The creator of Arrested Development says Netflix and Twentieth Century Fox are “definitely interested” in its return – as is the cast.
“They want to do it,” Mitchell Hurwitz told The Globe and Mail at the Banff World Television Festival. “So my goal is to get together with all the important parties and figure out a timeline and figure out what we can do next. Because we all want to do something next. It’s just a matter of finding out what that could possibly be, given schedules and things, but it’s a priority for everybody.”
Hurwitz said he couldn’t comment beyond that, but at a session at the Banff Festival on Tuesday, he said that season four, which streamed on Netflix, was always intended to be the first act of either a movie or a subsequent season. And he said to leave the series where it ended at the conclusion of season four doesn’t really work. “It’s just such a bummer,” he joked about the ending.
The show was cancelled by Fox after three seasons. At the Banff Festival event – where Hurwitz was joined by Henry Winkler, who plays lawyer Barry Zuckerkorn on the series, and Troy Miller, who executive produced and directed the fourth season – Hurwitz spoke about Fox’s main instruction for season three.
“After the second season ... the note was dumb it down. They would not bring me back for a third season in the original series unless I signed a contract to make it 25 per cent less [smart].”
He didn’t sign the contract and season three aired on Fox, after which the show was cancelled and later revived by Netflix.
Season four premiered on Netflix last year to lukewarm reviews. Hurwitz says he was trying to do something new with the platform, which allows for a more serialized experience, with binge-watching and even repeated viewing. “So all of a sudden it started occurring to us to exploit the new medium means exploiting the fact that people are choosing to watch this and choosing to give it their attention.”
But it was also an experience that needed to be set up with the first show – which made for a slow-to-start viewing experience, he acknowledges.
“We did lose some people,” he says. “But we had to also just kind of take that leap of faith. ... We could not have done this story on broadcast television because they may not have come back the second week.”
He said there is no point in approaching a new viewing experience like Netflix with the same kind of show that worked on traditional broadcast television.
“It’s an opportunity to find new ways of storytelling,” he told the Banff Master Class. “Just like, I think, when the novel came along.”
Hurwitz has signed a multi-year deal with Netflix to create programming for the platform through what he calls a production pod at Netflix. “I’m just so inspired by their creativity,” he told The Globe and Mail.
“They’re funny and they’re smart and they’re open and they’re appropriately distant and appropriately involved,” he says. “And of course, they’re the future.”