When Fox canceled its sitcom “Arrested Development” in 2006 after three seasons, there was a lot of consternation from TV fans. Though the sitcom wasn’t a ratings blockbuster, it had steady numbers and an extremely loyal and devoted fan base. Today, many canceled shows are shopped to cable or satellite networks to see if they can be saved. Unfortunately for fans of “Arrested Development,” this practice wasn’t used in 2006, so it looked like the show was really over.
For years after its cancellation, “Arrested Development” has fans trying to lobby Fox to make a movie to tie up storylines and give them proper closure, to no avail. Then in 2011, fans got more than what they could have possibly dreamed of when streaming media giant Netflix announced that ten episodes of the beloved series would be filmed. Soon, details and rumors about the project began to leak, leaving fans salivating as they waited for production to begin.
It was announced that the entire cast would be back, including Michael Cera and Jason Bateman, who have each become bona fide movie stars in the years since the series ended. Initially, the show was supposed to be just ten episodes long and to debut sometime in 2012. Of course, there were some changes to the initial plans due to the schedules of all the actors involved. It wasn’t easy getting such a busy group together, especially since the project came about very suddenly. Luckily, everyone was devoted to getting things done and the project was delayed only slightly, with filming slated for a 2013 release date.
As writing staff was gathered to begin scripting the episodes, Cera announced that he would become a part of it. This was a surprise to some, who expected the busy actor to only participate in the project as his old character, George Michael. The creator of the series, Mitch Hurwitz, said in an interview that it was his idea to ask Cera to become a writer on the show. He knew that Cera had an interest in becoming a writer but needed experience in order to do it well.
Once filming began, Hurwitz realized that he had too much material for only ten episodes, so Netflix announced that there would be three “bonus” episodes, bringing the series to thirteen total shows. The executives agreed to the additional episodes because they didn’t want to cheat fans out of any of the material that had already been filmed. Later, an additional episode was tacked on for a total of fourteen half hours.
The next big piece of news came when the CEO of Netflix announced that he envisioned the upcoming season as a one-off only and that the company was not committed to producing a second season. Fans were upset because the Netflix original series “House of Cards” had been given a second season, so why not “Arrested Development?” The silver lining is that the show could still get another season beyond the upcoming one, just not on Netflix. If the upcoming season is a success, there is a good chance a network or an online service could still produce the show.
Another tidbit that got fans in a tizzy was when Cera explained that the Netflix season was open-ended, meaning that another season or even a movie could be made afterwards. Ever since the announcement of the new season, fans had put talk of a movie on the back burner. Now, Cera had dug up the old can of worms, which got tongues wagging about a possible theatrical movie for the show. The wagging reached epic proportions when Bateman reiterated much of what Cera had said, explaining that the final episodes of the upcoming season did indeed leave enough plot points open to allow for a movie. He explained the season as “Act 1,” with additional acts coming in the form of a film. Nobody connected with the show can confirm a film version, but there is indeed a chance that it could be made. Again, all of this really hinges on how successful the Netflix season is.
The biggest announcement of all came in late winter 2013, when Netflix executives said that May 26, 2013, would be the date that fans of “Arrested Development” had been waiting for. That was the release date of the show, and all fourteen episodes would be released at once. Fans would not have to wait a whole week between installments like they would if the show was on network television. They could either gorge on all the episodes in one sitting if they wanted to or watch a few at a time. This is the same way that the service released its other two original series “House of Cards” and “Hemlock Grove.”