When Community first burst onto our screens way back in late 2009, Chevy Chase was the only real 'name' within the ensemble cast. Fast-forward to 2016, and these once-unknowns are now ruling the TV landscape, driving some of the most inventive and entertaining shows of this year. With season five of Community airing on SBS2 this month, we take a look at what these talented thespians did next.
DON GLOVER - ATLANTA
Donald Glover, who plays the loveable Troy Barnes on Community, is the creator, head writer, and lead actor on 'Atlanta' - a show about the city he was raised in. 'Atlanta' is one of those rare examples of a program that tackles big, important issues without throwing them in your face or revolving entire "special episodes" around them. It's also hilarious, without the tired beats that permeate most "funny" television.
It was with Episode two that the show proved that it had something more to say than most half-hour comedies. The episode shows us the cyclic nature of the police arrest system through the eyes of Donald Glover's 'Earl'; he is shocked when he sees a guy clearly suffering from mental health issues treated as just a crazy criminal, and a sudden blast of police violence will stun you not for its callous cruelty, but for the lack of reaction by anyone around. Sadly, they've seen it all before.
GILLIAN JACOBS - LOVE
Here's a prediction: Gillian Jacobs will be one of the most bankable movie stars in 2017. She is an incredible, Juilliard-trained actress, she is drop-dead gorgeous, and can easily switch from slapstick to tragedy in a heartbeat. Her role on 'Community' as the frazzled rabble-rousing Britta made her a known quantity, but on Judd Apatow's Netflix series 'Love' she takes centre stage as train-wreck Mickey, one-half of the central love affair on which the show is named.
'Love' is a program about two people falling in love very slowly, and although you'll spend most of your time being frustrated at her self-sabotaging ways, and lack of any real-world skills, you'll also grow to adore her.
Jacobs can also be seen in the recent film 'Don't Think Twice', about the world of improv comedy.
JOEL MCHALE - THE GREAT INDOORS
In this upcoming comedy, McHale stars as former adventure reporter Jack Gordon who is sentenced to life in an office when the magazine he writes for moves to an online platform. After a shuffling of roles, Gordon now heads up the publication department and finds himself at odds with the young staff he now has to supervise. The show is getting a lot of buzz before even airing, and with a cast that includes the genius Stephen Fry, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse (who you may know as McLovin' from Superbad), it's hard to see how this could fail.
KEN JEONG - DR. KEN
Ben Chang is by far the most ridiculous character on Community, which is saying a lot, and he has spun off what was originally a guest role into his own sitcom Dr. Ken - which he created, writes, and stars in. The show is based on his actual experiences as a doctor, prior to catching the acting bug. While it can be funny, it is written for everyone: it's broad, the characters aren't too well drawn, and its over-reliance on cameos from ex-Community cast members such as Joel McHale, Danny Pudi and Jim Rash will only please the biggest Community fans.
Despite its many shortcomings, Dr Ken is very popular, being renewed for a second season, which started last airing in the U.S. last month.
JOHN OLIVER - LAST WEEK TONIGHT WITH JON OLIVER
Unless you recently landed here from some uninhabited island, in the past year somebody would have forwarded you a YouTube clip of John Oliver succinctly tearing down some form of political or corporate injustice. Funnily enough, Oliver was widely unknown when he first started on 'Community' in 2009, playing a criminally under-qualified professor.
Before Community, he was known primarily as the British Correspondent on the Daily Show - a job he nabbed after Ricky Gervais recommended him to Jon Stewart, who - not too surprisingly - hadn't heard of him. Now he is one of the most recognisable faces on television, a respected political pundit, and has won, in addition to an Emmy, a Peabody Award for his cutting take on corruption and corporations. Not bad at all!
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Community airs weeknights on SBS2 at 7pm. Catch up on previous episodes on SBS On Demand: