Friday, November 11, 2005

development has been arrested

Some shows are too good for regular television. "Arrested Development" is one of those shows. Somehow it has lasted longer than expected, yet the signs of its impending cancellation are still depressing.

Several of my favorite entertainment websites have been posting all day about the news that the episode order has been cut back and that the show was pulled from the November sweeps schedule. USA Today suggests checking last year's website for possible updates.
One of the comments on Entertainment Weekly's website makes the unusual suggestion that the producers continue filming shows and release the episodes direct to DVD. I'm hooked on the show and I would buy the discs. E! Online has a quote from Jason Bateman that says they still have five episodes to wrap up some story arcs.

Many bloggers (and TV critics) love "Arrested Development." A writer in Canada has some excellent observations including
"Arrested was a dense show. It moved fast and furiously, it didn't circle back and include you in."
"Arrested demanded that you follow, and that you know things, and that you were quick."
There's at least one online petition to save the show but I don't think it will make a difference. Fans have been venting their frustrations at the official Fox site message boards and the Balboa Observer-Picayune fan site boards.

In 1982, a show called "Police Squad" died a quick death on network TV. The show had no laugh track and many sight gags. If you watched the show passively, it made no sense. Regular sitcoms are still little more than radio with pictures that can be on in the background while you're doing something else. Somebody was smart enough to turn "Police Squad" into the very successful series of "Naked Gun" movies. The same sight gags and lack of a laugh track fit perfectly into the theatrical environment.

Would "Arrested Development" succeed as a movie? Or as an HBO original series? Or should we just be thankful for the episodes we have already received?
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Blogger Frank Strovel III said...

The reason shows like "Arrested Development" do not last long on network television was pointed out by the Canadian writer you quoted: "'Arrested' demanded that you follow, and that you know things, and that you were quick."

Unfortunately, that doesn't describe a great majority of television viewers. Obviously not enough to satisfy network executives and advertisers.


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