Arrested Development has fans. Lots of things have fans, but Arrested has some serious fans, fans who consider the program to be the epitome of comedy. And Arrested deserves the praise; it’s an incredible show and one of my personal favorites.
Said fans and myself mourned the show’s loss when it was taken off the air after only three seasons; same fans and self rejoiced when the show was announced to be returning via Netflix this year.
But the emotional rollercoaster of involving one’s life in a television show went down once again when news came out that because of contract issues, there would be no single episode with every character in it. As a result, the entire format of the show is changing: “We’re not jumping from one thing to another [as we did in seasons 1-3]; you’re staying with one character [per episode],” said Hurwitz.
People don’t like change; any fandom (I shiver using the word, but it’s appropriate here,) will get all wound up if their revered creator threatens to change anything. God forbid the powers-that-be put a new creator in charge of your favorite thing. It’s a silly thing – fans need their favorite stuff to be preserved, for whatever reason.
As a lover of Arrested, I am not worried. Here’s why:
New format necessitates changes
The new season of Arrested is premiering as a Netflix original series; the entire thing is being launched at one time. Unlike regular TV, you’ll be able to sit down and “binge watch” the entire series (which is the way most young people are used to absorbing their TV anyway,) rather than waiting for next week. There will also be no commercials. Hurwitz said, “The moment you saw in one show will reappear in another show from a different character’s perspective. If people watch it all at once, it will seem like a giant Arrested Development. It’s really tailored for Netflix.”
New ways of telling stories are great.
Some of the best novels, TV shows and movies are those which experiment with non-linear storytelling. Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs, Gravity’s Rainbow, Infinite Jest, Lost and pretty much everything James Joyce wrote ever. Cool new ways to tell stories inspire and make things more interesting.
The new format will further strengthen Arrested‘s strengths.
One of the things that made this show so great was its sense of cohesion, the callbacks, the surprises and excellent use of foreshadowing and clues. The weaving together of this stuff made the show really special. By using this format, where you’ll see scenes multiples times, Hurwitz and Co. (and writer Michael Cera!) will be able to reveal things in an interesting way, especially if you’re able to Netflix-style binge-watch the whole thing, remembering each little detail as they happen. This’ll be a season meant for the rewatch.
It’s just a silly thing to worry about.
I never understood the issue people have with new seasons, sequels or remakes “ruining” their favorite franchises. With a situation like Community, it is different because creative control was ripped out of the creator’s hands, ruining any sense of conclusion the show could’ve come to (even though the season 3 finale was pretty damn satisfying), but when people complain about the Star Wars prequels and the like, I am confused. Even in Community‘s case, we had 3 great seasons, who cares if the next one isn’t perfect? Can’t you just love what you originally loved, and ignore the rest?
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