It’s Arrested Development’s triumphant return… probably

Cross your fingers: comedy makers now hope for a TV return as well as a film

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Please read with crossed fingers and take a moment to pray that this is true: Mitchell Hurwitz says his tremendous Arrested Development may be getting a film – and now that it may be coming back to TV, too. Normally no producer would say that until it was a done deal and normally no one would listen until there was at least a TV network committing to it, but this is different. 

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This is Arrested Development.

It’s the story of “a wealthy family who lost everything and the one son who had no choice but to keep them all together”. Sounds simple, sounds very sitcom-like, but it was all in the playing and the characters.

Now, speaking at the New Yorker Festival, Hurwitz has announced both the movie and a ten-part TV series, in which each episode will concentrate on a separate character from the show. “Just creatively, I have been working on the screenplay for a long time and found that as time went by, there was so much more to the story. In fact, where everyone’s been for five years became a big part of the story.

“So in working on the screenplay, I found even if I just gave five minutes per character to that back story, we were halfway through the movie before the characters got together.”

From this weekend’s festival, watch the entire cast do Gob’s chicken dance.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCgicLnEFg4

Afterwards, the cast got very into tweeting. Star Jason Bateman tweeted quite normally from his @batemanjason account: “It’s true. We will do 10 episodes and the movie. Probably shoot them all together next summer for a release in early ’13. Very excited!” 

But Will Arnett confirmed Bateman’s tweet with his own from @arnettwill, giving much more information… though not necessarily the detail you’d want to know: “I’m peeing with @batemanjason at the moment and we can confirm that we are going to make new AD eps and a movie.”

There is a problem. Well, there are two problems.

First, Hurwitz did not name the TV network that would air the show. He didn’t because he couldn’t: no network has confirmed – or even hinted – that they’re up for this. Then, when pressed, Hurwitz added that he was currently halfway through writing the screenplay for the film and is “absolutely 80 per cent sure” it will happen.

With anyone else, with any other show, you would now be certain it wasn’t ever going to happen. With this man, with this show, maybe you should be that cynical but you can’t be. You don’t want to be. Arrested Development did poorly in the ratings from the very start and it only got worse, but fans watching and fans within Fox TV, which aired it, were so rabid about the show that they kept it going for three seasons. It was cancelled in 2005 and 20 minutes later the rumours of the film started.

Watch it now. FX is airing it in the UK on Saturday mornings, so you can relish the Bluth family, eat up Ron Howard’s narration and enjoy how every episode ended with a totally fictitious trailer for scenes apparently coming next week. While we wait and wait and hope and wait for the film and this new TV show, what are your favourite moments from the show? 

How about the origin of that chicken dance? 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9TXVMkQ29g

And from the episode where the show considered its own failing ratings, here are the characters discussing what to do next. Might they have to get actual jobs?

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZQbonv3u6w