Arrested Development's quiet return shows how much the TV landscape has changed in five years
The controversy over Jeffrey Tambor's behavior may have played a role in the lack of buzz for Season 5 of the Netflix series. But the revival-heavy TV landscape that Arrested Development helped usher in five years ago may have also played a role in its muted return, says Keith Phipps. "Now, Arrested Development has returned to the TV world that its fourth season helped create, but it doesn’t seem to be creating much of a stir in that world," he says. The cast's disastrous New York Times interview, says Phipps, "undoubtedly helped squelch enthusiasm for the show’s return and cooled goodwill toward the cast members who defended him. But even without it, the premiere of new Arrested Development episodes in 2018 isn’t the event it was in 2013, for reasons beyond the show itself. Given the splintering of the TV landscape, the sheer number of familiar properties being adapted or rebooted, and the intense marketing that goes into turning streaming-service fare into appointment viewing, the premiere of virtually any TV show in 2018 can’t be the event it was in 2013. Even the shows that can unite a fractured viewership are either scheduled to end soon (Game of Thrones) or engaged in a seemingly irreversible decline (The Walking Dead). There’s more great TV than ever right now, but the medium is moving at warp speed. There’s more to watch than ever before, and more that’s worth watching, but unless a given show makes a splash on social media or earns a vocal fandom willing to stump for it, it’s hard to see the impact of any new arrival."
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