On the next "Arrested Development," there is going to be a lot of "Arrested Development."
Vulture reports that all 10 episodes in the long-awaited return season of the cult comedy favorite will premiere on the same day on the program's new home, Netflix, next year – no doubt setting off a "Chicken Dance"-like frenzy among fans. The move, unlike a Gob Bluth magic trick, marks a crazy stroke of brilliance befitting a perversely great show.
Fans love "Arrested Development," in part, because it constantly broke the unwritten rules of TV comedy. Most of the characters run the spectrum from disturbingly eccentric to extremely unlikeable. An incestuous kissing-cousins plotline spurred uncomfortable laughs. Narrator Ron Howard's weekly intonation of "On the next 'Arrested Development'" invariably led to a scene that had nothing to do with the upcoming installment.
By the time the series returns, it will have been seven years since Fox cut off the Bluth family mid-dysfunction and more than a year since Netflix announced it would pick up the show. So why not flood the streaming service with a five-hour wave of new episodes?
That fits with the way many fans, original and latter day, experience the original 53 episodes – in marathon viewing sessions via Netflix or DVDs. Once you get watching – or re-watching – "Arrested Development," the show can become as hard to shake as a hankering for a frozen banana.
The marathon move also promises to fuel the hype for a program with a fan base that's active online, savoring and dissecting every nugget of new information about the comeback – and even starting an Internet campaign to bring back Steve Holt, a short-lived but pivotal character.
As for spoiler fears, chances are many viewers will be too busy glued to the new episodes to post or uncover hints of what's to come. After all, there’s much catching up to do: Did Michael and George Michael (and George Sr.) ever make it to Cabo? Did George Michael ever make it with Maeby? Did Tobias ever make it out of his blue period?
Producer Mitch Hurwitz, speaking Tuesday at a Netflix event in Las Vegas, reportedly also suggested there could be additional seasons following next year’s return and the planned reunion movie. He confirmed that Scott Baio would be back as word-and-tongue-twisting attorney Bob Loblaw, who, we hope, has been keeping up with the Bob Loblaw Law Blog.
No word yet on Steve Holt's fate, but we're awaiting more arresting developments. Unlike Gob's act, we're far from the final countdown.
Hester is founding director of the award-winning, multi-media NY City News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is the former City Editor of the New York Daily News, where he started as a reporter in 1992. Follow him on Twitter.