"Contractually, we couldn't use all the characters in every episode; they were not free to do as much television as they want," Hurwitz told USA Today. While the season's still scheduled to run 13-14 episodes (expanded from the original 10), "the show will look very different," more of a "very, very complex puzzle," with each episode focusing on a single character and only Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman) appearing in all of them. "We're not jumping from one thing to another; you're staying with one character... The bigger story is the family has fallen apart at the start of our show. They all went their own way, without Michael holding them together, so they're left to their own devices, and they're not the most successful devices."
The season's designed to lead into a movie, though that's not confirmed to happen. Henry Winkler, Liza Minnelli and other side characters will return, and Ron Howard and Brian Grazer will make appearances.
This new format, Hurwitz says, is designed for the binge-viewing experience that Netflix has been embracing with its first round of original programming -- Kevin Spacey and David Fincher's "House of Cards," which premieres on the site on February 1st, will be unveiled in its first season entirety. "Each individual (episode) kind of depicts what happens in 2006 as the Bluths fled from the law on the Queen Mary... If people watch it all at once, it will seem like a giant 'Arrested Development.' It's really tailored for Netflix," he said. The only full cast reassembling will happen in the last episode: "You don't see them all together until you see the movie."
We'll have more on the resurrected series after today's panel.