So what are everybody's expectations a month before they give us some rope? I feel it would be hypocritical of me to not trust my preconceived notions and be on board with D.Harmon until proven otherwise. So I'm cautiously optimistically on board. For starters, I like the seeming embrace of some change to the status quo, compared to season 4's "it's everything you love, we promise!" neediness.
I figured Chang taking Pierce's spot in the group would be pretty simple, but Donald leaving seems like it will be much more complicated. They seem to trying to offset that loss with a bottomless list of cult fan favey guest stars, including one Professor Ian Duncan, whose absence I would say has been most strongly felt. Also I hear they're doing a sequel episode to
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Dungeons & Dragons. Plus Brie Larson is coming back from the one episode everyone seemed in agreement on from season 4. And nary a puppet to be found.
At the very least, the narrative of the show's survival and Dan's resurrection is ever-fascinating. Remarkably, another 13-episode sixth season, as from the prophecy, seems more plausible than ever. I don't know if Parks & Rec, for instance, would have anything left to say for a season 7 as everyone becomes even better best friends and Leslie ascends to sainthood (return of Brendanawicz?!?!?!?). But it is touching that after 4 years of being neglected and jerked around by NBC, these two old gunslingers will ride together one last time. They are still all they've got. As they have been all along. (Pours one out for Glover and Rashida and Rob.)
Nielsen actually delayed February sweeps because they didn't want to be affected by DTV switch problems. The 2009 "February" sweeps run March 5 to April 1, and then the May sweeps run April 23rd to May 20th.