In 2006, Fox canceled what was then my favorite show, Arrested Development. It wasn’t a sudden thing by any means. Though it had won I think more than one Emmy and received widespread critical acclaim, the show never really caught on, in part because the network kept moving its timeslot. I had chased it from Sunday night to Tuesdays to Mondays and finally to the Friday night death spot, and while rumors swirled of its impending demise, even the show itself acknowledged in its last season that time was limited. Still, it was a bummer.
The DVDs of all three seasons are kept in what I call “heavy rotation.” I watch the show almost daily at this point and have for probably the last two years. Recently I traveled to Europe for two weeks. The discs came with me, packed in my suitcase along with such other necessities as clean t-shirts and ibuprofen. Some comforts of home simply will not be left behind.
Since it first went off the air, rumors have abounded of an Arrested Development feature film, and this Sunday, Netflix will host 15 new half-hour episodes of Arrested Development—all streaming, all released at once—that will catch viewers up on what’s been happening with the Bluths since the original show ended. The entire principal cast has returned, and though everyone looks a little older, the trailer for the new episodes shows that the same humor and whirlwind rhythm that made Arrested Development so great the first time around—I still find something new every time I make my way through the 53 episodes of seasons one, two and three—is still intact and Jason Bateman, who stars as Michael Bluth, is back in his element in the role and that time hasn’t changed the chemistry between the actors in their roles as one of television’s most dysfunctional families.
I’d go on a long rant about how interesting I find the evolution of tv from a broadcast medium to an online medium, or about how I think Arrested Development is probably on the same level as The Wire (albeit in a comedy context) when it comes to showing the literary power and potential of television writing, but the fact is that if you don’t actually take the time and watch it for yourself, you’re not going to know anyway, so I’d be wasting my time. Plus, my nerdly excitement for the show’s return has occupied all the mental space that might otherwise be put to use constructing said arguments. Either way, if you haven’t already converted, it’s your loss.
Arrested Development makes its debut on Netflix this Sunday, May 26. I’ll be signing up for an account to mark the occasion, and if you do or don’t have a Netflix account, consider this my recommendation that you do the same.