After a brief montage of Community seasons 1 to 5 highlights, the screens in Ballroom 20 flat line – but that's when Yahoo brings it back to life. After announcing, "We have the technology, we have the capability to make the world's first bionic show. Community will be that show. Better than it was before."
Then the piece drops this little gem: "Ratings? Where we're going, we don't need ratings."
After getting the boot from NBC, Yahoo snatched up Community. Despite the diehard fan base, the show's hit some serious bumps in the road, so when NBC broke the news back in May, creator Dan Harmon thought that that was finally it; Community was really over. He recalled, "I didn't feel this was possible so I didn't want them to get optimistic and I knew, honestly, it was about corporate politics, at a certain point. The love is a commodity, so you demonstrate it, it's been overly demonstrated and then it's time to sit back and see if they can make something happen and I didn't know they could."
Turns out, the folks at Yahoo were capable of bringing the show back, but initially, Harmon wasn't even into the idea. He explained, "I know that about three hours before the deadline was up we were told, 'Do you really wanna do this?' I think at first I said, 'No,' and then an hour and a half later I was like, 'All right.' Because Yahoo called me and they seem really smart and cool, and then I thought, 'Well, does it really matter where you're doing this?' I cannot be the one to not do this. Wherever this show is, people will find it, especially if it's on an easy app that Yahoo streams." He added, "It's season 6 of Community, you'll be watching it the way you've always watched it, only now it's legal."
Joel McHale, on the other hand, had no doubt the show would be back. In fact, from McHale's perspective, it was about making more Community or suicide. He told the crowd, "I had no doubt we would be back because – well, like a Japanese general in WWII, the only option was victory or suicide. As I've said a lot, I love the show, I love the way Dan looks all the time. To have any show be on for as long as it has is a hard thing and then for the show to be as good as it is, I believe, because it is the greatest television show in history. So I always wanted it back — if they would pay me what Jim Parsons is making."
McHale also had a bit of a roundabout way of pointing out the obvious; at this point, how many people still watch a show when it airs anyway? And how many of you are ditching your TVs entirely for computer screens and iPads? McHale noted, "I could not be happier the show is back and I know that all of you, mostly white people, you don't run home and go, 'Ah! My show is on at 9:00! I need to get there right now!' You watch it the way that most people do, which is on tiny little screens, and so now we're on one. And, f*ck you network television."
And of course, by ditching network television, that also means Community gets to ditch certain content restrictions along with it. When asked about what he's got planned for that newfound freedom, Harmon explained, "My philosophy is attempt to make the same show and let the lack of boundaries kind of just make themselves felt instead of actually going, 'We can make the episode 40 minutes long and say the F-word the whole time!'" Harmon also pointed out that even though the show is going digital, it won't adhere to the Netflix format. Rather than drop all 13-episodes at once, they'll release them on a weekly basis.
Regardless, that still poses a challenge for certain show staples. When a fan asked if we'll get holiday-themed episodes, the panel noted that while they'd like to, if they're airing in February, they're just not going to do a Halloween-themed show at that time.
Before wrapping up, Harmon dished out one fun fact. When a fan asked exactly where the show is set in Colorado, Harmon explained, "We wanted it to be kind of Anywhere, USA. I just thought, why specify where you are? The weird thing about producing TV is the legal team needs you to tell them where the show is. They need a state so that if you name a character June Johnson, they have to say, 'Well, there's a bunch of June Johnsons in Colorado.' If there's a bunch of them, then they can't sue us. If there's only one, we can't do it."