Arrested Development is Changing Everything

Arrested Development is Changing Everything

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It’s time to face the facts: everything is changing.  People don’t watch shows on the television anymore.

Okay, that’s a bit of a lie.  People don’t watch shows that aren’t Masterchef or the news or My Kitchen Rules on the television anymore.  The kitchen reality genre [I don’t know  – what would you call it] is still pretty safe when it comes to drawing in viewers [if you miss an episode, you’re not going to catch up online – you’ll just watch the next one].  As are shows such as Packed to the Rafters, which appeal to those people who aren’t so good with computers and the internet.

But that’s not what I’m writing about today.  Instead, I’m here to discuss the return of Arrested Development – or, more specifically – the return of Arrested Development as a 10-episode series on Netflix, the entirety of which will premiere on a single day.  That’s right – no need to wait between episodes.  But, is this a good thing?  To decide, I’m using the Rory Gilmore method, and writing up a bit of a pro/con list.

PROS:

1. No waiting time between episodes.
I think many people will agree that shows like Arrested Development are often best enjoyed in concentration.  The short episode and season length makes it easy to watch the entire series over a couple of days.  So, with all ten episodes premiering at once, you can marathon straight away!  Of course, not everyone enjoys television in this way, but, with the beauty of Netflix, they don’t have to.  If people want to wait and watch one episode a week, or a couple of episodes here and there – they can.  The entire series is available at your disposal, and you can watch it however and whenever you want – without ever waiting.

2. This could be the start of something new…
I know that Netflix has their own original series, but this is the first time that something with a built-in fanbase has been carried across to the internet/streaming/online world. Could this mean that other shows might follow suit? I know it’s a little late for Veronica Mars, but there are plenty of other shows [Community, for example] that continually face cancellation despite having many dedicated fans. This could be the start of a new era where shows debut on network television, before moving online. And, eventually, where more and more shows are made purely for the streaming format.

3. … Which would lead to many more things.
But if the drama/comedy series format moves in this direction, and ends up becoming an online thing, then we’re going to need faster internet and better streaming services. While I don’t like to miss out on watching shows, and often use the internet to, uh, ‘aquire’ them, I don’t like the sacrifice in quality that occurs. Especially on sites such as ABC iView [which I use on an almost daily basis]. If shows are going to stream online, then I want them streaming in digital broadcast quality.

CONS:

1. We don’t have Netflix in Australia.
This means that those of us outside of the US have no choice but to either wait for the show to become available on DVD [or by other legal means], or to acquire the series illegally.  And for those people who choose to remain within the law, considering that it can take months or even years for some shows to reach our screens, the next point becomes even worse…

2. SPOILERS!
They are going to be everywhere.  There are some devoted Arrested Development fans out there, who will no doubt be live-blogging each episode the second they become available.  And it won’t just be spoilers for the one weekly episode that you’ve not yet managed to catch – the whole series will be there, haunting you around every corner of the internet.  Spoiler-phobes will need to either go into hiding, or watch the entire series as quickly as they can.  There is no other way.

3. Australia might never catch up.
It’s great that they have services like Netflix and Hulu in the US, but it could be a very long time before those of us down under have access to anything of the sort. And if online broadcasting is the direction in which this industry decides to turn [and, let’s face it, it probably is], then it’s going to make things rather difficult for people like myself, who’d quite like to work in the television industry one day…

In conclusion…

This is a bold move for the television world, but it’s a good one, as it opens up all sorts of opportunities. The only real problem with it is that I’m probably going to have to move to the other side of the world…

Further reading:
Vulture: How the Return of Arrested Development Will Rewrite the New Rules of TV Watching
Vulture: Mitch Hurwitz Talks Arrested Development 2.0
The AV Club: Arrested Development Will Premiere Its Entire Fourth Season in One Big Lump

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