Look out, Netflix: Yahoo just played a card that probably should’ve been yours. They’re bringing back Community. After its sudden cancellation crushed fans back in May, whispers started going around that Community would turn to the web for its sixth season. Sure enough, Yahoo, series creator Dan Harmon and star Joel McHale have just confirmed it. The series will live on Yahoo! Screen, Yahoo’s video-streaming site that you very well may have never heard of before. Marissa Mayer pledged back in April to make “smart… strategic investments” into its video efforts, and this move certainly fits the bill.
The search-engine-turned-content-creator saves the cult sitcom, and gets the chance to show that streaming TV can do a network’s job as well or better. It skated on the edge of cancellation at NBC for five years, then finally fell off. It flirted with a resurrection deal with Hulu, then it fell through. But now, having promised “six seasons and a movie,” Community will be able to deliver at least the first half of that promise, thanks to Yahoo Screen, which you may not have known was a thing until now. Under the terms of the deal, Yahoo will make 13 episodes of the series, with creator Dan Harmon and the full remaining cast (not counting the departed Donald Glover and Chevy Chase). Which means we do not–per Abed’s warning at the end of season 5–have to assume that the story ended because an asteroid destroyed human civilization. Should it have, though? Season 5 was not the show’s best, despite a handful of inspired episodes–but assuming Harmon had a vision that needed an extra year to complete it, I’m happy to find out. Yeah, I’m ambivalent about the idea that every show with a passionate audience can and should be kept alive, even past its peak, by Netflix (which is bringing back The Killing), or Yahoo, or, I don’t know, is HotBot still around? Sometimes you need to know when to say goodbye. But even a bad season 6 of Community won’t negate the greatness of the show’s past–and it could get very interesting.