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There's Always Money in Quikster, I mean the Banana Stand
November 20, 2011 2:21 PM   Subscribe

Now the story of a wealthy new media company that nearly lost everything and the one TV series that had no choice but to keep it all together. It's Arrested... Development... on Netflix.

Did I hear somebody here say "What's 'Arrested Development'?"

The deal is (apparently) for the previously unofficially announced 10-episode mini-series focusing on specific Bluth family members intended as a lead-in for a feature film (which should - maybe - release the Arrested Development Movie from Development Hell). Good news for a company and CEO whose recent moves have been almost Bluth-like in their disastrousness and ineptness.

And the cornerstone of a content creation strategy for the content provider that started with its commitment to "House of Cards", a remake of a classic British series which will star Kevin Spacey and bring out 'political drama' in Fall 2012, a plan that was not universally lauded. No word how this may affect the 'close-to-a-deal' "Orange Is the New Black", 'Weeds' creator Jenji Kohan's 'women's prison comedy'.

How will this affect Hollywood? Well, anyone taking a meeting with Ron Howard in the next few months will have to listen to him practicing his Narrator voice.
posted by oneswellfoop (71 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
Footnote #1: I stand by my previously published commentary: "Maybe it was time for the show to bow out, after all. Where would we go from here? How could Michael return to his family without turning from long-suffering and loyal to a simple glutton for punishment? And what would be funny about George Michael and Maeby in a normal teenage relationship?"

Footnote #2: I was SHOCKED at Variety's "Exclusive" (yeah, exclusive for about 20 minutes) when it declared "it is rare that a series comes back after a protracted absence" and noted the 'precedent' of "Family Guy" but NOT "Futurama".

Footnote #3: This post features the largest collection of quotes and semi-quotes of any in my history at MetaFilter. Which helps explain why I haven't been writing professionally about TV lately.

posted by oneswellfoop at 2:22 PM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


2013? Seven years to wait is too late. Sorry guys, but this deal sounds a little too desperate ... on both ends of the equation.

Besides Archer has sucked all the Arrested Development love out of me. That's where half the AD cast is drawing a paycheck from these days anyway.
posted by PapaLobo at 2:25 PM on November 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, like the guy in the $3,000 suit is gonna act on a show that you can only watch on Netflix. Come on!
posted by gompa at 2:25 PM on November 20, 2011 [67 favorites]


I'm still wondering how many Netflix users are running up against their monthly bandwidth allotment from their ISPs. Surely it can't be a few, and it's probably too many.
posted by hippybear at 2:27 PM on November 20, 2011


the guy in the $3,000 suit has left the building...
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:29 PM on November 20, 2011


I *just* bought a Ps3 so I could Mw3.

I found out there was a netflix app. Downloaded it.

Does not deliver content to my area.

This is how I feel.
posted by hal_c_on at 2:37 PM on November 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


PapaLobo: "Seven years to wait is too late. Sorry guys, but this deal sounds a little too desperate ... on both ends of the equation."

Tell that to Star Trek.
posted by Plutor at 2:37 PM on November 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


This has been a roller-coaster few weeks for fans of clever sitcoms. First we find out about the loss (sorry, "hiatus") of Community (boo!), now we learn Arrested Development will be coming back (yay!). The TV gods give with one hand and take away with the other...
posted by lunasol at 2:41 PM on November 20, 2011


[aproposofverylittle]Alright, stair-car basics. In order to get this thing up to a minimum speed you gotta jam on the gas pedal, for about a minute okay, but in order to slow this thing down you gotta get almost immediately back on the brake pedal because you got about two tons of stairs behind you. We're gonna cover the hydraulic flaps and the riser system after I tell you basics about how to avoid a hop on.
[/aprosposofverylittle]
posted by Senor Cardgage at 2:49 PM on November 20, 2011 [7 favorites]


Tell that to Star Trek.

So I guess that makes Archer TAS?
posted by azarbayejani at 2:51 PM on November 20, 2011


At least you didn't say Archer makes for Enterprise.
posted by PapaLobo at 2:52 PM on November 20, 2011


Remaking House of Cards? With Kevin Spacey in the Ian Richardson role? It may be because I was a massive fan of the original, but this sounds like the worst idea since Harvey Korman starred in the US remake of Faulty Towers.
posted by Grimgrin at 3:00 PM on November 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wait, Harvey Korman was in an American remake of Fawlty Towers?
posted by Mcable at 3:05 PM on November 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


the guy in the $3,000 suit has left the building...

I mistakenly thought that this meant Will Arnett was no longer signed on. COME ON

I hope Netflix can pull it off.
posted by eddydamascene at 3:11 PM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Snavely", starring Harvey Korman and Betty White.
posted by Grimgrin at 3:12 PM on November 20, 2011


I'm still wondering how many Netflix users are running up against their monthly bandwidth allotment from their ISPs. Surely it can't be a few, and it's probably too many.

Holy shit, is that really a thing? I just watched 3 seasons of Breaking Bad in 4 weeks through Netflix. Am I screwed? I'm afraid to check.
posted by peep at 3:19 PM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


sorry, just pointing out that the "guy in the $3000 suit" trope had been done to death in the previous post (and that I read the previous post TWICE before deciding to go ahead and post this).

"Snavely" did not make it past Pilot, and good thing it didn't because it would've been the worst blemish on Betty White's illustrious career. But even more frightening was the version with Bea Arthur. Now there's a subject for a totally 'nother post...
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:20 PM on November 20, 2011


I'm also skeptical about where they're going to take the storyline after the series finale, but I have faith. It'll be fun to see how the Bluths (Carl) weathered the recession.
posted by codacorolla at 3:21 PM on November 20, 2011


Will netflix still be around in 2 years?
posted by delmoi at 3:23 PM on November 20, 2011


Also, I hope this works out for Netflix. The Community debacle shows how useless, outdated, and old the Nielson/Network system is. And, honestly, I don't ever plan on paying for cable again.
posted by codacorolla at 3:24 PM on November 20, 2011 [7 favorites]


“We believe the vast majority of Netflix’s domestic streaming spend for 2012 … has already been announced or committed. Accordingly, we would not expect Netflix to spend aggressively or announce major new deals until management has better visibility on U.S. subscriber growth.” -- JP Morgan analyst

Meanwhile, it's graduating into an environment with a lot more competition, including its former partner Starz.

Re: Bandwidth:
AT&T said that its average DSL subscriber only uses 18 GB of data per month when it announced its 125 GB cap earlier this year.... the average Netflix user consumes about 40 GB of bandwidth per month. However, consumption seems to be much higher when Netflix is consumed with a connected device capable of receiving HD streams. The company singled out owners of Microsoft’s Xbox 360 in particular: Users that stream Netflix through their Xbox 360 consume about 80 GB of data per month on average.
posted by dhartung at 3:24 PM on November 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


AT&T said that its average DSL subscriber only uses 18 GB of data per month when it announced its 125 GB cap earlier this year.... the average Netflix user consumes about 40 GB of bandwidth per month.

It's a shame there's no actual description of what an "average Netflix user" actually watches in a month. That's a little piece of information which isn't included and seems to be vital.

posted by hippybear at 3:31 PM on November 20, 2011


The important thing here isn't the show. It's the fact that an internet property can make the show. TV networks are now obsolete.
posted by mhoye at 3:44 PM on November 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


One of the great joys in living in coastal Orange County is to experience life through the lens of Arrested Development -- I bike down the Balboa peninsula and get frozen bananas, scan the harbor picking out the Gobs in their Seawards, swim with seals, drive the 133 and see Sudden Valley, pass by Fashion Island or South Coast Plaza and think of pterodactyls and fire sales, and when I'm on the beach in the afternoon and the onshore winds pick up, I fantasize about throwing my bills into the ocean.
posted by eddydamascene at 3:50 PM on November 20, 2011 [23 favorites]


The important thing here isn't the show. It's the fact that an internet property can make the show. TV networks are now obsolete.

Well, the important thing will be how the show performs and whether Netflix finds that it gains revenue through making and airing the show.

A lot of questions remain to be answered. Will it be selling advertising to air during the series? Will it be hoping that carrying Arrested Development will boost its subscriber base? (This is the HBO/Showtime model, which did well even 25 years ago with series such as It's Garry Shangling's Show, long before things like The Sopranos were ever even dreamed of.)

Exactly how Netflix hopes to create money out of this project remains to be seen. I think it's great that they're doing this -- it's a grand experiment into new avenues of media delivery to the consumer. But if it doesn't actually make them any money, there won't be many more such experiments after it.
posted by hippybear at 3:54 PM on November 20, 2011


TPapaLobo: "Seven years to wait is too late. Sorry guys, but this deal sounds a little too desperate ... on both ends of the equation."

Tell that to Star Trek.


I am in the middle of an epic Netflix ST:TNG re-watch. Looks like AD will be next.
posted by 3FLryan at 4:05 PM on November 20, 2011


They've made a huge mistake.
posted by Evernix at 4:10 PM on November 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Netflix? Really?
posted by Flashman at 4:14 PM on November 20, 2011


Yah, this is awesome.
posted by Atreides at 4:25 PM on November 20, 2011


Expect more deals like this. Now that the deal with starz is over netflix has piles of money to spend.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:28 PM on November 20, 2011


The mere fact that you call Netflix "Qwikster" tells me you're not ready.
posted by unsupervised at 4:29 PM on November 20, 2011 [30 favorites]


Yah, this is awesome.

Well, let's hope so.
posted by hal9k at 4:30 PM on November 20, 2011


TV networks are now obsolete.
By the standard of "because this is now possible", so are gasoline-powered automobiles.
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:32 PM on November 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


I'm also skeptical about where they're going to take the storyline after the series finale

The average 22-minute episode of AD has numerous dramatic plot twists. They constantly play with your expectations. The finale ended with multiple cliffhangers. I'm not worried about their ability to generate more plotlines.
posted by John Cohen at 4:34 PM on November 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


TV networks are now obsolete.

That totally depends on whether this is a money maker or not. Plus, Netflix has not exactly made some of the cleverest business decisions lately - given that, it will be interesting to see how this works and what sort of profit they make from it.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 4:38 PM on November 20, 2011


Things I'd like to know:

- How much of the regular cast will still be there (for the TV show and the movie)? I'm not sure what it means to say the episodes will be character-specific.

- Will the revival take place years later, or continuously with the finale (which might strain credibility since George Michael and Maeby will probably look much older)?

- When will it be on DVD?
posted by John Cohen at 4:45 PM on November 20, 2011


How much of the regular cast will still be there (for the TV show and the movie)?

Will the revival take place years later, or continuously with the finale (which might strain credibility since George Michael and Maeby will probably look much older)?


I've been following the struggles to bring back AD for a while, and from what I've read 1) the show would not be coming back if the entire original cast were not participating. (No "new Becky" substitutions) and 2) the new episodes would take place in current times, with the intervening years (outside the series) taking place but not depicted.

Granted, these things change all the time in the high-money environment of television development. But based on more than a few years of following the news, those seem to be the two main stipulations which I've heard repeatedly when it comes to bringing the series back in serial or movie form.
posted by hippybear at 4:50 PM on November 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Thanks for the info, hippybear.

sorry, just pointing out that the "guy in the $3000 suit" trope had been done to death in the previous post

It was done to death on the show itself! That was kind of the joke. (He said the line so many times they started cutting to a new scene before he got to say the price.)
posted by John Cohen at 4:59 PM on November 20, 2011


well, the guy in the $9 sweat pants and MetaFilter t-shirt has had enough...
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:10 PM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


That was kind of the joke. (He said the line so many times they started cutting to a new scene before he got to say the price.)

Actually, no, the scene was just split up between the beginning and the end of the episode. Near the beginning, you see the last half of the line, later on you see the first half.
posted by LionIndex at 5:12 PM on November 20, 2011


He said the line so many times they started cutting to a new scene before he got to say the price.

That was their method of sneaking a "fucking" onto the show.

I don't think Arrested Development's success is particularly hard to understand, and I hope it's not hard to replicate. I've been awfully disappointed with the new seasons of Futurama, so I'm wary about this, but I tend to trust Mitch Hurwitz.

The thing that puts AD above all other sitcoms is that they had a meticulously-planned plot that spanned several seasons, worked out by Hurwitz in advance, and then they used Ron Howard's narrator presence to accelerate the story ahead at a speed which no other mockumentary has equaled. Its actors all deliver jokes the proper mockumentary way, which is to say they deliver their lines without any indication that they're supposed to be funny. It let AD develop very strong, multifaceted characters without sacrificing any humor. Then the overarching plot let writers pull off incredibly complex, dense jokes, because they knew everything that had happened and would happen.

(If you haven't read this AMA over on Reddit, it offers a fascinating look at how the writing staff functioned, as well as a lot of juicy info on what would have happened without the cuts and cancellations.)

I'm bothered by shows that deliver their jokes self-consciously. It bugs me on Community and Parks & Recreation that many of the actors make it obvious they know they're saying funny things. Comedy works much better for me when it's delivered with a straight face. One of the best things about Archer is how good its cast is at deadpan deliveries of insane lines. If only it had the same plot complexity I'd be totally fine with calling it Arrested Development's successor.
posted by Rory Marinich at 5:13 PM on November 20, 2011 [19 favorites]


Kind of sad people won't let pop culture die and move on to something new occasionally.
posted by Peztopiary at 6:08 PM on November 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


I too am bothered that they keep making Batman movies.
posted by Rory Marinich at 6:12 PM on November 20, 2011 [10 favorites]


At least Arrested Development hasn't been repeatedly 'reimagined', 'reinvented' or 'rebooted' like Batman has (cracked.com list). Accepting the time passing may be uncomfortably close to "Arrested Development: The Next Generation", but it sure beats doing a prequel ("Arrested Development: The Early Years"... any suggestions for a young Jeffrey Tambor?). And it at least partly aleviates my concerns about being able to continue the story - give them enough time to make new messes of their lives and the Bluths will.
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:32 PM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Pop eats itself. I'm not sure I can remember anything new in pop culture. What I like are things done well, of which Arrested Development was certainly one. Or at least, it made me laugh very very much and merits repeat viewings. Starting a new season of AD seems worthy of a try, and the cast and creators retain an enthusiasm for giving it a go because the show was cancelled prematurely.
posted by artlung at 6:36 PM on November 20, 2011


I feel you, Petzopiary. I had to wonder why Futurama was revived after all these years, seeing as how it really wasn't a great show. Certainly not a terrible show, just, eh. I always think of a Stephen Sondheim quote, "We live in a recycled culture". He was talking about how nearly all Broadway musicals these days are rehashed movies, like The Lion King.
posted by MattMangels at 6:36 PM on November 20, 2011


Oh no you did not just say Futurama isn't a great show
posted by Hoopo at 7:02 PM on November 20, 2011 [12 favorites]


At least Arrested Development hasn't been repeatedly 'reimagined', 'reinvented' or 'rebooted'

Can't wait for the Arrested Development cartoon: George and Lucile are teenagers living in a model space station. Michael, GOB, Buster and Lindsey are kids, each one of them with superpowers. Joined by their friend, crazy mad scientist Tobias Funke, supercousin babies George Michael and Maebe, and GOB's space alien friend Franklin, they roam the solar system in their escalator-shuttle, protecting Earth from the evil-doers of Planet Sitwell.
posted by bondcliff at 7:08 PM on November 20, 2011


any suggestions for a young Jeffrey Tambor?

Giovanni Ribisi
posted by Hoopo at 7:08 PM on November 20, 2011


Just binged on this recently and one thing that struck me was how really happy the actors seemed. It's like, they knew they had good lines, a good structure, and the chops to deliver it.

I also got over my recently-earned Michael Cera hate. Jesus fucking christ, he's adorable.
posted by angrycat at 7:10 PM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can't wait for the Arrested Development cartoon

Good thing they retained animation rights, wot wot?
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:16 PM on November 20, 2011


Just came in to say that your headline is v. funny. Plus the whole post. Clapppity clapp.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 7:30 PM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wonder if this means that Netflix is finally going to be upgraded to "Risky"...
posted by schmod at 8:24 PM on November 20, 2011 [7 favorites]


That was kind of the joke. (He said the line so many times they started cutting to a new scene before he got to say the price.)

Actually, no, the scene was just split up between the beginning and the end of the episode. Near the beginning, you see the last half of the line, later on you see the first half.


Really? That's not at all how I remember it, but I'll be on the lookout for this the next time I watch that episode.
posted by John Cohen at 9:22 PM on November 20, 2011


This is the soundtrack to my reading this FPP
posted by not_on_display at 9:25 PM on November 20, 2011


Its actors all deliver jokes the proper mockumentary way, which is to say they deliver their lines without any indication that they're supposed to be funny.

Actually, I think the humor on AD is very broad and over-the-top comical. They didn't use the subtle, relatively realistic style of The Office. I watched the first season or two of AD before even realizing it was supposed to be a documentary; I only realized this through listening to a DVD commentary. I think what you're describing is just good comic acting.
posted by John Cohen at 9:28 PM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


MattMangels: “I had to wonder why Futurama was revived after all these years, seeing as how it really wasn't a great show...”

You misspelled "Family Guy."
posted by koeselitz at 10:31 PM on November 20, 2011 [17 favorites]


We'll see...
posted by AzzaMcKazza at 11:08 PM on November 20, 2011


Actually, no, the scene was just split up between the beginning and the end of the episode. Near the beginning, you see the last half of the line, later on you see the first half.

Really? That's not at all how I remember it, but I'll be on the lookout for this the next time I watch that episode.


We're talking about the Afternoon Delight/ Bluth office xmas party episode, right? Near the beginning, there's a part where there's a delivery guy wheeling in all the boxes of alcohol and GOB is yelling "COME ON!!". Later on in the episode, you find out all the alcohol came from Lucille's pantry and you end up seeing GOB talking about how much his suit costs (the price steadily escalates through the episode), but it cuts off before he says "COME ON!!!" like he does every other time he talks about the suit- the cut is right where the earlier part in the episode starts.
posted by LionIndex at 12:29 AM on November 21, 2011


If that's not the episode you're thinking of, then...I've made a huge mistake.
posted by LionIndex at 12:30 AM on November 21, 2011


Kind of sad people won't let pop culture die and move on to something new occasionally.

And yet it's many of the same folks who bemoan the culture of remaking every movie over and over again.
posted by xingcat at 4:31 AM on November 21, 2011


Next up, Firefly.
posted by jefeweiss at 5:29 AM on November 21, 2011


Firefly did get the movie, which was certainly a movie.
posted by smackfu at 6:32 AM on November 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


Netflix? Well, we won't get it over in Wee Britain, then. (I'm already irritated at a) nobody in the UK showing Parks and Rec b) the mini episodes on the website being denied to international viewers despite there being nowhere else for us to see the damned things...)

We don't even get Community, so I can't be upset about that. But! I hear we get 2 Broke Girls soon, so there's something.
posted by mippy at 7:24 AM on November 21, 2011


Wait, Harvey Korman was in an American remake of Fawlty Towers?

I think there was a period where everyone took turns in various attempted remakes of Fawlty Towers. Korman's stint was for a pilot which never aired; they also tried with Bea Arthur and John Larroquette.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:49 AM on November 21, 2011


Technically, isn't the show still on Fox?

I remember when it... stopped, I guess is the word. It never seemed to actually be officially cancelled because apparently nobody at Fox wanted to be "that guy that cancelled Arrested Development" for the rest of his career.

So they weren't ordering any new episodes, but neither were they killing the show. It just sort of hung there, making it nigh impossible for the cast members to take other work because who knew whether they'd get pulled back for more episodes at the most inconvenient time. IIRC, the producers themselves finally had to pull the plug from their end to get the cast members out from under the cloud of uncertainty hanging over their heads.
posted by Naberius at 8:27 AM on November 21, 2011


That would be a pretty crappy contract for the actors if they were under obligations but weren't getting paid for it. Once they didn't order the back-nine of the last season, it was very unlikely they were going to ever shoot another episode.
posted by smackfu at 8:57 AM on November 21, 2011


Yes, I think everybody knew the show was over, but if your actors are still even potentially under contract, you never know what's going to happen.

That's how Pierce Brosnan got screwed out of the Bond part the first time around. He was coming off Remington Steele, which was over. NBC wasn't going to renew the show for another season... until Brosnan was chosen to take over as Bond from Roger Moore. Then NBC suddenly was like, hey, we've got the new James Bond under contract, and exercised their option to make more Remington Steele episodes. They tried to make a deal with EON to work around their shooting schedule so he could do both, but EON didn't want to deal with it and dropped Brosnan in favor of Timothy Dalton.

And Brosnan then went back and phoned in like another six episodes of Remington Steele. Which made no sense because the show had been definitively ended the season before, all its plot strings wrapped up and neatly cut off. At least Brosnan eventually got his shot - and he was probably too young back then anyway, but still, god he must have been pissed off.
posted by Naberius at 9:04 AM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I wish I'd cancelled my Netflix subscription just so I could renew it due to this news to show them how happy I am.
posted by haveanicesummer at 9:06 AM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


He said the line so many times they started cutting to a new scene before he got to say the price.

That was their method of sneaking a "fucking" onto the show.


I just rewatched the suit episode with your comment in mind, and I still couldn't hear it.
posted by John Cohen at 1:08 PM on December 2, 2011


(He said the line so many times they started cutting to a new scene before he got to say the price.)

Actually, no, the scene was just split up between the beginning and the end of the episode. Near the beginning, you see the last half of the line, later on you see the first half.


Are you sure? As I said, I rewatched the episode and didn't see this.
posted by John Cohen at 1:09 PM on December 2, 2011


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