Is ‘Arrested Development’ Returning for Season 6?

Netflix has rescued a number of programs after networks gave up on them. These include Longmire, Lucifer, Designated Survivor, and today’s subject, Arrested Development.

The series ran on Fox for three seasons before getting the ax due to low ratings, but the show’s devoted following helped persuade Netflix to become the Bluth clan’s new home. However, signs are not promising that a sixth season is in the offing. No decision has yet been made, so will the show come back?

Ron Howard’s voice: You don’t know, do you?

‘Arrested Development’s’ birth, death, and rebirth

Tony Hale
Actor Tony Hale visits BUILD Series to discuss the Netflix series Arrested Development | Matthew Eisman/Getty Images

Howard came up with the idea of a comedy using handheld cameras and a reality television style, although the series would actually be scripted.  It was shot on location with multiple cameras, telling the story with visual devices like security camera footage, Bluth family photos, website screenshots, archive films, and flashbacks.

Howard himself would be the omniscient third-person narrator providing sometimes sarcastic commentary.

Although the show was acclaimed for its originality and drew a dedicated fanbase, it wasn’t enough to sustain the show on network TV. Matt Hurwitz, the show’s creator, told Entertainment Weekly in 2006:

“In truth, I had taken it as far as I felt I could as a series. I told the story I wanted to tell, and we were getting to a point where I think a lot of the actors were ready to move on. My instinct was that it was over when Fox pulled the plug.”

The plug wouldn’t stay out of the wall, though. Or at least, the plug moved to a different house.

By 2013, Netflix had evolved from a DVD mail service to a streaming powerhouse. They picked the show up for a fourth season that year, and a fifth season, split across 2018 and this year. Fans were overjoyed at first.

The revival may be short-lived

But was everyone else happy? Circumstances conspired against the show The non-linear narrative of Season 4, necessitated partly by conflicting cast schedules,  divided its viewers to the point that the producers took the highly unusual step of recutting the show in chronological order.

Complicating matters even further was controversy surrounding Jeffrey Tambor, who faced sexual harassment allegations.

Season 5, featuring a whodunit about the disappearance of Lucille in her Congressional campaign, didn’t make things much better. The Verge subtitled one of its articles:

“Is anyone still eager for more of this series? Arrested Development in the early going was a visual and aural marvel, with sight gags, puns, double-entendres, callbacks, and slapstick shtick filling nearly every second of screen time. And that’s what this series has lost  … Hurwitz and his cast and crew seem to have lost some of their speed and intensity. Their jokes lack the sharp snap and wicked curve of old.”

Netflix’s cancellation spree

Not so long ago, it seemed like once a show landed on Netflix, it would hang around forever. Recent developments have proven that not to be the case. The streaming giant has been revving up the cancellation saw with a vengeance lately, putting an end to all its Marvel shows.

That may be because of the impending arrival of Disney’s own streaming service. But Marvel shows have hardly been the only victims. Santa Clarita Diet is going poof, Friends from College is splitting up, and another revival, One Day at a Time, isn’t coming back.

It is not known for certain if Arrested Development is in Netflix’s bullseye, although cast member Jessica Walter is game.

“I love that show. It means a lot to me and it means a lot to everybody in it. Over 16 years ago is when we started that show… It’s a long period. If they ever wanted to do it, I’d certainly entertain the idea. I have no idea what’s happening, though,” she said.