Community season six premieres today...but with so many behind-the-scenes changes in between last season and this one, is it still the same critically-loved comedy it used to be?
Joel McHale says definitely!
"It will still look very much like the show you know and like and love," McHale tells E! News. "[Showrunner] Dan [Harmon] has been very open about how he's not changing the show. It's not going to be set in space, people aren't going to be naked and swearing all the time. It's still the show you know but with less FCC constraints. It's not going to be nasty or dirty or anything new like that."
After NBC canceled the cult-favorite show after season five, Yahoo swooped in at the last minute to save the series, and Yahoo Screen's season six will premiere with two new episodes today, with one new episode debuting every Tuesday after that. Pop, pop!
"It was like a deus ex machina, or some sort of angel that came down and saved the show," McHale says of the last minute reprieve. "The attitude is completely different than when we were at that other place. I can't recall where…no! At NBC it was always like, ‘Well, you may get picked up but don't count on it!' And then we would always get picked up as like a favor, or last minute. But Yahoo is gung-ho! They're deeply excited and they're putting real money behind it, and they're going to actually promote it which is something that never happened with our show! It's very exciting."
And thanks to the freedom Yahoo provides, McHale is excited for fans to see the "best" season yet.
"I know the scripts are some of the best we've ever done," McHale says. "There's no constraints now. We used to keep the show at 21 and a half minutes, and now, it's not like we're going to be an hour long or anything but it doesn't have to be that short. It can breathe a little bit."
He continues, "They're still going to have commercial breaks and Dan loves the structure of that, but the episodes will be 25 minutes, or 26 minutes, just a little longer. These Internet portals are the new frontier as evidenced by how successful Amazon and Netflix are and obviously in critical acclaim as well, they're just kicking ass."
So does this mean Community fans will finally get to see the "six seasons and a movie" motto come to fruition?
"I have always said 12 seasons and a theme park," McHale says with a laugh. "I'm up for more if everyone else wants to do it. I know our contracts will expire at the end of this season, since we all signed six years, and this is the sixth year. But believe me, I'll do a movie, I'll do more seasons. I love this show. I will always be game for it because Dan Harmon is one of the most unique voices ever to write television. I'll follow him into any creative endeavor if he wants me."
According to McHale, Yahoo has yet to make any decisions about Community's future after this season.
"Not yet, that is going to be a 'wait and see until they see how many people watch this season,'" McHale says. "If it's overwhelming, then I think Yahoo will try for more seasons. And then I'll be there. But we'll see. We have a very vocal and passionate fanbase so I'm hoping the views will be huge."
As for the new cast additions to season six, McHale promises Keith David and Paget Brewster will feel like they've always been there from the way they fit in with the cast.
"While people wouldn't typically think they're comedic actors, they're off-the-charts good," McHale says. "They are so funny. Keith is such a veteran and his voice is just ridiculous, while Paget, it's just unfair that god made someone look like Paget and is as smart and funny as she is."
McHale wouldn't spoil whether fans can look forward to any big paintball or genre episodes like in previous seasons, but he did tease there's one moment this season he can't wait for everyone to see.
"I will go on the record stating that we have the greatest product placement in the history of all viewed media," McHale says. "I know that's a weird thing to brag about but it's advertising, it's product placement, and it's the funniest thing I've ever read. I can't reveal what it is but it's amazing."
Check out Community's season six premiere and episode 2 here, with new episodes debuting online every Tuesday.