I've been pretty open about my love for the show Community in this space. I've been a fan of Dan Harmon for a while, and I fell in love with the show really early on.
I was distressed when Harmon was fired, and concerned for the future of the show back in 2012. I mean, who wouldn't be? But when the now Harmon-less Season 4 began to air I decided that I would hold my judgment. I mean, Harmon's version of the show really didn't find its feet until a few episodes in - why should I expect the new guys to?
We're five episodes into the thirteen episode season though, so it seems only appropriate to analyze where the series currently is.
Obviously, right off the bat, the show feels slightly different. This is neither good nor bad, but Harmon's notorious obsessiveness about the show gave it a particular voice. Out of the five episodes we've seen, the first one felt very weak as well. It was rushed and felt like they were trying to remind us how quirky it was a bit too much (ironically, I felt like the "two camera" version of the show in Abed's mind was visually more akin Community than the "real" show that episode).
But Episode Two was significantly better than that. And Episode Three was even more enjoyable. By Episode Four the show actually felt like Community again. Not the same Community as it had been, but something completely worthy of the seasons before.
So far we've seen nothing this season on par with the greatest episodes of the Harmon era - and I don't think we will. It takes a singular vision to bring the show to those levels which I'm unsure the new show runners have. But I think we'll see episodes up to snuff with the rest of the series -- and since I love those episodes too, I can't complain too much.
In the end I think we have a situation akin to when Sorkin left The West Wing. The first half of season five was dark and nowhere to the quality of the first four. I still watched though, as at this diminished quality it was still the best thing on TV at the time. Heck, by Season 6 the West Wing was great again. And while we may never see a season five of Community, I have faith that the series will at least continue to be the best show on TV.
It may not be what it was, but I'd rather have this Community than no Community at all.