CHICAGO – Mention the name Harry Lennix, and images of his many character roles are bound to emerge – Harold Cooper in the TV series “The Blacklist,” General Swanwick from “Batman v Superman” and Commissioner Blades from Spike Lee’s recent “Chi-Raq.” The deeply knowledgeable Lennix brings his years of dramatic expertise, as he directs the Congo Square Theatre Company’s world premiere stage play “A Small Oak Tree Runs Red.’
TV Review: NBC’s Hilarious ‘Community’ Returns For Second Season
CHICAGO – NBC’s “Community” took some time to find its comic rhythm but it has developed into one of the smartest and most expertly-paced sitcoms on television. The Joel McHale vehicle returns tonight, September 23rd, 2010 for a very-important start to its second season. If it can find the audience it deserves, “Community” could be on for years. It certainly should be.
Television Rating: 4.5/5.0
With the recent DVD release of season one (which we’ll get into more later), I had the chance to go back and watch the first few months of “Community” and confirm my opinion that this show was simply much better in 2010 than when it started in 2009. Like a lot of sitcoms, the cast simply went through some growing pains as they developed their chemistry. While some programs never get the time for their ensemble to gel, “Community” turned the corner in the middle of its first season and hasn’t looked back. It ended on a ridiculously high note and continues to impress with its second-season premiere.
“Community” essentially begins where it left off with Jeff (McHale) caught in a love crisis more appropriate for high school than community college. At the end of the first season, Britta (Gillian Jacobs) confessed her feelings for Jeff, who handled the situation by running off and kissing Annie (Alison Brie). Naturally, these developments lead to a few lingering problems. Britta feels publicly jilted but her shame turns to pride as her story becomes a rallying cry for other girls at Greendale Community College who turn their new hero into a romantic martyr. Jeff doesn’t take well to being turned into the bad guy and tries to one-up Britta in a hilarious exchange of public, romantic revelations. While Jeff tries to figure out the terms of his dynamic with Britta, Annie’s seemingly-growing love for him could be a problem.
Photo credit: Mitchell Haaseth/NBC
If it sounds a bit too much like a soap opera, don’t worry, Abed (Danny Pudi) thinks so too. The most “meta” character on TV, the young man who almost entirely speaks in pop culture references, has become almost like the Greek Chorus of “Community,” commenting on the action not unlike the show’s intelligent viewers do with their friends. Pudi continues to impress.
Community: The Complete First Season was released on DVD on September 21st, 2010.
Photo credit: Sony
Finally, the writers take a brilliant stab at their network’s competition, the abysmal “$#*! My Dad Says,” by having Troy (Donald Glover) tweet the odd ramblings of Pierce (Chevy Chase) and even suggest turning it into a TV show, and Senor Chang (Ken Jeong) tries to join the gang as a peer instead of a professor with hilarious results.
The season premiere of “Community” is one of the best of the new season. There have been a few reasonably-entertaining returns (“Glee,” “Modern Family”) and some disappointments (“How I Met Your Mother,” “The Big Bang Theory”) but few programs have come back clicking on the exact same level as when they left the air in May. “Community” keeps getting better by the week and has gone from a promising program a year ago to one of the best comedies on television.
Watch the development of “Community” with a great four-disc collection of the first season courtey of Sony. Sadly, “Community” is not available on Blu-ray, but the video and audio on the standard edition is better-than-average. I still don’t understand how a show that so many people are watching in glorious HD is not available in the same quality as its original broadcast in 2010.
The collection includes a remarkable series of special features, including cast and crew commentary on every single episode and even a comic book version of Troy and Abed’s hilarious “Kick Puncher.” The set also features over ninety minutes of special features including extended episodes, outtakes, and never-before-seen footage. It’s one of the most extensive and impressive standard DVD sets of the season. Don’t miss the DVD. Don’t miss the show on NBC. Do we have to beg?