SXSW: 5 Things to Expect From 'Community' Season 6 on Yahoo
The cast and creator Dan Harmon took the stage at SXSW to preview the upcoming season of the cult comedy.
Cult comedy Community is moving to Yahoo for its sixth season, and creator Dan Harmon brought the cast to South by Southwest to spread the news.
The season premiere was held Saturday night in Austin, followed by a panel Sunday morning about the show's shift to digital. Moderator Harmon first brought stars Joel McHale, Alison Brie and Gillian Jacobs onstage for an intimate chat and then surprised the audience with most of the cast, including Jim Rash, Ken Jeong, Paget Brewster and Keith David.
The hourlong talk, during which the cast touched on a range of topics and shared inside jokes with the audience, gave a bit of insight into the show ahead of its March 17 premiere. Here are some of the things that Community fans can look forward to.
1. The same Community …
Sure, it might be on Yahoo instead of NBC, but don't expect much about the show to change. Harmon said that he didn't want to stray too far from the tone he had already established on the show, which follows a group of friends at Greendale Community College. "There's actually an open window next to us that we're just choosing not to go into because it wouldn't be Community anymore," he said.
The 'Community' panel at SXSW
2. But a little different
Because Community is airing on a digital platform, Harmon said the episodes could run up to four minutes longer than the network-standard 22 minutes. The show is also getting an infusion of new characters after losing several castmembers over the last few years, including Yvette Nicole Brown, Donald Glover and Chevy Chase. Paget Brewster joins as Frankie Dart, a consultant hired to get the school in shape, and Keith David enrolls in the show as Elroy Patashnik, a washed-up inventor looking to reinvent himself. Brewster said it wasn't easy joining such a tight-knit cast. "It's very scary joining a cast that's been together so long," she admitted.
3. Yahoo support
The cast was resoundingly positive about the move from broadcast to digital, noting that they feel more supported at Yahoo than when they were a ratings-challenged but critically beloved sitcom on NBC. "It helps getting that vibe from Yahoo that makes it feel like a new show, even though the show's not changing," said Brie. Added Jacobs: "[Yahoo CMO] Kathy Savitt came to visit the show and gave us a wonderful speech about all the marketing things that Yahoo was going to do for us. We just stood there with our mouths agape."
4. Season six surprises
Harmon promised the return of some Community fan favorites, including a new paintball episode, and also revealed that the sixth season will feature a stable of notable guest stars, including Nathan Fillion and Jason Mantzoukas. Although he teased other surprise appearances, he wouldn't give much away. He did note that there was a surprise in the tag after the first episode that was not shown during the premiere.
5. Uncertain future
With just two episodes left to shoot before it's a wrap on the sixth season, Yahoo hasn't announced whether it will be the show's final season. Meanwhile, Jeong and Danny Pudi have signed on to new projects in first position, meaning they would have to sign new contracts if Yahoo wanted to bring back the show for a seventh season. When a fan asked Harmon about the possibility of a movie, he admitted that it wasn't up to him. "I don't know why [Yahoo] would turn their nose up to a movie about a low-rated show," Harmon said dryly.