The New Arrested Development Is Awesome
There are many problems with the new, Netflix-exclusive run of Arrested Development. It can be heavy on the exposition. The ensemble comedy that drove the earlier seasons is absent in favor of character sketches. It’s less funny and can sometimes be painfully awkward. The episodes are often too long. There are many problems of a pretty mundane level. But still…
The narrative complexity is something that’s never really been done on a TV show. Every episode builds towards a single conclusion, the Newport Beach celebration of “Cinqo de Quatro” and is successively seen from different perspectives that reveal more and more of the actual events. Not only has there never been anything like it, I’m not sure that there could be anything like it on TV. Certainly it could never span multiple seasons, because the producers would (reasonably) be too worried about the show being canceled. Even within a single season, this sort of complexity would be too complicated for viewers to try to follow if they weren’t watching every single episode. In other words, it’s only suitable for time-shifted viewing.
The postmodern narrative revolution of the mid-to-late 20th Century has finally come to television!