good thing. Quite a few people prefer the latter seasons, which I understand because the story of campaigning for an underdog is definitely appealing. I did say that I prefer the Sorkin era, but that was only my first watch; I have to go back and rewatch the show to make a better judgment. I think I was a little too attached to the group, which was pretty much broken after season 4, to enjoy seasons 5-7 as much.

So, I guess what I'm saying is, it can still be good, like TWW; a level down but still higher than most others; but it just wouldn't be the same. Just as TWW lacking Sorkin's wit in the latter seasons – something that I missed, terribly – Community would miss its Harmon-ness. In any case, I still want the six seasons and a movie. But only if Dan Harmon does the movie; which I doubt he'll do, judging from the little I know of his personality, but I can hope!

This really just adds to my fear that NBC (and I guess Sony too) is trying to push Community away.

Dan Harmon and others react on Twitter:

And all this happened just a few days after the season finale, when I was drafting my post about this: