Netflix's resurrection of the beloved but short-lived Arrested Development helped cement it's emerging pre-eminence in original online content. The news of a new season was so over-hyped that when the entire season 4 was finally made available, some critics were underwhelmed and kind of perplexed. The show's fourth season turned out to be a departure from what came before, with each episode focusing mainly on one character at a time and overlapping in a way that only made sense once you'd watched them all... and then re-watched them.
Despite the mixed response from a vocal minority, creator Mitch Hurwitz wanted to do a season 5. Netflix seemed interested, with CEO Reed Hastings saying it was up to the "talent." Now we have a confirmation from Hurwitz that it's "definitely" happening... either as a series or a movie.
Chortle reports that during a Q&A with Hurwitz and Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos at the Just For Laughs comedy festival in Montreal, Hurwitz was asked whether or not we'd be seeing another season. "Definitely," he stated. Then he turned to Sarandos and said, "I don’t want to get into a whole negotiation right now... but I’ve got a family to feed."
Hurwitz went on:
"I keep thinking about it, and why don't we do the movie version of this and then do the series, because this series kinda peaks with the story?
"I kinda go back and forth between that and a series. But here’s the most important thing, whatever we do, I want to get the cast all together and not do another anthology thing, and that’s why I keep thinking about kicking off with a special or a three-part show and then going into a series."
Hurwitz then turned to Sarandos and asked, "Are you game for that?" Sarandos responded, "Absolutely. In any form." While a movie had been talked about prior to season 4, it was pushed back in favor of an anthology series that could catch everyone up on the lives of the Bluths. According to Hurwitz, he would discuss the movie idea with Jeffrey Tambor, who plays Bluth family patriarch George Sr. and his twin brother Oscar:
"We would see each other and talk about it, and then it would end up in the press with him saying 'We’re doing it!', but we didn’t have have a deal, we [didn't] own the property – 20th Century Fox [owned] the property – and there were a lot of things to get in place."
"And also part of it was us stalling a little bit, too, waiting to see if the right idea came to us. And I think it has. We have it basically, we have the next step."
Netflix does not release audience values, but it's safe to presume that no one would be publicly discussing moving forward with a new season if the show had not successfully drawn enough viewers.
The recent Emmy nominations for Arrested Development (Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series and Outstanding Musical Composition for a Series), along with fellow originals House of Cards (nine) and Hemlock Grove (two) have suddenly changed the entire idea of what "television" is, in ways that are not entirely clear just yet.
Netflix's success in this arena will likely re-ignite cries for the company to bring back other beloved series. There have been reports that they have negotiated with the creators of the fascinating, short-lived Jericho, but nothing has come of it.
Still, we're getting more Arrested Development, and that's a good thing. Expect more news on the streaming front as details emerge.
All four seasons of Arrested Development are streaming on Netflix.