It’s officially time to fire up the stair-car, as Netflix and Imagine Entertainment finally concede that to leave the Bluth family on the shelf for much longer would be a huge mistake. The award-winning Arrested Development – which cultivated a devoted audience during its original run from 2004 to 2006 – was resurrected by Netflix back in 2013 as part of the earliest days of the streaming channel’s push into original programming. Now, the company is honouring a continued commitment to the show because, as Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman) always says, the most important thing is family.
Arrested Development was always ahead of its time – featuring, back in 2003, the patriarch of a prominent and renowned building-empire family being prosecuted for fraud and some “light treason.” The 2013 fourth season saw that patriarch – played by Golden Globe winner Jeffrey Tambor – propose the building of a wall between Mexico and the United States, and the rest of the family got dragged into various shenanigans around the issue of money.
But, there’s always money in the banana stand, and the key players in the world of Arrested Development – Bateman, Tambor, Michael Cera, Jessica Walter, Portia de Rossi, Will Arnett, David Cross, Alia Shawkat, and Ron Howard – are now all signed on for a new season, along with executive producers Brian Grazer, Jim Vallely and Richie Rosenstock. Just what that season will hold for the Bluth family, in light of all that has transpired in reality since last we left them, is anyone’s guess, and Creator Mitch Hurwitz certainly isn’t giving anything away.
“In talks with Netflix we all felt that that stories about a narcissistic, erratically behaving family in the building business — and their desperate abuses of power — are really underrepresented on TV these days. I am so grateful to them and to 20th TV for making this dream of mine come true in bringing the Bluths, George Sr., Lucille and the kids; Michael, Ivanka, Don Jr., Eric, George-Michael, and who am I forgetting, oh Tiffany. Did I say Tiffany? — back to the glorious stream of life.”
Of course, the biggest question of all will surround the season 4 cliffhanger, which appeared to leave Buster Bluth (played by Emmy winner Tony Hale) under suspicion of the murder of Lucille Austero (Liza Minnelli). The second biggest question will surround the scheduling of the production, and whether the stellar cast will be able to shoot scenes together this time.
The fourth season was purposefully a very different beast than the first three seasons had been – with longer episodes, and a more complex story arc. This was necessary to accommodate the fact that the entire cast could only get together in the same room for one scene, out of 15 episodes – and this was perhaps the biggest criticism that season faced. The problem arose from the well-deserved success each of the cast members have gone on to find in their careers since appearing on Arrested Development in the first place.
But, how ever these new episodes pan out, it’s safe to say that Bluth fans will be eagerly awaiting the fifth season, which is now due to arrive on the streaming service in 2018 – and that’s what Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos is counting on.
“Arrested Development brings us structures, outerwear and choreography like no other comedy in history. Season Four marked the first foray by Netflix into original comedy programming and this time, the Bluths will collectively be spending more quality time with their millions of fans around the world.”
This comment, that the Bluths “will collectively be spending more quality time,” certainly makes it sound as though the lesson of season 4 was learned – and that can only be a good thing. There’s still a lengthy wait ahead of us, though, before Buster’s fate is revealed. With their legal problems ongoing, will the stars of Arrested Development find themselves crossing paths with early season guest, the state prosecutor, Maggie Lizer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) for example? We can’t wait to find out.