Arrested Development should end its run after its deeply disappointing season 5. The once revered sitcom no longer has anything left to say, and it feels increasingly obsolete when compared to the critically acclaimed half-hour comedies of the Peak TV era. Netflix barely promoted the release of the second half of season 5, partly due to the harassment allegations made against series star Jeffrey Tambor, but the streaming giant likely realized what viewers and critics are finding out now - it's a season of television with no discernible purpose, and the laughs have become too few and far between.
It would have been difficult to imagine this scenario just a few years ago. When Netflix announced they were reviving the beloved Fox series, fans were overjoyed; the show never got a fair shake on the network, and the creative freedom promised by the streaming service seemed like a dream come true for series creator Mitchell Hurwitz and his wildly imaginative cast and crew. However, in the years since the show's initial cancellation, the cast became exponentially more popular, and getting them all together to film a season of television together was untenable. This logistical issue resulted in the polarizing Arrested Development season 4, where each episode concentrated largely on one character, as the overarching plot being pieced together with each episode serving as non-linear puzzle pieces. Some viewers and critics found this a creatively bold innovation, while many others thought the format was too different from the original run.
It was another five years before the first half of Arrested Development season 5 debuted, returning to the show's original format and with the characters interacting with each other much more. But the series had clearly lost a step in the intervening years, and the second half of season 5 had the dour feeling of an obligatory march. Plenty of great shows with long runs have had down years creatively and recovered, so why not hold out hope that Arrested Development could do the same? Let's look at a few of the mitigating factors.
- This Page: The Problems Arrested Development Faces
- Page 2: Why Arrested Development Will Never Be A Good As It Was
Arrested Development's Cast Schedules Are A Nightmare
Even assuming Hurwitz actually has a viable idea for Arrested Development season 6 and Netflix is game, the logistics of getting the cast together to make a full season of television are only getting harder as time goes on. Jason Bateman is currently directing, producing, and starring in Netflix's popular drama series Ozark. Will Arnett has become one of Hollywood's greatest renaissance men, voicing the title character in Bojack Horseman, Batman in The Lego Movie and its spinoffs, and even serving as a judge on The Gong Show revival (he's also a producer on that one).
Virtually everyone else in the cast stays incredibly busy, with the notable exception of Portia de Rossi, who retired from acting in 2017; she appeared only sporadically in the fifth season of Arrested Development, and would be unlikely to sign on for another full run.
Getting the cast to make time in their schedules for a beloved cult hit would be one thing, but as the show's popularity and regard has declined, it seems harder to imagine every one of them would be excited to come back for more.
The Jeffrey Tambor Allegations
Even if all of the cast were willing to return, it seems highly unlikely Netflix would be willing to work with Jeffrey Tambor again. The actor was fired from his hit Amazon series Transparent after multiple allegations of sexual misconduct were made against him; things only got worse when it was revealed Tambor berated co-star Jessica Walter during production of Arrested Development season 5 to the degree that the actress was brought to tears in a now infamous New York Times profile of the cast.
Tambor has no announced projects since the allegations surfaced, and it's hard to imagine that's going to change anytime soon as the Me Too movement continues to gain cultural prominence. It's possible another season of Arrested Development could be made without Tambor's George and Oscar Bluth, but it's hard to imagine anyone would be particularly excited about that.