NBC’s ‘Community’: animated web series, season 4 hints at PaleyFest

The web series is coming March 7.

As a part of PaleyFest on Saturday night, the majority of the “Community” series regulars (minus an out-of-town Chevy Chase and a touring Donald Glover) sat down to share a few details on what has become one of the TV’s most-beloved series (and also unfortunately one that is almost always on the bubble when it comes to cancellation).

When it comes to the show’s future, for now we just have to be happy that new episodes are going to be back on starting March 15. It’s been almost three months since we have seen new adventures at Greendale, and the cast said that it was in many ways strange to shoot a dozen episodes in a vacuum. Creator Dan Harmon has said that he often takes viewer feedback into account when planning future episodes — and this was actually how the unusual friendship between Troy and Abed (which was not present in early episodes) ended up being born. At this point, Harmon and the cast just have to hope that they already understand the taste of their viewers and can cater to them appropriately.

The entire crew is still looking ahead to season 4, and executive producer Russ Krasnoff said that he is confident that a renewal will happen. Why? NBC as a whole is a big fan of the show, and they are also nearing that magic number of 88 episodes needed for studio Sony to be able to sell the show to syndication. After watching the ratings for “30 Rock” tank in the 8:00 p.m. Eastern timeslot once occupied by the show (and forced up against “The Big Bang Theory”), the “Community” ratings don’t seem so bad. As a matter of fact, the only two comedies on NBC to consistently draw stronger 18-49 ratings than “Community” so far in 2012 have been “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation.” “Are You There, Chelsea?” is likely going to be canceled, and “Whitney” and “Up All Night” are more or less toss-ups.

As for some other highlights from the panel, there were many:

-Beginning March 7, the show will be airing a weekly animated web series entitled “Abed’s Master Key” written by Dave Seger and Tom Kauffman, which will focus on Abed finding himself in a position where he has complete access to anything and everything at Greendale. You can see the key (rim shot) art for the show (which will air on NBC.com, Hulu, and Hulu Plus) to the left; meanwhile, the first teaser is below.

-Gillian Jacobs actually performed the “Britta hungry dance” live, and said that she loves how her character’s name has now become a verb for messing something up.

-Yvette Nicole Brown is excited about a number of Shirley / Jeff scenes coming up, and also teased a moment with Malcolm Jamal Warner’s Andre that she pressured him to be one of the most romantic of her entire life.

-A “Law & Order” tribute episode is one that Harmon is especially looking forward to — as is an installment that is almost entirely based on Abed and Annie inside of the Dreamatorium in their apartment.

-Somebody will meet their maker during the spring season, which led the entire team to talk about how the body count for this show seems to be higher than any other comedy on TV these days.

Photo: NBC

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