‘Arrested Development’ Season 4 Updates: Episodes, Characters & Format

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Arrested Development Season 4 Netflix Release Date Characters Info Arrested Development Season 4 Updates: Episodes, Characters & Format

When it was announced that Arrested Development was coming back for season 4, fans of Mitch Hurwitz’ comedy series (which has continued to amass a strong cult-following in the years since it was canceled), went bananas with excitement. Not only would they be getting the Arrested Development movie they’ve been clamoring for – Netflix will air an entire fourth season of the show as well! It’s like winning the lottery and getting two payouts!

Today we have some updates about Arrested Development season 4 from Hurwitz himself: the show will resume production this summer, and it seems that the deal with Netflix has steered season 4 in a different direction than originally intended. Read on for details.

At first it was proposed that Arrested Development‘s fourth season would be a 10-episode arc, which served as a lead-in to the movie. Each episode of the season would focus on a different member of the Bluth family – what they’ve been up to in the time since we last saw them – and the circumstances that steer them all toward the events of the movie (click the following link to see what the movie’s plot might be about). This format would allow established fans to get re-acquainted with the characters; would allow new viewers to get to know each character; and would allow for the cast members – many of whom are bigger celebrities now than when the show originally aired – to each be spotlighted. Not a bad approach.

Steve Van Zandt Lilyhammer Netflix Arrested Development Season 4 Updates: Episodes, Characters & Format

Netflix's original series 'Lilyhammer' is currently available on the service

However, Netflix is attempting to launch a much different business model with its original programming (which includes the Sopranos-in-Norway comedy Lilyhammer, or David Fincher and Kevin Spacey’s upcoming political series House of Cards). Netflix doesn’t have to bother with the episodic format of a standard television show – and subsequently, the ratings and advertising demands that come with it.  The streaming service is more interested in total viewers calculated across a much wider window of time (say, fiscal quarters or years), and they therefore can release entire seasons of a show all at once, in order to help increase interest and views by getting audiences to do what they already do naturally with the service: watch large blocks of programming in marathon fashion.

It’s that new approach that has Hurwitz thinking about an equally new approach to Arrested Development Season 4. The showrunner was at the National Association of Broadcasters convention alongside Netflix chief Ted Sarandos, where it was announced that AD Season 4 will premiere all ten of its episodes simultaneously. Hurwitz also addressed his change in approach:

“That is now kind of evolving into becoming more like the old show again… There’s going to be some mystery sprinkled throughout this [but] instead of watching one a week and try to get ahead of it, the hope is [fans] will watch them all together and then go back and look for clues and connections… We’d also like to use the technology to provide additional material, where you might be able to access another part of the story… It’s comedy. The twists really aren’t as important as the characters.”

Arrested Development1 Arrested Development Season 4 Updates: Episodes, Characters & Format

If you’re not an established fan of the show: Hurwitz’ comments touch on a truth that has been learned from experience. One reason that Arrested Development didn’t become a smash hit on network TV in the mid ’00s (besides being too far ahead of this era of 30 Rock and Office-style comedy), is that it was not really a good fit for episodic viewing  – not to mention the constant hiatuses and breaks that FOX imposed upon it (to make way for other shows, sporting events, etc).

When AD really caught on with people was after it had been canceled and was available on DVD, streaming services like Hulu, or cable syndication – i.e., where viewers could watch it in larger blocks and truly keep up with the carefully-stacked reoccurring jokes and semi-serialized storylines. I say all that to say: marathon-style viewing has always been the best way to approach this show.

The NAB convention made Arrested Development a centerpiece of attention (and the fans certainly showed their love), so there was much more discussed about where the property is headed from here:

  1. The movie is still on the way.
  2. If season 4 is successful, there could be MORE new seasons released on Netflix.
  3. We WILL be seeing some returning characters. Bob Loblaw (Scott Baio) has already been confirmed.

For more of what was revealed in the panel, head over to Vulture.

Arrested Development season 4 will be released (in entirety) on Netflix in 2013.

Source: Vulture

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  1. Woo Hoo, this makes me happy

    • +1000

  2. Very excited. Might go and check out Bob Loblaw’s Law Blog to see how he feels too!

  3. Hope it works out for this show because it really really was funny…i was in tears some episodes..

  4. I totally agree with the fact that syndication and big blocks are what got me re-interested in the show. I liked it when it first came out but really got into and feel deeply in love with the show when IFC started showing. The same went for Malcom in the Middle. Netflix although has made some mistakes recently is still really breaking new ground with understanding todays viewing habits. When I stream movies or shows online I generally wait until several episodes have built up so I can have mini marathons. I watched lilyhammer on Netflix which i believe is an awesome show and really appreciated not having to wait. It allowed me to get into the show way more. I really wish shows rating would be based on online views instead of the defunct nielson ratings system. ***Offbeat shows that many people love would have a better chance of surviving if it could measured by actual views not just a sample set.

  5. It has been far too long. Also, another reason not to cancel my Netflix sub.

  6. Wow the entire season released at the same time! Very forward thinking, unlike the archaic Networks. I wish HBO would do that. Can’t wait! I think I need to go take a shower in my cutoffs!

  7. Top 5 sitcoms of all time. Saw it when it originally aired, bought all 3 seasons, and as I put my friends and family on to the show, experienced the mini-marathon format. The more I saw it, the better it got & the more stuff I noticed and ‘caught’. Love the show. Happy for the come-back. 😉 I can’t believe FOX ef’ed it up back then. But cream rises to the top. Too much talent to hold it down. From 70’s actors to unknown (now movie and tv stars). And now they are all killing it one way or another. I hope to see this show go for at least 10 more seasons. Hope the writers can handle it. NO TOUCHING!

  8. Lillyhammer is a Netflix original, it is made by NRK.

  9. I hope Rita comes back! She was so hilarious!

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