Arrested Development Creator Mitch Hurwitz on Early Reactions to Season 4
Will Arnett and Jason Bateman | Photo Credits: Michael Yarish/Netflix
Two weeks after he locked the final cut of Netflix's Arrested Development revival, show creator Mitch Hurwitz is catching up on TV, traveling to New York and checking social media to gauge the reaction to the fruits of two years of labor. "Right now my hope is that the people who are interested in the Bluth family give the show a try," he says of the new episodes, which each focus on a different character yet are intertwined.
The 15 Arrested episodes were released simultaneously on May 26. Fan reaction has been decent, but critics were mixed, with some of those negative reviews reportedly hurting Netflix's stock price (although anticipation for the show previously helped boost the streaming service's stock).
Hurwitz tweeted on May 28 that critics were "resisting change." But in a lengthy chat last week with TV Guide Magazine, he clarified what he meant, and also discussed his future plans for the show. Hurwitz even addressed Internet chatter about star Portia de Rossi's appearance. An edited transcript follows.
TV Guide Magazine: What do you make of the reaction so far?
Hurwitz: Early on, I remember thinking, fans are looking so forward to this and after 15 episodes it's going to be over for them. That's what motivated me to keep layering and layering. The audience may watch it once, and like it or dislike it. Or they may want to watch it a lot and have fun digging out all of the subtext and connections. It seemed like fun to use the new medium as something people can play with. Like an Arrested Development toy.
TV Guide Magazine: Were you taken aback by some of the critics' reactions?
Hurwitz: I wasn't taken aback at all. I wrote a tweet that I immediately thought, well, if I had a couple more characters, I would have used the word "some critics." I was surprised at that first review. We got off to a bad start with that bad review. Most have been positive. And all criticism is valid. Like anybody, I'd like to have 100 percent love all the time. But it's not realistic. I'm so flattered and grateful that so many people have found it and are so outspoken in their support of it. It wouldn't be interesting for me or the cast to make another episode like we used to. That was the joy of this.
TV Guide Magazine: Why was it important to stress that viewers should watch the 15 episodes in order?
Hurwitz: Like any story, there is a beginning, a middle and an end. I ended up trying to have all the episodes happen at the same time, but have the Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman) story progress throughout them. That's what gets really confusing if you see them out of order. The original idea was actually much less ambitious. It was to just do webisodes that focused one at a time on each character. And then it grew to this idea of doing one giant, eight-hour episode of Arrested Development.
TV Guide Magazine: What's the story behind the ostriches?
Hurwitz: There's a lot in this show that not only refers to later episodes but that also refer to a future story. A lot of what we were doing was setting up a future for this world. I would put the ostriches in that camp.
TV Guide Magazine: Does that mean another batch of episodes to come?
Hurwitz: It was important to me that I had a story behind this one that we built to. Whether that ever becomes a feature or a puppet show or a graphic novel or a needlepoint pattern, I'm not sure. A lot of things [this season] make sense when you rewatch it. Then there are other things that are just set up for something in the future. And then there are other things that are probably just bad writing.