The news is not that “Community” has reclaimed its spot on Thursday nights, nor that it’s been guaranteed six seasons and a movie, but at this point, we’ll take what we can get and in this case, it’s that Hulu has secured exclusive rights to show “Community” episodes the day after they air through the entire third season.
The good news here is that, at the very least, it suggests that all of season three’s episodes will go to air at some point in some time slot. Moreover, the infusion of cash might convince NBC to carry the show another year and bury it somewhere on their schedule to ensure syndication rights.
But there is a downside. First, next-day episodes (and, in fact, the entire series) are available only on Hulu Plus, and I don’t subscribe and I’ve never had much reason to subscribe, although if Hulu can secure the rights to a few more series, then most folks can give up their cable and exchange it for Amazon Instant, Netflix Instant and Hulu Plus, and … well, I’m not sure how much you save over cable after you’ve subscribed to all three, and there’s still a window you have to wait to see new episodes. However, I can certainly foresee a (near) future in which those three services are the new NBC, CBS, and ABC (and iTunes can be Fox), although as they add series, the subscription rates will undoubtedly increase until you’re eventually paying the same you pay for cable, only you’re watching it on your iPads and computers instead of your TVs.
They’ll stick you one way or another, folks. Entertainment will never be free.
The other possible downside is this: It is good news that “Community” was picked up by Hulu, but on the other hand, that’s kind of like having your movie go straight to Video on Demand. A better deal might have been the one that NBC had with DirectTV for “Friday Night Lights,” in which DirectTV picked up half the production costs, which would’ve made another season more certain. An even better deal, and one that seems less likely with Hulu Plus in the mix, is Netflix getting together with Sony to produce and air the series for many seasons to come on Netflix only, similar to what they’re doing with the next season of “Arrested Development.” But right now, we can be content, at least, that we will get to see all of season three in one form or another.