Okay time for a bit of controversy here on the site!

As you’ve no doubt read over the last couple of days, cult comedy Arrested Development is about to get a second chance at success, courtesy of Netflix who’ve just agreed to finance an unspecified number of episodes of the show, leading up to a proposed feature film. Commentators all over the web are cock a hoop at the news. But am I the only person who thinks Arrested Development should have stayed canceled?

So here’s the deal – I just never found Arrested Development funny. And trust me – I really, really wanted to. I gave the show multiple chances and it just never made me laugh – not once. And the thing is I really like Jason Bateman and Portia De Rossi and don’t even mind Michael Cera in small doses even though he plays the same role in every project he’s involved in. But for me Development was always so knowing and so smug in its cleverness that it left me cold. I just can’t get into shows that wear their cult appeal on their sleeve and seem to make a distinct effort to ward off mass audiences as I recently discussed here on the site. I call it comedy snobbery – and it’s the same off-putting pretension that infects shows like Community, Parks And Recreation and Flight Of The Conchords.

And let’s be honest here, Arrested Development had plenty of chances to succeed. Fox bent over backwards for the show, giving the series 3 seasons on the air – and still the show couldn’t attract a sizeable audience. It’s like Chuck, Fringe, Community, etc – all shows that have had more than their fair share of network goodwill and still stunk up the ratings. Fans of the shows bewail their low ratings, complaining that (American) audiences are just too stupid to understand their beloved shows. And sure – when shows like Keeping Up With The Kardashians and Real Housewives score record ratings there is some validity to that theory. But there are also plenty of smart shows out there that attract big audiences – take Modern Family for example – probably the biggest comedy hit of today and no one’s idea of a dumb show.


Here’s what will happen when the proposed Netflix deal and movie go ahead. The Netflix deal will likely ‿break records’ for downloaded shows, based on a whole host of complicated criteria that won’t make sense to anyone but the financial whizzes at Netflix and which are ultimately pretty meaningless. And then the movie will come out and it will top out at $30 million domestic and even less overseas where Arrested Development means nothing. And that will be the end of the Development comeback. Don’t believe me – just check out the box office grosses for similarly ‿cult’ movies like Serenity ($25 million) and Scott Pilgrim Versus The World ($31 million). And I promise you if Chuck or Flight Of The Conchords ever get turned into movies we’ll see the same results. Cult is cult for a reason.

Okay so I’m not an Arrested Development but if you are then the Netflix deal is great news. And if you do like the show obviously that’s totally cool. Different people like different shows – which is how it should be – and my verdict on the show is obviously just my opinion. But one of the things I often rally against here on the site is comedy snobbery. So enjoy Arrested Development but please don’t tell me it’s a work of genius and anyone who doesn’t ‿get it’ is a humorless fool. And don’t think this is a revival for the show. It’s more like a last gasp…

But what do you think? Are you an Arrested Development fan? If so – what am I missing? And do you think there’s a vein of comedy snobbery out there when it comes to cult shows? Comment away…