As you’ve no doubt heard by now, Arrested Development is back, with Season 4 made exclusively for Netflix. The whole season is now available for subscribers to stream, and it’s well worth watching. Take my word for it. But is Arrested Development, alongside other original Netflix series, enough to disrupt the television industry?
Arrested Development Season 4 Review
I have to say I really enjoyed Season 4 of Arrested Development. The first few episodes are confusing and not all that funny, but that’s because of the way the season is edited so that the lives of the Bluth clan intertwine with each other throughout the 15 episodes.
This season looks and feels as good as the previous seasons, with no drop-off in terms of budget or performance. Having individual episodes devoted to particular characters works, but with some more than others.
In the end this season of Arrested Development is a different animal than the previous seasons, with a story arc which takes seven hours to be fully realized. In this way it has more in common with Mad Men, another show that gives its characters room to breathe.
The Netflix Influence
If Arrested Development had remained on network television then there’s no way Season 4 would have been made as it was. Instead it would have followed the same pattern as the previous three seasons, for better or worse.
Being on Netflix gave the show’s creator Mitch Hurwitz room to experiment, as he was freed from the constraints imposed upon him by the network. While not every decision panned out, it’s this creative freedom that is likely to produce the most engaging television.
Netflix knew it had a dedicated fanbase ready to please with Arrested Development, and I suspect other fan-favorite shows prematurely cancelled by networks will be saved from extinction in a similar way. Which, alongside original content such as House Of Cards, will prove a valuable tool in persuading people to sign up (and stay signed up) for the service.
Netflix, alongside Amazon, YouTube, and others, are disrupting the television industry by giving people options. And it’s the original content that is going to persuade the mainstream that they aren’t stuck watching the shows the networks deem good enough. Arrested Development is just the start of that, but what a start it is.