Prepare to break out your best chicken dance. It looks like the world will be graced with new episodes of “Arrested Development” in the near future. According to executive producer Brian Grazer, the beloved Emmy-winning comedy will return for a fifth season consisting, currently, of 17 new episodes.
Known for its oddball sense of humor, dry wit and endlessly quotable one-liners, “Arrested Development” will forever be acknowledged as the show that never quite seems to go away.
After its untimely cancellation from Fox in 2006, the show slowly but surely gained a cult following. Those who discovered it after its initial three-season run cultivated a new-found appreciation for the program, and with each passing year fans hoped that it would someday return. And return it did. In May 2013, Netflix finally revived “Arrested Development” for a fourth season with 15 new episodes.
Although many were happy to follow the antics of the delightfully dysfunctional Bluth family once more, the fourth season was met with a mixed reception from fans and critics alike. One notable source of disappointment came from the format of the episodes themselves. The new episodes possessed a very different plot structure compared to that of previous seasons.
In the first three seasons, each episode had a coherent plot that included almost every single Bluth family member, however each of the 15 episodes in the fourth season instead focused on one individual character. Moreover, every episode still occurred at the same time within the show’s universe, a detail that creator Mitch Hurwitz commented was suitable for Netflix’s binge-watch-friendly format.
Perhaps the greatest concern that arose with the fourth season, and remains with the prospect of a fifth, has been the subsistence of the show’s humor. The fourth season of “Arrested Development” was noticeably darker and somewhat more complex.
For many viewers, this occasionally resulted in a lack of laughs or no laughs at all. Some critics also felt that far too often jokes “fell flat” or “simply went too meta” and primarily catered to the fans that so enthusiastically petitioned the return of the show instead of welcoming new ones.
So after a lackluster fourth season, is it even worth making more episodes? I would say that it is — and it’s certainly not a huge mistake. Even though the show may have lost its way in its most recent incarnation, the fifth season holds a shot at bringing it all back together.
The series’ strongest qualities have always been its ensemble cast and clever, self-referential humor. The combination of the two is what made “Arrested Development” so much fun to watch in the first place. With this new season, there are endless opportunities to focus on those strengths once again and give fans, new and old, a comedy series that is as fresh today as it was back in 2003.
If not, we should still look at the bright side. We’ve got four generally satisfying seasons to enjoy for a long time. Plus, that one movie promised way back when is still a great possibility. And if we’ve learned anything from the Bluths, it’s that at least for them, there’s always money in the banana stand.