Honestly, the one thing that has annoyed me about the triumphant return of Arrested Development on Netflix is the weird backlash in certain pockets. The Internet Is Being a Whiny, Spoiled B*tch. Not only have they been punching a gift horse in the mouth, they’ve been in a race to see who can punch first and who can punch the hardest. Are there flaws with season four? Sure. I guess. But 90 percent of the people who have watched the entire series like it a hell of a lot more than not, and the other 10 percent are pure contrarians for contrarian’s sake. (By the way, we were among those who loved it so much that, beginning today, we’re going to roll out recaps of each individual episode, so do check back later for episode one. UPDATE: Flight of the Phoenix.)
All of which is to say, I don’t blame Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos for publicly getting pissy with the New York Times for their quick and dirty hatchet job of Arrested Development, after their critic Mike Hale quickly watched eight episodes in the wee hours of night and offered his full assessment: “The Internet has killed Arrested Development.”
You know what? Bullsh**!
I might understand the Times criticism if the series has been released piecemeal, one episode per week (the first few episodes — table dressing for the rest of the season — were not exactly magical. But they were released in such a way that they were meant to be viewed as a whole). As Sarandos suggested, Arrested Development should be viewed more like a movie than a TV show. I mean, Josh — God Bless him — pulled an all-nighter, watched the entire series, and had a great piece on the visual gags in the show by noon on the day of the release. Hale, in his review, was down on the series because of the way it was structured. “This is not how Arrested Development worked in its first three seasons,” he wrote. No. It’s not. Mitch Hurwitz tried something new, and novel, and what I thought to be structurally very clever, but to fully appreciate it, you had to see the entire series.
I’m not suggesting that you’re not allowed to dislike Arrested Development — different strokes and all — but it is really unfair to suggest that the “Internet killed Arrested Development” before you’ve even had a chance to gauge the Internet’s reaction (which has been — outside of a few critical circles — largely positive). A more accurate reflection is Vulture’s review, which came four days after release: A Puzzle Show Perfectly Calibrated for the Internet Age.
The point is: Boo to the NYTimes, and yay to Netflix for, first of all, bringing Arrested Development back, and second of all, being open to bringing it back again. Moreover, I’m glad to hear that not only has Netflix not been discouraged, but that they’re planning to devote even more of their budget to original programming (going from 5 percent of their budget to, eventually, 15 percent of their budget).