Sunday, 2 October 2011

ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT returning as a miniseries, before the long-awaited movie?

Sunday, 2 October 2011
The entire cast of Arrested Development attended a reunion at the New Yorker Festival this weekend, and creator Mitch Hurwitz suggested that the long-awaited movie may now be preceded by a 9 or 10 episode TV show! Each hour would focus on one particular member of the Bluth family, to explain what they've been up to in the five years the original Fox show's been off-air.

Arrested Development was cancelled by Fox in 2006 but has retained a very strong cult following. I myself watched all three seasons this year (for the first time), and have to agree it's probably the best US comedy of the '00s. Ever since it was axed amidst low ratings, talk of its return as a movie has been commonplace, but plans only recently started coming together. The long-awaited Arrested Development movie was scheduled to go into production in 2012, but that appears to have fallen to 2013, and will revolve around the idea of filmmaker Ron Howard (who's also the show's narrator) making a movie about the wealthy, dysfunctional Bluth family.

Will there really be a new TV series before this movie, as Mitch Hurwitz claims? If so, would it air on Fox, the network that axed it? That seems unlikely, so maybe a cable channel like FX (a Fox affiliate) or Showtime (who were close to rescuing the series in '06 until Hurwitz refused to return, saying he felt the TV format had run its course)? (Update: apparently Showtime and Netflix are considering producing this ten-part lead-in to the movie.) Is a miniseries being produced to increase the chances of the planned movie being a success? It could be sold as the movie version of a recent (and hopefully popular) TV miniseries, rather than a dead TV show from five years ago. Or is a brief small-screen return just icing on the cake for loyal fans, whose commitment and support has kept the chances of the show's return in influential people's minds?

Whatever happens, this new TV show will apparently film next summer for an early-2013 premiere, before the big-screen movie! Or so claims Mitch Hurwitz during a reunion Q&A with fans in New York. Do you believe him? (Update: this morning these claims have been corroborated by various press sources and actors like Jason Bateman, so it's definitely more than wishful thinking.)