I was not a fan of Netflix’s fourth season of “Arrested Development,” the one they filmed to milk the afterlife popularity of the buoyant comedy, which was canceled by Fox in 2006, after three classic seasons. It was a forced, awkward set of 15 episodes that failed to conjure the show’s early magic, not least of all because the complicated shooting schedules kept the winning ensemble fractured.
So I can’t get too excited about the fact that Netflix has just renewed the series for a fifth season, which will be released in 2018. The only heartening aspect of the announcement is that all the Bluth family actors — Jason Bateman, Michael Cera, Jeffrey Tambor, Jessica Walter, Will Arnett, Tony Hale, Portia de Rossi, David Cross, and Alia Shawkat — will be filming together. “This time, the Bluths will collectively be spending more quality time with their millions of fans around the world,” Netflix’s chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, said in a statement.
Creator and executive producer Mitch Hurwitz is also back on board, and he released a statement filled with sly Donald Trump humor: “We all felt that stories about a narcissistic, erratically behaving family in the building business — and their desperate abuses of power — are really underrepresented on TV these days. I am so grateful to them and to 20th TV for making this dream of mine come true in bringing the Bluths, George Sr., Lucille and the kids; Michael, Ivanka, Don Jr., Eric, George-Michael, and who am I forgetting, oh Tiffany. Did I say Tiffany? — back to the glorious stream of life.”
Of course, Hurwitz was doing Trump jokes before Trump jokes were Trump jokes. In season four of “Arrested Development,” which was released in 2013, the Bluth company struggles to build a wall on the US-Mexican border.
Ron Howard will also return for season five, noting in a statement that he’s “Warming up my uncredited narrator vocal cords.”Matthew Gilbert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.