TV News: Parenthood Back, Community Renewed and Canceled

I have mixed feelings about both of NBC's autism-related announcements regarding next year's TV season.

Parenthood will be back for a fourth season, which is basically a good thing because the show's depiction of a child with Asperger's syndrome has gotten better and better.  But it's annoying personally, because I really don't like it, and it's too relevant to the thAutcast beat for me to completely ignore it.

Community is one of three shows that NBC announced simultaneously that it was both renewing and canceling:

The struggling Peacock network is taking a new direction with its primetime lineup, and that means cleaning house. Until this week, the once-dominant network had been suspiciously mum on its plans for next season. That all changed with a giant info dump from NBC execs which included the fates of veteran sitcoms “30 Rock,” “Community” and “Parks and Recreation.”

All three critical darlings will be given abbreviated “send off” seasons followed by immediate termination. Despite receiving generally favorable reviews, NBC’s long-running Thursday comedy lineup has never garnered stellar ratings. The limited order of 13 episodes for each show must have seen like a good compromise solution for the network that has seen itself slide from first to fourth place over the last decade.

I have very complicated feelings about this.  I have mostly loved Community since it got from its midseason hiatus this year, and I think the fact that Dan Harmon is an openly autistic showrunner is amazing.  And Abed is a wonderful character who has been created at the edge of what is possible in terms of comedic representation of autism right now .  But the show has been so inconsistent, with great episodes alternating with misfires, that I think this strategy might be a way to keep it at its current creative peak, and maybe even allow it move on to become something else.