Summer may have a reputation for being the doldrums of television, but in my opinion there’s actually some really solid reality TV to be found. You heard me right, I just endorsed the viewing of reality TV. And I’m not even going to qualify it with the word ‘guilty’ because I have no qualms about admitting my love for the following reality competition programs:
For the first time since 2004, NBC finished the traditional TV season in first place, in the coveted 18-49 demo that is. Obviously it was a good year for the network.
I followed all the recent TV cancellation and renewal action on Twitter this year, and while there was plenty of snark, relief, and anguish expressed in 140 characters or less, there was also a lot of talk about this year being a bloodbath in the cancellation department.
With TV being a visual medium and all, it’s not surprising that many shows utilize some sort of promotional poster for advertising purposes.
You’ve seen them before – as magazine ads, on billboards, or plastered on the side of a bus. I always notice them most often in the late summer, right before the kickoff of the traditional broadcast TV season.
And while most of these ‘posters’ are perfectly adequate in creating brand awareness or taking up ad space, many don’t strive for anything beyond mediocrity. The standard seems to be a heavily photo-shopped cast shot, a seemingly clever tag line, and the title of the show. (See the Chicago Fire poster to the right.)
Some series however have really embraced the art of the TV promotional poster, creating visually striking images or clever homages:
And then there’s a few marketing departments that go above and beyond.
Community has always been one to do things differently, so its no surprise that the series has inspired some amusing artwork over the years from its fans and marketing departments alike.
Remember the first time NBC tried to remove Community from their schedule? That led to these cool posters from graphic artist Jon Defreest.
More recently, Sony Pictures Television created a bunch of parody posters to nudge NBC to renew the series in order to help the Greendale gang fulfill their destiny of #sixseasonsandamovie.
And then there’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., a show that had a stereotypical promotional poster and an equally lackluster start.
But boy have the tides changed.
Despite a disjointed airing schedule in the beginning of 2014, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. began to find itself, just in time for Captain America: The Winter Soldier to shake things up and let it’s Marvel Cinematic Universe #itsallconnected promise payoff.
And with its new found momentum came a consecutive airing schedule and “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Art of Level Seven” – a new piece of art for each of the remaining six episodes, each by a different popular comic book artist.
Which is not only a cool way to tease what’s to come, but also an intelligent way to connect it back to it’s comic book roots.
Bottom line, I know that for all intents and purposes these works of art are advertising based, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the few that go above and beyond the bare minimum to create something clever.
I was super pumped for the premier of the fifth season of Community. After all, “Repilot” (5×1) marked the return of Dan Harmon and after a ‘weird’ fourth season, I was eager for the series to go back to normal. Or at least back to what I knew and loved, even with knowledge of Donald Glover’s impending departure looming above the otherwise gleeful occasion.
Perhaps that was a silly thought though – normal or status-quo only equate to average TV. And Community has always been one to aim higher. Or aim for a different target although. Yet I distinctly remember thinking around episode three of this season (“Basic Intergluteal Numismatics” (5×3), you know the one with the ‘Ass-Crack Bandit’), that it seemed a bit too soon for a concept episode. The gang had just gotten back together.
I had a similar thought just before watching “G.I. Jeff” (5×11) the other night. I kind of just wanted to see the group hangout at Greendale, of course that’s before I saw the excellent G.I Joe themed and stylized episode. It was then that it finally occurred to me that there probably is no such thing as a ‘normal’ episode of Community.
Five seasons in and it would seem that nothing in pop culture is off-limits. Below are just some of the more creative places Community has gone. And while that list is certainly not comprehensive of all of Community’s homages, parodies, and escapes from reality, they do account for approximately 30% of all aired episodes. So, is it misguided to assume that there is a normal?
What do you consider to be a standard episode of Community? Or is that the beauty of the show, that there is no predictable and formulaic entry in the series?
A Film Within A Show
“Introduction to Film” (1×3)
“Messianic Myths and Ancient Peoples” (2×5)
“Intermediate Documentary Filmmaking” (2×16)
“Documentary Filmmaking Redux” (3×8)
“Advanced Documentary Filmmaking” (4×6)
Mafia Movie Homage
“Contemporary American Poultry” (1×21)
“Modern Warfare” (1×23)
“A Fistful of Paintballs” (2×23)
“For A Few Paintballs More” (2×24)
Apollo 13 / Space Travel Movie Homage
“Basic Rocket Science” (2×4)
“Cooperative Calligraphy” (2×8)
A Conspiracy Theory
“Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design” (2×9)
“Advanced Dungeons & Dragons” (2×14)
“Advanced Advanced Dungeons & Dragons” (5×10)
“Remedial Chaos Theory” (3×4)
“Advanced Introduction to Finality” (4×13)
“Digital Exploration of Interior Design” (3×13)
“Pillows and Blankets” (3×14)
“Regional Holiday Music” (3×10)
“Digital Estate Planning” (3×20)
“Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas” (2×11)
“Paradigms of Human Memory” (2×21)
“Intro to Felt Surrogacy” (4×9)
Law & Order / Detective Procedural Homage
“Basic Lupine Urology” (3×17)
“Basic Intergluteal Numismatics” (5×3)
The Floor Is Lava
“Geothermal Escapism” (5×5)
Parody of Internet & Mobile App Games
“App Development and Condiments” (5×8)
G.I. Joe / 80s Cartoon Homage
“G.I. Jeff” (5×11)