News just broke that Sony has not extended the contract of Community showrunner Dan Harmon. Instead of signing him for two years at the end of season 2, as is customary, Harmon and Sony agreed to a one year deal and now that Community has been renewed, Harmon is out. Somewhere in Southern California, Chevy Chase is smiling.
While every show is driven the voice of its showrunner, few shows are driven by as distinct a voice as Harmon's. Few shows have been as stylistically daring as Community has been. Even its most mundane episodes, episodes that consisted of little more than two characters going out to dinner, have been as rich with homage and layered with comedy as any show has a right to be. (That My Dinner with Andre episode really was incredible.)
It makes last night's season finale, "Introduction to Finality", that much more, uh, final. Its Wire-like end montage is much more than just the end the Greendale Seven's third year, it is, most likely, the true end of the show. Community was Harmon's own, thoroughly, and sometimes that meant episodes of TV that were amazing and all the time it meant a show that barely anyone watched, no matter what Twitter had to say about it. The new showrunners, reportedly David Guarascio and Moses Port formerly of Happy Endings, no matter how good they are, will never be able to replicate the totally unique vision that Harmon brought to the show.
For people who love Community, especially at its most outlandish, this news comes as something virtually as bad as the cancellation of the show. What is Community without Dan Harmon? Guess we'll see in the fall.