“Arrested Development” fans, your wait is almost over.
Fourteen new episodes will premiere on Netflix sometime in May, and all of them will be available at the same time, though an exact date was not revealed when Netflix made the announcement today at the Television Critics Association winter press tour.
“Arrested” star Jason Bateman also refused to define these new episode as a fourth season, calling them instead a “hybrid package,” and that’s because each show will center on a particular character instead of the entire ensemble. Why? The show’s actors were too busy with other projects to be included in all fourteen of the new episodes, explained executive producer Mitch Hurwitz.
“The only way we could get everyone together was to kind of dedicate each episode to a different character’s point of view,” Hurwitz told reporters, adding, “and that was an engaging challenge.”
Hurwitz called the decision an “evolution of storytelling that was necessary.” He also noted that the show’s stars, including Portia de Rossi, Michael Cera, Will Arnett, Jeffrey Tambor, Tony Hale, Jessica Walters, Alia Shawkat, David Cross and Bateman, are a lot more expensive to hire now than they were back in 2003.
Hurwitz said he hopes the finished product will result in a “choose your own adventure kind of thing” for the audience, with intersecting Bluth family storylines that will allow viewers to learn different details from various points of view as the episodes progress. “All of that conspired to make this one giant seven-hundred-minute ‘Arrested Development,'” he said.
Bateman clarified that the new episode structure will be “different” for fans, but “different on purpose.”
“If one was to be fair to these episodes,” Bateman said, “You cannot and should not compare them to what was the series where you had twenty-two minutes and all the characters in every episode.”
Added de Rossi, “What makes it different from episodic TV is that action happens simultaneously for characters throughout the entire fourteen [episodes].”
Hurwitz was careful not to reveal spoilers in order to preserve excitement for fans. But he did tell a handful of reporters after the session that there will be a nude scene featuring one key character. The ability to “broadcast,” as it were, such content is due to Netflix’s lack of network standards and practices limitations. Yet despite that added freedom, curse words will still be bleeped. Why? For comedic effect, of course.
Following the release of these episodes, Hurwitz is still looking at a future that includes an “AD” film. As Bateman pointed out, Ron Howard’s voice-over at the end of the original series finale hinted at a movie, and that is still very much the intention. This is “just the first act of what we hope to continue and complete in a movie,” Bateman said, adding that in the event that “AD” never makes it to the silver screen, these episodes will serve as a “satisfying conclusion” and, ultimately, a great love letter to longtime fans of the show.
“We just want to say thank you,” Bateman declared. “We’re very, very happy to be back together — at least for these episodes.”
Watch an Episode of “Arrested Development”:
All fourteen episodes of “Arrested Development” will be released on Netflix in May.