UPDATE: Even more guest stars have been announced, including one who may or may not be hiding in your dumbwaiter with a slice of bread. Read all about it in the ‘Who is it?’ section.
Okay. So. There’s so much Arrested Development out there in the world that I’m starting to feel a little scattered, y’know what I mean? There’s information coming from all directions, so let’s get it all in one place, shall we? Yes, let’s do.
What is it?
Good question. This packet of fourteen new episodes from creator Mitch Hurwitz is commonly referred to as ‘season four’, but star Jason Bateman said recently at the Television Critics Association’s press tour panel that the new content shouldn’t be seen or referred to as a season: “It’s so not [Season 4] because there are fourteen individual episodes that set up the movie so it’s only Act 1. We start a story that we don’t finish until we’re in the movie. They all work together.” Each of the new episodes will focus on what one single character has been up to since the show ended, with Jason’s character Michael Bluth as the only thru-line. This was decided in order to give the writers more freedom to create storylines without meshing them with the greater arc of a whole season. Mitch says, “When we were all talking about it, we wanted to find a way to jump from one story to another, in a sort of ‘Choose Your Own Adventure.’” But let’s go back to that movie thing for a second, because it’s something that Mitch has wanted to do since 2006. I’ll grant you that it’s 2013 now and no such movie has been filmed, but if Jason Bateman isn’t giving up hope, then neither am I. And neither is Michael Cera, who plays George Michael Bluth in the series: “[The upcoming season is] open ended in a way. There’s a lot of things set up that could be paid off later on…It’s sort of suggesting that he wants to do more of them.” Oh you know who else wants that? EVERY PERSON EVER. Carry on!
When is it?
Netflix has confirmed that they will release all the episodes at once on May 26th, 2013. It went from being ‘Spring 2013′, to May 2013, to May 4th, 2013, and now I think at long last we’ve settled on the official release date of May 26th, 2013. But since they’re getting released all in one chunk of burnin’ love, you better be prepared to watch them all in one sitting if you don’t want things spoiled for you at work or at the mall or at a stoplight with your windows down.
UPDATE: Who is it?
As far as I’m aware, everyone signed back on from the original cast of the Bluth Family, and the new episodes will feature appearances from noted GOB nemesis Tony Wonder, the oddly facial-haired magician played by Ben Stiller and a wealth of crumbling food items, as well as Mae Whitman, who plays Ann Veal (…her?), and all these fine folk:
Conan O’Brien and Andy Richter, Parks and Recreation‘s Ben Schwartz [he plays Jean-Ralphio], Up All Night’s Chris Diamantopoulos, all three stars of Comedy Central’s Workaholics, Mad Men’s John Slattery, Isla Fisher and Terry Crews, as well as returning series players Carl Weathers, Jeff Garlin, Liza Minnelli, Judy Greer, Henry Winkler and Scott Baio. Series star Michael Cera (George Michael Bluth) has also officially been added to the writing staff for the effort.
Where is it?
Well, it’s not anywhere yet, but it will be on Netflix, as we’ve mentioned. And as we’ve also mentioned, Netflix is really getting down and dirty in the best way as far as promotion goes. They already added all the amazing fake titles like Les Cousins Dangereux, Boyfights, and Caged Wisdom, and now they’ve added something even more obscure and fun. If you search for the word ‘blue’ on Netflix, you’re taken to a results page with a blue handprint and smudges a la Tobias Funke. If you click on the graphics, which will show up on the top right-hand side of the screen, they’ll link you to the scene from the Season Two episode The One Where Michael Leaves, in which similar blue smudges around the Bluth house lead Michael to Tobias, in all his Blue Man, jean-shorted glory, and he reveals that he ‘blue himself’. Perfection. I think I just fell in love with Netflix. And rumor has it that they’ll be hiding even more Easter eggs in the ramp-up to the episodes’ release, so let us know if you find any.
How long is it?
That’s a personal question, but each episode is looking to be about thirty-minutes, modeling themselves after cable television episodes, which have fewer commercial breaks and more delicious Arrested Development meat.
Why is it?
Because it’s the best show that’s ever been on television. ‘Nuff said.
(Images: Netflix via ScreenCrush)