If you have even a faint interest in laughing, then you’ll be ecstatic to know that Community is now streaming on UK Netflix. What does this mean for you, dear reader? Well it means you should probably buckle up for the comedy that demands to be binged…
I woke up on Sunday 1st February 2015 thinking it was just another day. It hadn’t even crossed my mind as I laid in bed — awkwardly sprawled and watching Alan Shearer mumble his way through the early morning Match of the Day repeat — that Netflix had an ace up their sleeve that would blow my binge watching habits wide open.
Community. A show I have passionately cared about since I first started watching back in 2010 has finally made its way through to a platform in the UK that is both a) legal and b) popular. If you happened to know about the show and would refuse to break the law to watch it, your options weren’t exactly thrilling or accessible.
You could try and catch episodes as they aired on VIVA – yes, that gaudy freeview MTV dumping ground had a few bright spots – or buy them from iTunes years after they aired at £1.89 in SD quality. While it gave the show a cult air of fandom, it also meant it never found the audience it truly deserved.
That started to change last year, as the show trickled out onto DVD — making my region 1 DVD for the first season a bit pointless — and landed on Amazon Instant. At that point though, it was preaching to a choir of die-hard fans who had seen episodes many, many times… At least now they had an excuse to ignore their downloads with CityTV in the bottom corner.
So why is Netflix worthy of all this hyperbole when it’s not quite as hard to watch in the UK as it used to be? Because Community finally has a platform for the audience it can find over here.
Netflix might have it’s issues, but it’s the de facto streaming platform. It has become the service that others are judged against and more importantly, most people use. It’s an audience that has breathed life and created fanatical hoards around shows. An audience that Community has always warranted.
It’s not just Community’s gain though. Netflix now has perhaps one of the most binge-able shows of all time. Community is renowned for it’s ability to morph itself into whatever it wants. One episode is a pastiche of action movies with paintballs, after it’s a D&D inspired homage and then it’ll hit you with an 8-Bit videogame homage. This is perfect for an audience who don’t watch an episode a week, but five in one night. Community keeps itself fresh — like a certain sandwich franchise — while grounding everything in characters you’ll care about.
That’s important. The other successful ingredient for a binge worthy show is characters you want to spend time with. There’s a few exceptions — It’s Always Sunny is populated with the foulest monsters on TV, but damn if it isn’t hilarious — but they prove the rule etc. It’s ensemble is just as strong as any other American comedy in the past twenty years. Any and all of the central cast can be put together and it’ll generate laughs, especially when it’s Troy and Abed, even as the central cast start dropping out later in the show.
I love Community. I use Netflix an awful lot. I’m currently ploughing my way through the show – again – because I can. I spent most of uni either forcing upon my friends and loved ones, anyone in a five mile radius who would listen to me. It’s finally got a chance to worm it’s way into hearts of lot more people than myself and that is cool. Cool cool cool.