As The Scythe Swings: The Ever Changing Fate of Arrested Development
My arrival to claim a TV show and take it to its afterlife is always marked by confusion, denial, tears, fears, and a lot of disappointment. It is only very, very rarely a good experience, and those are almost always when a show has run its course and all concern agree that it is time for it to end and go out on its own terms.
Today, I’m faced with a mountain of confusion that leaves me and my scythe standing here, not knowing if there is a show about to end before it restarts or what exactly IS going on. Allow me to explain this very strange situation.
As many of you know, the service known as Netflix is preparing to present a new season of Arrested Development, a show whose development was arrested long before and which resulted in me taking it to its just reward. Despite that, an effort has been waged for quite a bit of time to not reboot the show, but actually bring it back with new episodes. Netflix agreed and the show is about to start running on its service.
Now, its bad enough when my judgment is questioned by resurrecting a show that I’ve reaped. Only a very few shows have had this happen to it and they have only succeeded even more rarely than that. I can understand devotion to a show by fans and even by its cast and crew, but when its over, its over. I can count both hands with bony fingers to spare the number of shows that have made any kind of successful comeback. Most come back for one season and are done.
This week, the CEO of Netflix, Reed Hastings, told his investors that this upcoming season of Arrested Development is a one shot. He told them, and I quote, “We don’t anticipate being able to do seasons five, six, seven. We have less of a stake in it,” he said. “Arrested Development is a wildly successful tactic as opposed to fundamental to the strategy.”
Before you know it, a spokesperson for Netflix attempted to clarify his boss’s comments, saying, the service wants to do more seasons and if anyone can pull it off, they can. According to reports I’m hearing, the CEO’s comments were based on the extreme difficulty of getting the cast from when it ran on Fox to return for this new season.
Whatever the reason and whatever the cause, this can only hurt the show as it will make cast members even more hesitant to return, cause potential viewers to wonder why they should bother as it is already in danger of my coming for it. These comments can cause a show to fail when it might have been borderline, and becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when it does end.
In the meantime, I am back to preparing my scythe for my spring ritual of reaping the programs that have not made it to another year. From what I’m hearing, at one of the networks, I’m going to be very busy this spring. I’d better get this thing to an extra fine edge for that much work.