The power of Community

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The Independent Culture

It's the best show never to have been on a mainstream UK television channel, an idiosyncratic comedy filled with movie pastiches, Eighties in-jokes and knowing nods to everything from Downton Abbey to Doctor Who.

Now UK audiences finally get a chance to see what the fuss is about with the release of season one of Community on DVD. So what makes this sitcom about a study group at a failing community college so good? In part the answer is that Dan Harmon's sitcom dares to be different.

Among season one's highlights are a pitch-perfect pastiche of Goodfellas and an episode about a paintball competition, which references every type of action thriller from John Woo's The Killer to The Terminator.

In an era when so many American comedies are about little more than the pause before the next punchline, it is that rare thing: a US sitcom that celebrates failure. Most importantly it's fall-on-the-floor funny as well.

'Community: Season One' is available now on DVD, 12.99