Mitch Hurwitz responds to critics of Arrested Development series four: “This is just a bonus!”

The comedy creator tells RadioTimes.com that he goes "up and down" with fan's reaction to the Netflix series

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Creator Mitch Hurwitz has responded to those who criticised the format of Arrested Development series 4. The sitcom, which was cancelled by Fox seven years ago, returned to screens via Netflix in May with episodes that focused on individual members of the dysfunctional Bluth family: a shift brought on by the limited availability of the original cast.

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“I think if anybody said it didn’t work then it’s because they were expecting the old series,” Hurwitz told RadioTimes.com, “and I wasn’t intending to do the old series – I didn’t have the option to do the old series…I always would have rather [written it with the cast altogether], although it made sense to do it this way and I really got into the specific challenge of it.”

He added, “[Critics] go to the negative because the negative is more striking – you remember the one bad thing that happened at school, not the hundreds of good things… I go up and down with people’s reactions. But I’m really proud of it. I think it’s really cool. I think people will watch it again over the coming years and think it was funnier than they thought.”

The recent series of the cult comedy was criticised by various reviewers who felt that the new format didn’t work as well as the show’s original guise. Netflix, who spent $200 million on 15 new Arrested Development episodes, initially saw their stock drop by more than 6% as a result. 

Following Arrested Development’s cancellation in 2006, the show gained a cult following that, for years, was rumoured to culminate in a film. In 2011, however, Hurwitz announced at the New Yorker Festival that he would be doing a fourth season that, instead, would serve as an explanation for what the characters had been up to before they reunited for a film. Given the busy careers of most of the stars (most notably Jason Bateman and Michael Cera), it was to be a tough task.

“That’s why I’m surprised when people say ‘they’re not all-together!’ This wasn’t even going to happen!,” he says. “What do you mean ‘they’re not all together?!’ This is just a bonus!”

Hurwitz revealed to RadioTimes.com yesterday that the Netflix series would, if he has his way, lead on to a murder mystery film – with “huge stakes” – that would start shooting next year.

“I’m now back [to the idea of] a movie – even if it’s just a Netflix movie,” he said. “Because I betcha I can get the whole cast for three or four weeks whereas to do a TV series I need them for five months. And I wouldn’t want to do another series with a segmented cast. That made sense to with this [Netflix] anthology series because the characters had split apart but the design was that they all came back together.”

When asked whether Hurwitz can get the cast back for a film, he said:

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“I think the challenge will be logistics, but it can’t be harder than what I just had to do with the Netflix series, which was just five months of, like, suddenly finding out HBO won’t let us use Tony Hale and then having to re-write all his stuff… the whole thing was just insane… It was constantly a feeling of ‘is just any of this going to work?’ It was constant anxiety. Of me just going ‘does this make any sense?’”