Expensive suits. Quasi-incestuous relationships. Carl Weathers. Minor Treason. It’s been nearly six years since the Bluth family brought good wholesome entertainment into America’s living rooms. But finally, after years of fan demand and seemingly endless rumors, new episodes of Arrested Development are returning to television in 2013. Provided, of course, that television has Netflix.
Like Family Guy and Futurama before, Twentieth Century Fox is bringing back the critically-acclaimed sitcom (Time Magazine called it one of the best TV shows of ALL-TIME) for a brand new season in 2013. But unlike its animated counterparts, fresh episodes of Arrested Development will be broadcast exclusively on Netflix. We told you back in March that Netflix would host original content with Kevin Spacey’s House of Cards, and while Development isn’t technically a Netflix original, the new episodes are surely the rental service’s highest-profile project to date. Hit the jump for more on AD’s return.
The award-winning series is returning with the brilliant original cast, which includes Jason Bateman, Michael Cera, Jeffrey Tambor, Alia Shawkat, David Cross, Jessica Walter, Tony Hale, Will Arnett, and Portia de Rossi. Guest stars, which have featured heavily in the earlier seasons have not been announced. Also returning is producer/narrator Ron Howard who appears ready to be back, saying, “After a long hiatus, I’m dying to finally get back to the narrator’s microphone.”
Bringing back the Bluths is a move that both the studio and Netflix are apparently excited about.
Netflix’s Chief Content Officer, Ted Sarandos, said of the deal, “Arrested Development is one of the finest American comedies in TV history and its return through Netflix is a perfect example of how we are working closely with studios and networks to provide consumers with entertainment they love.” He went on to say, “It’s also a perfect example of how broad and successful our relationship has become with Fox as we work together with their film, television, international and digital divisions on several exciting initiatives.”
Netflix took a PR hit from consumers earlier this year for upping their fees but distributing a show like Arrested Development, whose fan base has only grown in both numbers and passion since the series’ release on DVD, will go a long way to healing those wounds and perhaps bring in a fresh crop of customers.
Representatives of Twentieth Century Fox, which is making a habit of bringing shows back from the dead, hinted at the potential of the deal. “This innovative deal with Netflix represents a new business model that is extremely exciting and opens the door for a wide range of new collaborations.” I’m calling the shot now; be on the lookout for new episodes of Herman’s Head, exclusively on Netflix in 2015.
In early October, we gave you as much information as we had on creator Mitch Hurwitz’s ideas for the new season and how it relates to the Arrested Development movie. But as a quick run down, here’s what Hurwitz had to say about the new season:
“We’re basically hoping to do nine or 10 episodes with almost one character per episode, where like the first episode will just be Buster. We’re kinda picturing it like, um, well the latest joke we have is that, you know, it’s Cambridge, Massachusetts and there’s all these scientists in lab coats and they’re waiting for somebody and Buster comes through the door wearing a lab quote and says `let’s begin,’ and they say, `you don’t get to wear the lab coat, we’re experimenting on you. [garbled] And then we go through his life and we meet the people in his life and maybe he goes to see his therapist who he’s getting a good rate on because it’s Tobias and he’s lost his license. We can do cross overs and things like that. But it’s an unusual style of show I think and we get him to a certain point of peril in his life and then maybe we jump over to like Maeby and she’s living with Cornel West … We’ll do this kind of thing that builds the peril in their lives until they all come together, really, in the first scene of the movie. It requires, and Ron [Howard] has been working on this too, it just requires studios to work together, they don’t normal work together in film and TV. It’s a really ambitious project but it’s also a very simple project in a way because it kind of gives the fans a level of detail for `granularity,’ which is a big word on the East Coast.”
The new season will serve as a prologue to the upcoming movie. On a related note, Arrested Development has never been shy about nudging the fourth wall, so I’m really curious to see how the writers address the Bluths sudden disappearance and re-emergence. Also because it’s on Netflix, the show will no longer have to bend to network TV censors and while it was never a vulgar series, many of the jokes (mainly related to Tobias) pushed the envelope. Adding in the fact that the season will be commercial free makes it all the sweeter.
Like I’m not going to enjoy the hell out of this show, come on!