New “Arrested Development” Season Approaches With Much Fan Fare

Arrested Development

The wait is almost over. After seven long years, the quirky, brilliant, inimitable cult-classic comedy “Arrested Development” is coming back with 15 all-new episodes. Mark your calendars for May 26, 2013.

While you may be able to catch old episodes of “Arrested Development” on TV through Cable-tv.com, the new episodes will only be available on Netflix. That’s because Netflix is producing the episodes, which will constitute the fourth season of the series. Ron Howard, who narrates “Arrested Development,” gives fans the credit for bringing back the show by campaigning for its revival. Netflix will release all 15 episodes at once at exactly 12:01 Pacific Time on May 26.

Will the show be as good as it used to be? There is much to indicate that it will. Mitch Hurwitz, the show’s original creator and writer, is back in charge. Also returning are many of the original cast members, including Jason Bateman as Michael Bluth, David Cross as Tobias, Portia de Rossi as Lindsay and Michael Cera as George Michael.

The characters will be 10 years older than they were when the show first started. Hurwitz joked about how the characters, though much older chronologically, were only two years older emotionally. He promised we would be amazed to see how they changed after they progressed from an emotional age of 12 to 14.

Guest Stars

So many celebrity guests will be appearing in the 15 episodes that they might have to be shoehorned in. Keep an eye out for the legendary Liza Minnelli’s return to the show. You’ll also spot Ron Howard, Henry Winkler and Scott Baio (Richie, the Fonz and Chachi!). Look out for cameos from Conan O’Brien, John Krasinski, Ben Stiller, Andy Richter, Seth Rogen, John Slattery, Kristen Wiig, Isla Fisher and Carl Weathers.

The Documentary

Self-proclaimed “superfans” Jeff Smith and Neil Lieberman made a film called “The Arrested Development Documentary Project” to raise awareness of the show. Vulture.com reports the documentary, which is available on iTunes, Amazon and some cable companies’ Video on Demand, reveals previously unknown factoids about the Bluth family.

Does it surprise you to learn that Henry Winkler said that what he most liked about playing Barry Zuckerkorn was getting to keep the character’s ties? Or that Christopher Walken, Sacha Baron Cohen and Ricky Gervais all wanted to appear on the show? Fans who love “Arrested Development” trivia should check out the documentary for more.

The New Format

One thing that will be different from— and possibly better than— the original will be the show’s format. Each episode this time will focus on an individual character. Jason Bateman (Michael Bluth) discussed the new format last month on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” He said that the story lines unfold simultaneously in all of the episodes and that the availability of the entire season at once creates new ways for viewers to interact with the show. For example, he said, if we’re watching Michael’s episode and see Gob roll by on his Segway, we can flip over to Gob’s episode to see where he is headed next. That’s something, he said, that was impossible when the show was broadcast on network television.

There are other advantages to having all 15 episodes available at once. Series creator/writer Mitch Hurwitz said that he had long dreamed of the show being broadcast at every moment of the day and night to every single electronic device on the planet. While he was joking, the new technology will certainly change the way we experience the show. What matters most, though, is that the comedy magic remains.

Photo: “Arrested Development” cast doing the chicken dance, via Wikimedia Commons user aphrodite-in-nyc

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