In what’s becoming a common trend these days, Netflix has given its new comedy a two-season go-ahead. “Love,” from Apatow Productions and Legendary Television, has been picked up by the streaming giant for a 10-episode first season and a 12-episode second season. The first will air in 2016 with the second coming, as expected, a year later.
Gillian Jacobs is attached to star in the new comedy, but don’t worry “Community” fans — she’s still on board for all 13 episodes of the upcoming sixth season. Her co-star in “Love” will be Paul Rust of “I Love You, Beth Cooper” and “Inglourious Basterds” pseudo-fame. Rust will be playing Gus, who becomes involved with Jacobs’ Mickey, even though neither was looking for a romantic relationship.
Even more enticing than the likable cast is the production and writing team assembled by the powerful Judd Apatow. The director and writer of “The 40 Year Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up” is one of “Love’s” three creators, the other two being Rust and Lesley Arfin. Rust served as a story editor on the fourth season of “Arrested Development” in addition to his many credits as an actor, while Arfin worked as a staff writer on “Girls” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (she’s also credited with writing one episode).
Joining the three creators in the role of executive producer is Brent Forrester, who’s written episodes of “The Office” and “The Simpsons,” in addition to producing those shows as well as “King of the Hill.”
Apatow has worked in television before, famously producing “The Larry Sanders Show,” “Freaks and Geeks” and “Girls” among other projects early in his career (“The Critic,” “The Ben Stiller Show”). He’s also written a handful of episodes for each series, but the new deal with Netflix offers Leslie Mann’s husband a new opportunity — and an exciting one for his many fans.
Apatow is often criticized for being a bit long-winded with his films, usually extending them for more than two hours when traditional comedies are closer to 90 minutes. But his fans love it, believing more comedy is always better than less, and it’s a practice that served him well creatively and financially early in his career.
Later, as Apatow delved into more dramatic territory with “Funny People” and “This Is 40,” the structuring fell apart, as the many jokes didn’t balance out with the darker elements on screen. His work in television has been limited to strict time restrictions, forcing him to keep his comedy to 30 minutes or less. At Netflix, there are no such guidelines. While labeled a half-hour comedy, the network has been known to give leeway to creators with more ideas than can fit into the limited time suggested.
“Arrested Development” is a key example, not only for its lengthy episodes but also when you consider co-creator Rust’s work on the Netflix-hosted fourth season. It, too, faced more criticism than its earlier seasons — so can Rust and Apatow find the right balance for their new comedy, or will it mark another failed experiment in time? We won’t find out until 2016, but you can bet fans of Apatow, Rust, Netflix and experimentation in general will be waiting with great anticipation.