A pair of dueling Netflix executives helped to both shatter and then revive hope that the upcoming 15-episode revival of Arrested Development could be more than a one and done proposition, but now Netflix Content Chief Ted Sarandos seems to be providing even more clarity about the future for Arrested Development and the streaming giant.
In an interview with THR, Sarandos indicated that the ground was fertile for more Bluth family fun and another season from the formerly cancelled cult comedy, though he also cautioned that such an undertaking could be as difficult as the first go-around due to the cast and crew's busy schedule.
"We would love to do more, and we have a deal in place that says that there could be. The problem is logistics. They were all working full-time and doing this show in between, and they did it for the love of the show and for Mitch Hurwitz. If we can muster up that love again, we’d love to do it again."
What a fifth season of Arrested Development would mean for the long rumored film project remains to be seen, though Sarandos also indicated that Netflix might be interested in an Arrested Development film, saying that they had "openly talked about" a "movie scenario".
While placing an Arrested film with Netflix would likely mean that either producers failed to find a better deal for a more traditional release - not out of the realm of possibility considering the fact that the project never really got beyond the discussion phase previously - or that Netflix simply blew away the competition, the project could be another feather in Netflix's cap. Plus, according to Sarandos, Netflix seems like it is not entirely opposed to the notion of films and miniseries.
"There are some parts of it that are really appealing in that you tend to get a lot of the same fundamental benefits of original programming -- star power, excitement, event content -- on a smaller budget. And if you get proportionally the same amount of watching, that’s a good thing. The reason why I've shied away from original movies has been that there are so many more great movies that get made than ever get distributed, and I think we function better as a distributor for movies than we do as a creator or marketer of movies for now. But I probably would have said the same thing about TV shows three years ago."
As for their burgeoning original programming roster, Sarandos says:
"It’s feasible that we would double the load that we did this year [with eight new shows]. People’s tastes are wildly diverse, and I want to be able to appeal to all of those tastes and across demos. Hemlock Grove is totally different from House of Cards. Orange Is the New Black is a very different show. I think we can support a lot of specific tastes."
So, will Arrested Development come back to be as big a part of Netflix's "Phase Two" as it has been for "Phase One" - standing out as an attention getting lightning rod that helped to establish Netflix as a competitive brand?
Times are different now and Netflix is no longer the new kid on the block, desperate for legitimacy. They have legitimacy now. In fact, it is likely that with the success of House of Cards, a healthy slate of upcoming programs and a growing list of actors and producers clamoring to work with Netflix, Arrested Development almost certainly needs to show that it can be more than a cult addiction and a great Lazarus story if it is to get more than kind words from Sarandos and Netflix going forward, because despite the hype, nothing is likely assured.
Arrested Development returns with 15 new episodes on May 26th @12:01 AM on Netflix.