I’m starting to wonder if creator Dan Harmon is hoping he’ll be able to make the fifth and most-unlikely season of Community better by casting as many recognizable guest stars as possible. We’ve already heard about the likes of Nathan Fillion, Paget Brewster, Vince Gilligan and Walton Goggins taking on guest spots, and now David Cross has added his name to the very impressive list. What is less impressive is the type of episode he’s getting involved with.
One of Community’s more well-known and celebrated episodes was Season 2’s “Advanced Dungeons & Dragons,” which was responsible for bringing the classic role playing game, Dungeons & Dragons, into the minds of several fans who might not have thought the game was worth their time. And now, according to Vulture, Season 5 will air a sequel. Cross will play Hank Hickey, the “bitterly estranged son” of Jonathon Banks’s Professor Hickey. Hank “joins the study group for, at the very least, the second most important game of Dungeons & Dragons ever.” Cross is filming the episode this week.
I am generally wary whenever Community rehashes an old idea. “Advanced Dungeons & Dragons” was phenomenal and I just don’t know if Harmon can recapture that magic. He’s certainly proven that he can show a new side to a gimmick, evidenced by Season 3’s “Documentary Filmmaking: Redux,” the second documentary-style episode of the series and a personal favorite of mine. But he’s also floundered: Season 3’s clip-show sequel to “Paradigms of Human Memory” was nowhere near as inspired as the original.
Obviously we won’t know how any of Season 5’s episodes will play until they air – the season will premiere Jan. 2 – but I’m choosing to exercise caution. I’m excited Harmon is back as showrunner, but that doesn’t stop me from being nervous. I want Season 5 to be amazing and I know he does as well, but he’s human and plenty capable of making mistakes.