The first time Arrested Development returned, it was a pretty big deal.
Fans across the world rejoiced to see the Bluth family, martyrs in Fox’s ongoing war against good television, coming back together for a very special collection of episodes that kicked off Netflix’s new strategy of producing quality original content, and telling old media companies (like Fox) to sit and swivel.
Except, of course, that the Bluth family didn’t actually reunite.
The problem with Arrested Development is that many of its actors have gone on to such fantastic stardom that getting the entire cast in a single room for an extended period of time is a near Herculean task.
Scheduling conflicts meant that in order to bring Arrested Development back, the show’s many characters had to appear in separate, unconnected stories that allows for filming to take place at different times, depending on availability.
This strategy was often less than ideal, and it naturally led a lot of fans to feel underwhelmed by the show’s return – after waiting for so long to see the Bluth family back together again, we instead got a watered-down experience that just didn’t recapture the same magic as the original three seasons.
Now, after years of difficult negotiations, Arrested Development’s fifth season is about to start filming. Jason Bateman has tweeted out a photo of the show’s set, as preparations are under way to begin shooting on August 8th.
Here comes trouble. The Bluths move back in on the 8th. pic.twitter.com/0PF7ZqkmWM
— Jason Bateman (@batemanjason) July 30, 2017
Supposedly, part of the reason why season five was delayed for so long came down to getting everyone’s schedules in-sync, to the point that it almost didn’t look like the show would ever return, but it’s been reported that this time around, Arrested Development will feel a lot more like its original three seasons, rather than having a split-up cast.
How much this actually proves to be the case remains to be seen.
One thing’s certain, though: money is no object this time around. With season four, Netflix’s homegrown content was in its infancy, and it was difficult to guarantee that this show’s revival would be worth throwing a lot of money at its stars and creators. In the futuristic year of 2017, where internet streaming television is a big name industry, Netflix has a lot more faith in the project, and can afford to buy up prime actor time so that they don’t need to fit this job around more lucrative projects.
So will getting the entirety of the Bluth family (or an approximation thereof) together in the same place fix all of season four’s problems?
Not necessarily – there always seems to be something missing from these long-after-the-fact revivals of classic shows. Fuller House and X-Files have benefited from Netflix’s full support, but still haven’t felt quite right. It might prove that the magic of Arrested Development might have passed, and that it will be impossible to recapture what made the show so popular initially.
It is worth being optimistic, though. If we’re very lucky, we might just get some classic Arrested Development action in the upcoming fifth season.