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“Community’s” new season is a no-win situation

“Community” returns tonight for its fourth season and its first without series creator Dan Harmon. Harmon, for better and for crazy, was one of the more essential showrunners on TV: “Community” reflected and refracted his very singular, trippy, pop-culture soaked worldview and genre-bending and busting instincts. For three seasons he oversaw a series that was supremely ambitious, usually impressive, occasionally exhausting and like nothing else on television. He appears to have been extremely difficult to work with as he did so. NBC fired him at the end of last season instead of canceling the show, a good number of the show’s staff writers left soon after, and David Guarascio and Moses Port, two writers and producers with excellent credits ("Happy Endings,” “Aliens in America”), were given the unenviable task of carrying on “Community,” post-Harmon. The new episodes are such a good faith effort to continue Harmon’s legacy it’s a shame that they don’t really work at all.

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