First and foremost, we need to take a moment to acknowledge the death of Mr. Steve Jobs. There isn’t anything I could really add to the all the tributes and outpour of emotion that most everyone has offered in the last 24 hours. One of the best things I read? “He was a modern day Edison.” That’s probably true. It’s sort of impossible to imagine a world without a lowercase “I” in front of almost every relevant technological innovation. “Genius” is a hard word, and it shouldn’t be used often. But if there was ever a time in which it applied, it would probably be whenever his name is used. So many people talk about wanting to change the world. He actually did it. His impact on the modern day is immeasurable. He’ll be sorely missed.
OK. So I’ll try to be short. “Arrested Development” is the best show in the history of television. Or, well, at least that’s what I think. Those who read this blog consistently know that already. Sure, it’s funny, but what sets it apart for me is how intelligent the show is. I can watch all the seasons multiple times (which I already have) and continuously find different things to laugh about.
By now, you’ve heard the news that the show is coming back. You’ve also probably heard the details of the plan of attack (nine or 10 episodes followed by a movie. Every episode centers around one character until the family reunites in the first scene of the film, and so on and so forth). This, in turn, obviously made my life worth living for at least the next couple years. But enough about me. How can we tie this into the world of Internet television, you ask?
Well, sometimes the gods just smile down upon us. From the fine people at New York Magazine …
“In a move to outflank fierce rival Netflix, Hulu has jumped into the bidding war to exclusively distribute a new batch of ‘Arrested Development’ episodes, greatly increasing the chances of a Bluth family reunion,” the magazine’s Claude Brodesser-Akner wrote Tuesday. “While Fox canceled AD in 2006 because of low ratings, it’s had a powerful afterlife on DVD and online, which is why Hulu and Netflix see the value of making more. Insiders familiar with the talks between Hulu and 20th tell Vulture that Hulu has gotten 100 million streaming impressions from ‘Arrested Development’ clips, episodes, and outtakes since Hulu started in 2008.”
The article goes on to explain that there is little to no chance that the series will return to the Fox network, where the show’s first three seasons initially aired. It also explains how much a company in as much PR trouble as Netflix is in dire need of a deal that would bring it back to the good side of TV geekdom, and there couldn’t be a better option than something like this to get the company right where it needs to be.
“Here’s what Hurwitz actually said Sunday at a New Yorker Festival Q&A session with ‘Arrested’ cast and crew,” she outlined. “A) He is working on the movie screenplay; b) He has decided he should write another 10-ish episodes of the series to set the stage for the movie; c) He does not own the franchise, and it is not up to him whether either gets made; d) He is ’80 percent of the way to an answer’ on the movie. Notice he did not say he was 80 percent of the way to getting the movie greenlit. An ‘answer,’of course, could be good news — or bad. What Hurtwitz did NOT say at the confab was that: a) Any studio had agreed to make the movie; b) Any studio had agreed to make the additional television episodes; c) Any network had agreed to air the episodes.”
Unfortunately, she’s right. The minds behind the show have been playing footsie with the comeback idea for years now, whether it be strictly in movie form or in a package such as the one most recently announced. Reports got so out of control that at one point, someone floated the rumor that Michael Cera demanded too much money for an “Arrested Development” movie and, if I’m not mistaken, David Cross loudly proclaimed how impossible such an idea would be not all that long ago. Multiple times, actually.
So it’s hard to get too, too excited until some of her questions are answered. Though with the popularity of Internet television, the success of such a plan seems more likely now than ever. It would make perfect sense for the show’s television run to be broadcast on something that is Web-exclusive, anyways. Most of the show’s small-yet-rabid fan-base seems to include a lot of weirdo geeky losers (me included). And weirdo geeky losers are usually the exact type of people who know their way around an Internet connection and a television comedy that has more plot twists than all 60,392 seasons of “All My Children.”
Still, I will be waiting on bated breath for announcements as they trickle out. And if the show does ultimately end up streaming on the Internet, you can bet all the banana stands in the world that every move will tracked on this silly, tiny blog. As for now, though, we wait. And wait. And wait.