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Resurrecting a Rotting Corpse: Arrested Development
October 4, 2011Posted by on
A month ago, Zack and I did a podcast about Arrested Development, the canceled Fox comedy series from 2003-2006. The other day, news came out that the show was going ahead with a new season of approximately 10 episodes. These would then lead into the oft-mentioned Arrested Development movie. Needless to say, in various parts of the internet, AD fans exploded with excitement and anticipation. I don’t want to be “that guy”, but I really don’t want the show to come back.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved the show during its run, and I think it is the best comedy series of the 21st century. But it ended, and it ended on a strong note. All the plot lines and character arcs were resolved, and there was a sense of closure to the series. Michael (Jason Bateman) and his son (Micheal Cera) literally went off into the sunset. What more is there to tell with this story without it seeming tacked on or becoming too distant from it’s core concepts?
Plus, hasn’t it been too long for a continuation to be relevant, especially with all the political connections to the show’s narrative? And why bring it back as a half season? I suppose the plan is to have it build up to the movie by spotlighting the characters, but Mitch Hurwitz (the creator of the show) had the opportunity to take the series to a different network in 2006. He declined at that time for various reasons including some doubt he would be able to keep the show at the same level of quality. What changed this time around?
I also have to question what sort of financial gain does any studio plan on? The show, though critically acclaimed, was a ratings disaster to the point that Fox burned off the remaining episodes opposite of the 2006 Winter Olympics opening ceremonies. Since cancellation, the show has developed a cult following, but how much can that possibly translate to a successful feature film? Take a look at the Joss Whedon show Firefly. Despite critical acclaim for the series and being a high DVD seller, the film was a flop at the box office. I honestly can’t see AD being that successful.
It has been five years since Arrested Development ended. It probably won’t be until another year before the series returns and another year after that before the movie hits. I can’t see this being successful, and it almost comes off as a kind of cash grab. Truth be told, I want to be wrong on this. I want to see this new season and movie and fully enjoy myself as I did when I watched the first three years on Fox several years ago. I’m just not very enthusiastic about it yet.
PS. Before anyone comments, yes, I know shows like Star Trek, Futurama, and Family Guy came back in some form after an absence and were successful. For starters, Star Trek‘s situation was completely different than AD’s. In regards to Futurama and Family Guy, I don’t think they have been very good at all since their rebirths. To me, that is more evidence that a resurrected show will be weak in quality.