Published On: Mon, Jan 8th, 2018

Netflix’s Second ‘Arrested Development’ Season Is Going to Be ‘Structured More Like the Original Series’

Arrested Development was one of the first forays into original programming by Netflix when they bought the franchise and made the fourth season back in 2013.

It was also one of our first experiences of the Netflix approach to releasing their original programs. Rather than spoon feeding fans an episode a week like those squares at the regular TV networks, Netflix dropped the whole season on its release date, leaving viewers free to binge watch to their hearts’ content. This format has become something of a trademark for Netflix shows – mimicking the way they release third party shows as ‘box sets’ (and you can check out netflixguides.com to see more about the shows currently available).

Imagine Television


  • Criticisms of Arrested Development’s Fourth Season


For fans of Arrested Development, the fact that the original cast had been brought back together for the season – despite many of them having gone on to bigger fame since the third season ended (particularly Michael Cera) – was an impressive feat, however reviews of the season were mixed.

As a critically acclaimed show that was seen as ground-breaking in its day, with a cult following, taking on this project was a bold move by Netflix, and nobody would say that they failed in delivering an enjoyable season. However, many fans and reviewers felt the shift from the story being told in a linear way through Michael Bluth’s eyes to a series where each episode focused on what a handful of specific characters were doing during the same time frame, lessened the potential for the ensemble comedy that made the show work so well.


  • Actor Commitments


The reasons for the change in show structure were based around the fact that many of the stars, plus new additions to the cast like Isla Fisher, had other filming commitments, and it was decided it was better to film in this way than to make a season that didn’t feature some of the original characters. An understandable approach, but not one that appeased the disappointment for some fans in the lack of scenes where all of the cast interacted.


  • Season Five


Fans may have had to wait five years to revisit the Bluth family, but from an interview with one of Arrested Development‘s stars, Will Arnett, it seems that many of the complaints they had about Netflix’s first season have been listened to, and season five will be structured, he says ‘much like the original broadcast series’ and will feature the cast spending much more time together.

It could well be that this is possible because Netflix, in the time between the last season and the new one, has grown into a very well respected program-maker. For the cast, rather than an experimental project that would, at worst have at least been a fun chance to revisit beloved roles, the new season comes with a little more assurance of success, perhaps allowing them to prioritize it in their schedules a little more.

It will be interesting to see what the audience thinks of the new season of Arrested Development when it debuts later this year.

Author: Carol Trehearn

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Displaying 2 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. Jay says:

    @Joe S.

    From an avid AD fan, I cannot recommend enough re-watching season 4. Like many AD jokes, they are better the second time and I guarantee you missed much upon the first watch. I think that, actually, some of the funniest moments in all of AD are in season 4. Once you get over the fact that all of the actors are older, which everyone seems do dislike (not sure what they were expecting? And which they actually make fun of themselves, in typical AD fashion!), the 4th season really shines through.

  2. Joe S. says:

    Arrested Development is one of my all time favorite shows but Season 4 stunk. The different format mentioned above was a problem but so was the storyline and the cinematography seemed really chintzy. The quality was really poor and it seemed as if it was shot by a couple of students w/ their iphone. I have the 1st 3 seasons on DVD and have watched them too many times to count. I’ve never re-watched season 4.

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