Geeks everywhere are rejoicing at the promised return of the cult underground innovative television show, Community.
Community has an invested (or more like rabid) following of supporters. While Community’s ratings were consistently low in its first two seasons, the internet presence of the viewers coupled with the fact that the discussion panels are constantly blown up hints at a disparity between the ratings and the actual amount of fans.
The majority of people in the 18-25 demographic, of which I am a member, are too busy or have schedules that are incompatible with their favorite television shows. Many of Community’s fans fall into this demographic; the pop culture references and theme/spoof episodes appeal to this age group. The reality of life is that while going to school or working multiple jobs, it is just not possible to be sure every week one can tune in at the same specific time.
Usually, I will watch my television shows on my computer at my leisure on hulu.com just the day after the episode airs. NBC, Community’s home network, goes only off of the numbers of the people tuning in for the premiere of the episode. They do not track the number of watchers on internet sites. They use the profits of the commercial marketing when the program airs, so the number of watchers is how they make a profit. Networks need to recognize the changing way people are watching entertainment and monetize the internet sites like hulu.com. This will keep shows like Community from being canceled because the networks will realize how to reach the internet generation.
Netflix is starting to accept this inevitability. They are reassembling the cast of the quirky prematurely canceled show, Arrested Development, and starting on a new season that they will air through their online streaming feature. If the show ends up being popular and a success monetarily, it will probably open up a new possibility for how people watch TV.
Web series like The Guild and Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog have proven that an online series can attract a large and dedicated following.
It is time for our entertainment to catch up with the times.