The highly anticipated season 4 of “Arrested Development” premieres Sunday on Netflix.
While we’ve all been waiting for the return of the Bluth family — binge-watching the series before its return — Netflix may be selling expectations it can’t quite deliver.
When all 15 episodes launch on the streaming site, don’t expect to see every Bluth member on-screen together.
During the TCA press tour, creator Mitch Hurwitz explained each of the 15 episodes will revolve around a singular Bluth family member and what they have been doing since the show was cancelled in 2006.
Michael (Jason Bateman) will be the only character to be featured in every episode. (After all, he’s the glue that holds the family together.)
“Contractually, we couldn’t use all the characters in every episode; they were not free to do as much television as they want. [As a result], we’re not jumping from one thing to another [as we did in seasons 1-3]; you’re staying with one character [per episode]. The moment you saw in one show will reappear in another show from a different character’s perspective. If people watch it all at once, it will seem like a giant ‘Arrested Development.’ It’s really tailored for Netflix.”
That should automatically have some people worried.
The chemistry between the characters on each episode is what has made the show a breakout hit and cult favourite.
We’ve never had an entire episode revolve around a single character—with perhaps the exception of Michael while he was pursuing/dating Mr. F (Charlize Theron) in season 3.
Other than “contractual” obligations, Netflix couldn’t afford to have every member of the family on screen at once.
The show is an expensive bet for Netflix.
Each half-hour episode cost nearly $3 million to produce.
For reference, the video streaming site spent more on other original series. “Hemlock Grove” cost nearly $4 million an episode while “House of Cards” was upwards of $4.5 million.
While breaking down the unusual salary of the “Arrested Development” cast, The Hollywood Reporter revealed just how little we’ll be seeing of other actors per episode.
“The actor “starring” in the episode is paid $125,000. If he or she appears in more than 90 seconds of an episode (but is not the star), that actor receives $50,000. For less than 90 seconds of airtime in an episode, he or she receives $10,000. Finally, if a clip featuring the actor from a previous episode is used, that actor gets another $1,000.”
While Bateman will be seen in each episode, it sounds like a lot of actors may appear for a little over a minute or in flashback clips.
If you go back and look at the trailer for season 4, you’ll notice there aren’t any gatherings of more than three characters together at a time. And when there are three characters on screen, it’s with Bateman’s character.
What this means is that the crew needs to get insanely creative (which we don’t doubt they’re capable of). We’re expecting an uptick in one-sided telephone conversations.
This is also most likely why there is such a full slate of minor characters reprising their roles – Henry Winkler, Ben Stiller, Scott Baio, and Judy Greer along with appearances by other celebrities including Terry Crews, Kristen Wiig, Isla Fisher, and John Krasinski to fill voids in half-hour episodes that otherwise would have had Bluth family members.
Right now, Huritz is telling fans to look at the new episodes as chapters.
“Everyone has their own chapter, but they’re all Bluths, so they occur in each other’s stories, and it does take place over the same period of time.”
In addition, the creator also warned people not to binge watch all of the series at once because it loses its laugh factor.
Hurwitz told Vulture he gave one of the producers seven episodes to watch and he got tired of viewing.
I heard him in the other room laughing and laughing, and then I heard him laughing a little less, and then a little less, and then later I saw him getting a drink of water and I said, ‘What do you think?’ He goes, ‘I’m just getting a little tired. I love it, it’s great, but you can’t really laugh the whole time.”The video streaming site has been pulling out all the stops to promote the return of the Bluths from funny posters to a worldwide tour of the family side venture (there’s always money in the Banana Stand).
Hopefully, any lack of family integration won’t affect the upcoming season much and the return of the Banana Stand, Gob’s less than stellar magic tricks, and juice boxes will be as awesome as we hope.
All 15 episodes of “Arrested Development” launch May 26 at 12:01 a.m.
Check out trailer for the new season below:
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