Quite possibly the show with the greatest cult following, Arrested Development has officially announced its return will be on May 26 at 12:01 a.m. Pacific Time on Netflix. At that time, all fifteen, yes fifteen, episodes will be released at once, providing those who want to watch the entire season in one-sitting the ability to do so over the course of Memorial Day weekend. This is probably the best news ever as an actual release date means that fans of the show, who have been taunted by the notion of a fourth season or a movie for so long, are actually receiving it.
The history behind Arrested Development is an interesting one as the pilot was well received by both critics and audiences. The pilot alone amassed almost 8 million viewers. Despite the early success, widespread audience enthusiasm, waning to just 5 million for the season one finale. By episode nine of the third and, what seemed at the time, to be the final season of the show, narrator Ron Howard said in the opening scene, "please tell your friends about this show." Though its run on TV was relatively short-lived, it amassed a strong, core fan-base.
Between its cult of fans and strong DVD sales, there has been a clamor for an additional season of the show or a movie for years. Though 22 Emmy nominations couldn't save the show at the time, the show catapulted a number of people in the cast into much larger roles. Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, Michael Cera, and David Cross' careers all became significantly more successful after they left the show, leaving the fate of a movie or an additional season in doubt as coordinating the cast's schedules proved exceedingly difficult. But now, with a large chunk of the cast either working on Archer or working on different projects, the clamor for another season was enough to get them all to come together.
The 15 episode, expanded from 14, season will feature episodes which focus on a particular character. According to Zap2it, the episode titles will be "Michael 1," "Michael 2," and "Gob" as examples. The fifteenth episode title is still unknown as it was not until today that a 15th episode's existence was known.
I personally think that Netflix is the perfect outlet for this to be released and revealing all 15 episodes to the world at once is a genius plan. As someone who is currently re-watching Arrested Development in this so-called "binge" style, with all of the circular references and self-contained jokes, the ability to watch everything at once is extremely helpful for following along with all of their jokes.
Though Netflix does not reveal their viewership numbers, I expect this to be a great success and hopefully a movie will follow. Here is to getting no sleep on May 26! Huzzah!