Netflix's Arrested a 'Breakthrough'

Alyssa Rosenberg is excited about the storytelling potential Netflix offers

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 11, 2013 11:17 AM CST

(Newser) – Netflix's new season of Arrested Development, which will hit in May, could be a massive breakthrough for the service—and not (just) because we're all eager to see the Bluths again. At the Television Critics Association press tour, creator Mitch Hurwitz revealed that this batch of episodes, each focusing on a different character, could be watched in any order, with events becoming clearer as viewers watched more episodes. That's a bombshell, writes Alyssa Rosenberg at Think Progress, because until now, TV has fundamentally been a linear medium.

Netflix is uniquely suited to change that, because it releases episodes all at once, and doesn't need to hang on to viewers week-to-week for advertising purposes. Episodes will also vary in length a little, something Netflix could be much more daring with (imagine a 37-minute episode followed by a 2-hour one) than even HBO. "Up until these announcements, it's really seemed like Netflix was simply chasing broadcast television," Rosenberg writes. Now, she's wondering how some episodic books—World War Z for example—might look as Netflix series, "a thought that has literally never occurred to me about any material before." Read her full column.

A promo image for the new season of Arrested Development.
A promo image for the new season of Arrested Development.   (c) 2005-2006 Fox and its related entities. All rights reserved)
In this undated publicity photo originally released by Fox, Jason bateman, center, and Michael Cera, right, are shown in a scene from the TV series Arrested Development.
In this undated publicity photo originally released by Fox, Jason bateman, center, and Michael Cera, right, are shown in a scene from the TV series "Arrested Development."   (AP Photo/Fox, Sam Urdank)
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If the network can make its bones by truly taking advantage of the things that make it different from the networks and cable, then it might be able to truly make itself a destination for creators and viewers. - Alyssa Rosenberg

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