For months, Netflix has been making news for all the wrong reasons. First there was an enraging 60 percent price hike, then the ill-fated Qwikster rebrand, followed by the announcement of an 800,000 subscriber loss. But late Friday, the Netflix camp issued a rare bit of good news, announcing its deal with Twentieth Century Fox and Imagine Television to be the exclusive outlet of new episodes of Arrested Development. This is reportedly the first time a big studio will produce a TV series exclusively for the internet. The beloved, canceled comedy series about the disgraced and dysfunctional Bluth family is expected to return in 2013. Will it be enough to save Netflix?
Yes. This is a great move for Netflix: "Suddenly, a company that seemed to have lost all its cool [is] back," says Michael Humphrey at Forbes. Arrested Development is a "brilliant" show, and this exclusive content is an obvious draw for subscribers. In addition to the Arrested Development deal, Netflix also recently secured new content from MGM, ABC, and Kevin Smith. Customers may be "reluctant to make up" after Netflix's goof-ups, but if the company keeps snagging desirable TV shows and movies, subscribers may forgive and forget. In the end, "it's the content, stupid."
"Netflix halts its own arrested development with revival announcement"
But it might not be enough: Sure, the Arrested Development deal will give Netflix a minor boost, analyst Michael Pachter tells The Wall Street Journal. But don't forget: Netflix is already losing a lot of content when its deal with Starz expires early next year. Adding a single show won't make up for that.
"Netflix Cuts Deal to Revive Arrested Development"
And can Arrested Development be great again? "I'm cautiously optimistic," says Tim Surette at TV.com. I loved the first two seasons of Arrested Development. But the third was disappointing. In recent years, the show's creator, Mitch Hurwitz, has had plenty of misfires, like Sit Down, Shut Up and Running Wilde. "If Arrested Development does return, it's going to need Hurwitz to return to form, too." Otherwise, this deal might not be good for anyone.
"New Arrested Development episodes are coming to Netflix in 2013"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Syrian women know how to defeat ISIS
- The one thing the New Atheists get right about religion
- The U.S. Marines are developing laser weapons. Here's why.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Will Kobani be ISIS's Waterloo?
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- 5 baffling foreign-language versions of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song
- Why the Supreme Court is allowing Texas to hold an unconstitutional election
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
Subscribe to the Week