Actor Jason Bateman confirmed on Twitter on Friday that he had officially signed on to a new season of cult classic Arrested Development, which was first revived by Netflix in 2013.
In previous comments, show producer Brian Grazer has said “Netflix is determined to do more episodes,” and that all of the series’ main actors have agreed to participate, and to payment terms. (Grazer is the business partner of Arrested Development narrator Ron Howard, who also occasionally dabbles in filmmaking).
Regarded—at least by its fervent fan base—as a classic, Arrested Development originally ran from 2003-2006 on Fox, following the sociopathic Bluth family after their real estate-developer patriarch is indicted for treason. The show got mediocre ratings at the time, but its rapid-fire pacing, absurdist sensibility, and use of persistent running jokes resurfaced, to varying degrees, in everything from NBC’s 30 Rock to ABC’s Modern Family to FX’s Archer (which features several AD alums).
The fourth season, which was created for Netflix in 2013, was considered a mixed bag even by die-hard fans. (After years of built-up expectations, some critics have attributed that as partly the fault of the original run’s success.) Arrested Development boosted the careers of every member of its cast, particularly Bateman's. By 2013, cast members were all so busy that they had to film much of the new season separately, leading to a fragmented story.
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Despite falling short creatively, the fourth season was a significant strategic milestone for Netflix. Along with that year's debuts of House of Cards and Orange is the New Black, Arrested Development proved the streaming service was serious about original programming. The company has continued to shift away from just streaming licensed content to creating its own shows and films, and now spends three times more than HBO on original content.
And while the Bluths couldn't build a sturdy house to save their lives, they've helped lead at least one company to success: Netflix's original content strategy has helped revenues grow consistently both in the U.S. and internationally.