Development Arrested

In the landscape of television, there are mistakes (Cancelling Family Guy), tragedies (Cancelling Firefly), and then tragic mistakes.

Yes, this is the apparent “it” for Arrested Development, the award winning sitcom. With the episode order reduced from 22 to 13, a fourth season on Fox is unlikely at best, the leap to a fourth season on another network requires alignement of several flaming hoops, and cable is out of the question for a show with such high-profile (and talented) actors. The only way this show will brb is a response to it like the response to Family Guy (resurrected on Fox) or Firefly (resurrected in feature-film form): DVD sales. All the fandom in the world did not save those universes from their black holes, it was DVD sales. But, I’m not campaigning for reinstatement yet, I’m just reporting the reporting of news.

Anyways, the show. I’m not surprised it wasn’t a big hit. The hand-held camera, huge main cast, lack of obvious punchlines/laugh track, and somewhat awkward episode format, will lead my perception of the general public to just not get it. It took me a few episodes to get it, and a few more to appreciate it after getting it. The lead actor, Jason Bateman, played mostly the straight man, even though he did have some blindingly hilarious moments, and straight-men have been traditionally relegated to recurring roles (or at least not-at-all-lead roles). With the exception of Portia Di Rossi, there were no downright hotties, female or male. No doubt the humour was off-the-wall at its tamest, and the characters round as… circles, to catch Nielsen ratings (who’s problems are another issue), you have to be obvious, sexy, or placed smack-dab in the middle of The Simpsons, King of the Hill, The Simpsons, and the ressurected Family Guy. And while none of those necessitate a bad show, their absense excludes many good ones.

No doubt, Arrested will linger in the creative minds of a generation, though. It has the potential to come back, if treated properly by both its fans and its network. But even if it doesn’t, I beleive we’ll see its impact on situational comedy in coming seasons.

Oh well, time enjoy a GRE Mathematics (Rescaled) Subject Test.


  1. Hart Said,

    November 12, 2005 @ 1:04

    A cable pick-up is certainly not out of the question based on this show’s star quotient….none of the show’s actors is a mega-star, certainly no larger than any of the stars on “SATC” or “The Sopranos.” This show *made* stars out of a number of unknowns and never-weres. Anyhow, most of the second season post-episode 4 was terrible (mediocre at best)–forced and too self-aware–and the third wasn’t much better (until this past Sunday’s, which was suprisingly decent).

  2. Zubin Said,

    November 12, 2005 @ 14:41

    I guess by cable I meant non-premium cable. If it reappeared on HBO or Showtime, that would be cool.

  3. Nik Said,

    November 13, 2005 @ 10:09

    This show is funny in the way that Monty Python is funny. Most people don’t get it because they don’t pay attention often enough to find the jokes. It is too quick for the general public, I think. I, personally, really appreciate Arrested Development because of the way that it handles humour. Absurdity at its finest if you ask me. I like that the show is aware of itself. I like that the actors are (un)known. I like that Ron Howard narrates the whole thing. One of my favorite jokes is that former Happy days actors play lawyers. It’s a shame it doesn’t get more viewers. But then, I guess I don’t really count, I record it and watch it later. This doesn’t really help the show either. DAMN.

  4. Zubin Said,

    November 14, 2005 @ 1:19

    True, it is truly absurd. Also don’t feel bad Nik, unless you are weird and fill out a Nielsen ratings journal thing, you don’t really count anyways (:

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