For five years now, fans of Arrested Development have kept hope alive that the short-lived Fox series might return as a big-screen feature, dreams nourished by occasional pronouncements from creator Mitch Hurwitz and various cast members confirming that such a thing is indeed being planned. Now the Internet waterboarding of the Arrested faithful has been taken up a notch: Sunday, Hurwitz, appearing at a cast reunion sponsored by The New Yorker, told New Yorker TV critic Nancy Franklin that he's now hoping to preface the alleged feature film with a limited revival of Arrested on TV. Not long after, Arnett tweeted that he and Jason Bateman were "peeing" together" and that they "are going to make new AD eps and a movie." Bateman then tweeted the plan is to "do 10 episodes and the movie. Probably shoot them all together next summer for a release in early '13." Before you start fantasizing about asking the Arrested gang to kindly stuff their pieholes with frozen bananas, Vulture would like you to know that this time, finally, we may actually be close to a real deal to resurrect Arrested.
While the show's producing studio, 20th Century Fox TV, declined to comment on Hurwitz's statements, Vulture has confirmed that the company is onboard with the idea and that conversations have taken place with Netflix about the show streaming on the service. In addition, Deadline reported Sunday that Showtime might also be interested in financing the resurrection. This makes sense: Showtime was in deep talks with 20th about keeping the show alive five years ago, but a deal never happened; since then, former Arrested producer David Nevins has taken over as head of Showtime. As far as we can tell, the Fox network is not presently a factor in these conversations, though because 20th and Fox are siblings, it's possible the network could yet become involved. However, since the new TV episodes are meant to serve as a prologue to the feature, Hurwitz may prefer the creative freedom that would come with a Netflix or Showtime deal; Fox may also not want to invest coin in a series with no long-term future.
As for why Hurwitz is seeking a multimedia approach to the Arrested encore, the New York Times says Hurwitz told Franklin it would be too difficult to explain where the Bluths had been the past five years via a quick movie summation. "I found even if I just gave five minutes per character to that backstory, we were halfway through the movie before the characters got together," he said. A limited run series would allow Hurwitz to basically spend one episode catching up with each of the characters. Of course, while all of this sounds very promising, there have been so many false starts on the Arrested front, we kind of find ourselves in the same camp as Time TV critic James Poniewozik, who opined yesterday that he "will believe that an Arrested Development movie exists when I am watching the closing credits, and actually, I will probably need to check for evidence that the memories of the movie I just saw were not incepted."