“Arrested Development” fans anxiously waiting for Season 5 may be in for a bonus treat: A complete remix of 2013’s Season 4 now exists.
“Arrested” creator Mitch Hurwitz has gone in and totally re-cut the show’s inaugural Netflix season, something that has been hinted at in the past – but is now done. Originally produced as 15 episodes of varying time lengths (between 31 minutes and 38 minutes), the new edit is now more like a traditional TV season, made up of 22 episodes at 22 minutes each.
Besides the length change, Hurwitz re-edited the show to put all of the show’s characters in each episode. Originally, each episode of Season 4 mostly focused on an individual character’s journey.
“It really works!” Hurwitz said. “It’s totally different storytelling with all of these millions of pieces.”
Hurwitz took on the challenge after he was told that Season 4’s 15 episodes would be brutally cut down in case the show went into syndication. The writer/executive producer was horrified at the thought of someone coming in and slicing up the show without knowing how the pieces fit.
“So I did this very ambitious thing where I made these Excel sheets with every single scene and how long it was in seconds,” he said. “I put them all on magnetic paper, cut them up into squares, and that sat there and moved the pieces around. And then we made a narrative out of it. It was a crazy experiment!”
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Hurwitz, who’s already busy as an executive producer on Netflix’s “Lady Dynamite,” took on the “Arrested” re-edit at night. The episodes were re-mixed, and narrator Ron Howard (also an executive producer) even recorded an entire new set of voice-overs for the new version.
“It took a huge amount of time,” he said. “The editing was not as hard as the planning of it, and moving these pieces around.”
In the new Season 4 cut, the show starts with the murder of Lucille 2 (Liza Minnelli). “I didn’t want to get to the end and have everyone pissed off that we didn’t solve it. Now it’s like, something happens to Liza Minnelli,” he said. “The narrative is not the same, it’s not about one character. It was about finding thematic connections.”
Right now, Hurwitz’s new edit is sitting on a shelf. “But I’m hoping if we can get all the pieces in place to do another season, then we can show those episodes on Netflix,” he said.
For critics who found Season 4 disjointed, Hurwitz said the new cut “is much easier. For the average person who didn’t know anything about the show, it makes such a difference. A 36-minute episode vs. a 22-minute episode, even if you’re watching them back-to-back, it just skips along… I hope somebody gets to see it!”