'Community - The Complete Series'
(Joel McHale, Chevy Chase, Gillian Jacobs, Alison Brie, Ken Jeong, et al / 12-Disc Blu-ray / PG / 2018 / Mill Creek Entertainment)
Overview: 'Community' is a smart, exuberant comedy that was consistently ranked as one of the most inventive and original half hours on television.
This ensemble comedy centers on a tight-knit group of friends who all met at what is possibly the world's worst educational institution - Greendale Community College.
Blu-ray Verdict: Interestingly enough, and worth pointing out from the off, given the unevenness of certain season, creator Dan Harmon was actually fired after the third season by Sony Pictures Television!
Crew members claimed that Harmon caused numerous delays in shooting, and that his work habits caused tension between the writers and him. Harmon was subsequently replaced with David Guarascio and Moses Port.
Writers Chris McKenna and Dino Stamatopoulos also left, BUT after a low-rated fourth season, Harmon was rehired, and Guarascio and Port were fired! Oh, and both McKenna and Stamatopoulos also returned!
Sure, much more happened than just those behind-the-scenes chess moves, but overall, the show was a pure, unadulterated gem.
In fact, what I love about 'Community' (out now via a quite brilliant 12-Disc, First Time EVER on Blu-ray Box-Set, containing all 6 seasons and all 110 episodes) is the versatility of the mish-mash of characters and the way their chemistry just works. You have a bit of everything.
In Jeff Winger you have the smug, speech making likable anti-hero. Troy Barnes, the silly, immature, lovable ragamuffin. Shirley Bennett, the lovable innocent bubbly one. Annie Edison, the gorgeous and bubbly, point making, try-hard, witty young lady with an unexpected history.
Abed Nabir, who's so-called disability of Aspergers Syndrome is made light of by making him obsessed with pop culture, meaning endless film and television references which drives the cinematic element of the show.
Britta Perry, who's witty, self obsessed persona bounces of other characters with hilarious consequences and finally Pierce Hawthorne, played by the fabulous Chevy Chase, who's hilarious improv (to my mind) gives him one of the greatest one-liner characters in recent years.
Not to mention the supporting cast, who are excellent, played by Ken Jeong, Jim Rash, Dino Stamatopoulos and John Oliver to name a few.
In truth, 'Community' joined the NBC Thursday night lineup back in 2009 as the show with Chevy Chase, the guy from the soup and the Asian guy from The Hangover!
It was a huge underdog from the start, got low ratings and not a big fan base from the off. But when the first Halloween episode rolled along something changed ... it became GREAT and the cast really found their aforementioned chemistry.
The series, as a whole, is the perfect poke at the side of the rest of Hollywood. To my mind, and as alluded to in the intro, after the first season, the remaining seasons lost their juice somewhat.
Not badly, of course, for the episodes by themselves are still so damn good, but the series become a slight parody of itself.
Like, the plot might not always be there, but there are many three-dimensional characters and so there is always some sort of meeting with the Goddess; and the pop culture references are just brilliant (even now).
The episodes are often satirical and over the top while some how juggling character development and coherency. Beneath the humor, references and episodic plot are many running themes and issues ranging from love, lust, friendship and loss.
Troy and Annie's relationship has slowly been shifting, switching and mutating in a very human way while Pierce and Shirley's relationship has progressed from awkward strangers to uncomfortable friends.
In closing, all in all, this series offers something unique - a quirky, hilarious flavor with a touching aftertaste. Worthwhile viewing for sitcom-lovers, film buffs, families and anyone looking for a good laugh. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Bonus Features of:
Commentary on Almost Every Episode
Hilarious Outtakes, Puns & Gag Reels
Deleted & Extended Scenes
Over 3 hours of Behind-The-Scenes Featurettes with Cast & Crew