Arrested Development and the case against binge-watching:
How strange that it already feels too late to talk about the return of Arrested Development. After all, fans waited, and lobbied, and agitated for seven years -before the arrival of a treasure trove of 15 fresh episodes of the cult comedy, and as I write this, it’s been only two weeks since Netflix unveiled them in its signature open-all-your-Christmas-presents-at-once style. But it turns out that even a binge viewer’s paradise has a dark side: If supersizing your TV portions is so great, why does Arrested Development feel so…over? And why didn’t people have more fun with something they wanted so badly and were so happy to get?
Going by the Twitter reactions and the recaps that started to appear just hours after the show was made available, many viewers seem to have taken in too much too fast. Some expressed disappointment at the pacing of the episodes; some objected to a complicated and repetitive story line in which jokes pay off only after circling back to the same event multiple times. I’ll leave that debate to more devoted buffs (I’m a latecomer), but I will point out that if you take in several episodes of anything in a row, the word repetitive will likely come to mind. No wonder many AD fans sounded a bit green around the gills in those first few days, like Cartman overeating until all he can do is gasp, “No…more…pie.”
I’ve been spacing out my viewing of the latest season of Arrested Development – I’m only on episode 4 – and so far, I’ve found that I’m enjoying it more than people who rushed through half a season the day it came out.
Of course, some people genuinely don’t like the new format for the show – it’s very different from the three seasons that ran on Fox. If you liked the original series but haven’t given the fourth season a shot, I recommend watching the first two episodes (the first is rather mediocre by itself) and then giving yourself a few days before trying more.
Asawin Suebsaeng, for Mother Jones:
During a conference call on Wednesday, Arrested Development creator and executive producer Mitchell Hurwitz revealed exactly why he and his creative team focused so much on lampooning Cain in the show’s fourth season. Hurwitz had already planned on mining the Republican presidential field for satire and topicality. One idea was to cast some famous and extremely good-looking actors—including George Clooney—to play a family of “Mexican Romneys” in the new season. That idea was ultimately left unfulfilled, which gave Hurwitz time to turn his attention to Cain.
I could see it. Maybe next season? *crosses fingers*
A Publication’s Spirit, Captured – The Atlantic:
I’ve always wondered how exactly to describe the temperament, the broadmindedness, the analytical subtlety, the Id that through the decades have shaped the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page. Conveniently, the Journal has filled that need, via this video interview with one of its editorial board members. Henceforth when you read the Journal’s editorials, I invite you to hear this voice, expression, and tone.
She’s arguing against letting people use bikes at a low cost. No pedestrians have been hit by a bike in New York in the last four years – while 597 have been hit by cars and trucks. She is told this and responds with a monologue that could easily pass for the words of the Bluth matriarch:
“Before this, it was dangerous. Before this, every citizen knew – who’s in any way sentient – that the most important danger in the city is not the yellow cabs, it is the bicyclists who veer in and out of the sidewalk – empowered by the city administration with the idea that they are privileged, because they are helping, they are part of all of the good forward-looking things.
The fact that the city is helpless before the driven, personal ideological passions of its leader – in the interests, ‘allegedly,’ of the good of the city – this can take many forms, but we have seen the most dramatic exposition of this in our city…“
This woman is on the editorial board of the largest newspaper in the United States. Good lord.
Few People Are Pirating ‘Arrested Development’ Because Netflix Is Affordable Enough Already:
People love “Arrested Development” so much they’re actually willing to pay for it. Around 100,000 people illegally downloaded the show’s season 4 in the first 14 hours that it appeared on Netflix. Believe it or not, that number is nothing compared to the season premieres of other TV shows, and that likely has to do with the fact that “Arrested Development” was easily and inexpensively available online through the popular streaming-video service.
“Game Of Thrones,” HBO’s beloved fantasy drama, broke BitTorrent’s record with over 1 million downloads in the first 24 hours after the third season began airing in March.
Let people access your content at an affordable price and they’ll actually pay for it. Go figure.
Netflix Ups Investment in New Shows, Teases More Arrested Development:
If you’re wondering how Netflix plans to follow up the success of its original programming like the fourth season of Arrested Development, the answer appears to be “more of the same” — including a tease for a possible fifth season of the Bluth family comedy. But the news isn’t as positive for fans of Firefly and other long-lost cult favorite shows looking for resurrection.
I haven’t gotten very far into the new season of Arrested Development, but I have heard quite a bit about the new format – from fans and people who’ve been turned off by it alike. It’s not the show we all remember, and there doesn’t seem to be a consensus on whether or not that’s a good thing.
With that said, the show is still damn funny. I’d love to see Netflix give the creative people behind the show another season’s worth of episodes to experiment with.
I was sad to see this though:
He added that fans shouldn’t expect to see any new episodes of other beloved-but-cancelled shows like Joss Whedon’s fan-favorite space western Firefly, since its current audience would be “fewer than the 6 million who watched it [on Fox in 2002].”
It’s unfortunate, but if anyone would have the data to back up such a decision, it’s Netflix.