Folks, today we take one step closer to a dream come true. This article in Rolling Stone details the beginning of filming for the new Arrested Development Series. The entire original cast has returned for 10 episodes. Each episode will focus on a returning character and help bridge the timeline between the show’s season finale in 2006 and the new Movie that is also confirmed.
Why is this important? When I was starting out in Hollywood, I worked for a company that did Post for Arrested Development. It was one of the few shows we did that was universally loved within our company. We knew the producer’s and FOX had something special. And it WAS special winning an Emmy Award. However, the quirky sitcom about a family embroiled in financial and legal crisis never gained the HUTZPAH of broad appeal that you need to live long and prosper on a network.
This IGNITED a long standing debate in the industry and among television journalists over whether or not Networks should allow Critical Darlings. NBC tried to be that network who did just that by allowing shows like 30 Rock and Community to stay on despite never seeing the ratings success of other less edgy but highly rated Comedies. NBC is now pulling away from that philosophy as they move into development for the 2014 slate. However, as I often point out to fans of all these shows, Networks are businesses, big businesses, and if the show ain’t making money. It won’t last. This is why the CABLE networks and their foray into more and more SCRIPTED shows has been so exciting. They have a smaller expectation for viewership than the network. Two Million viewers for something on AMC is GOLD! Two Million viewers on ABC would be an utter disaster.
Arrested Development bowed in 2006, and ever since a loyal fan base has championed for a return. The folks who did the show must have enjoyed it, because cast members have always supported or hinted that something was in the works. The fire never died and DVD sales and Digital Downloads and Netflix brought a whole new fanbase to Arrested Development that it didn’t have in its first run. Same thing kind of happened with Firefly.
However, we finally received word that an Arrested Development Movie was going to HAPPEN! And then we received word that a brand new season of shows would be shot and aired exclusively on NETFLIX! And the people rejoiced!
Now why is this so important? So much has changed in the television landscape since 2006. In six years, the changes both behind and in front of the camera, from development to distribution are insane. When Arrested Development bowed, there were now AMC shows like Breaking Bad or Mad Men. There wasn’t the penetration in the market for streaming services like Netflix or Hulu Plus. Hell, there wasn’t even an iPad or iPhone to watch videos on. In fact in 2006, the best hope a television show could have for life after broadcast was DVD release and maybe syndication if the show had run for five or more seasons. Now, we have dozens of options for how we both view and obtain content for viewing. And I think right now is the time for a show like Arrested Development.
But the resurrection of Arrested Development is also important for another reason. A reason perhaps more abstract or intangible. It shows that dedication as a fan actually pays off in the end. We can only hope that the comedy magic never fizzled as the fire of hope endured.