While the Community nation continues to reel from the news that Community has been treated less than favorably by NBC, the announcement has had no effect on the promotional push undertaken by the series' showrunners, because NBC doesn't particularly care about them either. And so, while you can't actually see the fourth season of Community, today you can hear all about it and how great it will be from the mouths of David Guarascio and Moses Port, who launched a veritable media blitz of interviews building buzz for the show's premiere, which is now scheduled for the day you stop caring about it so much and making NBC sick with your devotion. And hearing about it is every bit as good as watching it, or so Community fans have learned to tell themselves.
Anyway, in addition to now-familiar, self-effacing assurances that Guarascio and Port realize they can never really replace Dan Harmon, yet remain confident they can "take care of the magic garden" he planted (as they told HitFix), Dan Harmon's replacements nevertheless remain committed to maintaining the show's strange cult tone—even telling Vulture that they had "a good deal of resistance to the direction we were going in because [Sony and NBC] felt it maybe was too reminiscent of what the tone of the show had been," but managed to "stand our ground." They also reached out to hesitant fans even further by offering up their personal favorite episodes as an indicator of what they consider Community to be: "Cooperative Calligraphy" and "Mixology Certification" for Guarascio; "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons" for Port. So far, so convincing that "broad" and "mainstream" is not what they're going for.
But of course, the real test will be once fans actually see the new episodes themselves, and while there's no telling at this moment when that will happen, here are some details of the season to tide you over—details that could be considered spoilers, naturally. Or, at this point, legends of far-off adventures that may soon be passed down through time, only growing in mythological scope with each storyteller.
Anyway, according to them, this season will include: a lot of focus on interpersonal relationships, particularly on Troy and Britta's becoming a couple and its effect on his friendship with Abed; the return of Britta to her "strong feminist roots" (as told to EW); even more incorporation of Chevy Chase's age ("When we had lunch with him, these were his words… 'Is it possible that I had a stroke over the summer?' He approached it like, “Let’s use my age to an advantage”); the previously reported reunion of Jeff with his James Brolin-portrayed dad; the "fallout from Chang's failed coup" (with them telling Vulture they've "addressed it in what seems to be an inevitable but hopefully surprising way," and telling EW, "Chang is naked and wet. And it's ultimately a good thing"); and above all else, the fact that the students are seniors now and looking ahead, something accelerated by the revelation that "Jeff has taken a couple courses over the summer without the rest of the group knowing" and is graduating early.
With that in mind, Guarascio and Port say they wrote the 13th episode as a possible series finale, as per sad tradition. And yes, the idea of "moving on" is very possibly reflected, in per meta tradition, in a nod to the show's behind-the-scenes changes, with the new showrunners trying to "own and write toward some of the fears that the audience might have and embrace those things," and making that theme "deeply baked into the DNA of the first episode," as they tell the New York Times.
As to some more specific episode plotlines, there's: the aforementioned visit to the Inspector Spacetime convention, guest starring the previously reported Matt Lucas and Battlestar Galactica's Tricia Helfer; the foosball-loving Germans challenging "the notion that the study room belongs to our group only, and our group digs in World War II-style to fight back;" Troy and Shirley taking a class on how to teach gym class; the Dean's courting of a lazy, wealthy prospective student ("like a young Pierce"); a visit to Pierce's mansion, which he believes is haunted by his dead father; a Thanksgiving episode that features a Shawshank Redemption homage; and a Christmas episode that highlights Malcolm McDowell's American-hating history professor. Of course, at this point you might be celebrating the holidays with the Greendale gang right around March. But at least for right now, you can do it using the powers of your imagination. And isn't that just as good and not at all frustrating?