Amazingly, more than two years have passed since Netflix revived Arrested Development. What had been a cult classic TV comedy reached such a wide audience on the streaming site that a fourth season was greenlit a whole 8 years after the third, making AD, along with Breaking Bad, one of the first series to demonstrate the power of a Netflix deal.
Don't get me wrong: I love Arrested Development, and spending time in the company of the Bluth family - Buster and his social anxiety, Gob in all of his smug glory, Michael despairing at everybody around him whilst Lucille finds solace in a cocktail or five - is always a pleasure.
But season 4 wasn't quite right. The structure (an episode for each family member) was weird and meant that the whole family rarely appeared on screen together. Jason Bateman (Michael) agreed, telling Marc Maron's WTF Podcast earlier this year:
Whatever went wrong with season 4, there's probably not much point in speculating too much - instead, let's look to season 5 (or "Act Two" of the new trilogy). Netflix confirmed back in July that "It is our intent to have a new season of Arrested Development. All the negotiations are underway."
With that in mind, I thought it would be fun to consider three ways in which Arrested Development could be raised from the dead once again and given a fresh twist.
(Warning: season 4 spoilers ahead. If you haven't watched it yet, have a strong word with yourself and then go and fire up the Netflix.)
1. Noir murder mystery
You probably remember that season 4 closed with the murder of Lucille 2 (Liza Minnelli), who was found bleeding out at the foot of the Bluth staircase, and Buster's subsequent arrest for the crime, bringing the show full circle, right back to George Bluth Sr.'s arrest for fraud in the very first episode.
Is Buster really capable of murder, though? Buster, who in one of season one's funniest episodes has a claustrophobic episode in the copy room? Buster, from whom Lucille has to hide the juice?!
What better way for Arrested Development to solve this mystery than to parody classic noir and have Michael turn all hard-boiled detective on us, investigating his family from within? Bright light and dark shadows, brooding voiceovers and a lot of people smoking, with Lindsay in the role of the femme fatale. Sounds like a killer reinvention, right?
2. An Archer crossover
If Lucille is your favourite Bluth then you'll probably know that Jessica Walter also voices another nightmare mom, that of Sterling Malory Archer in the animated spy satire Archer. Considering that show is one of the very few on TV as outrageously funny as Arrested Development, a crossover could be the stuff of dreams. Evidence the following "Malory vs Lucille" video...
Look, don't ask me how this crossover would work, given that one show is animated and one, well, isn't. Do I look like I have all the answers? Then again, Archer given a live-action makeover could be the very greatest thing ever.
3. 'Doing a Blackadder'
This series is already completely batshit, so why not throw everything at the kitchen sink and drag the Bluths back a few centuries in time, a la Blackadder? This season 4 promo pic is proof that it would be insanely awesome.
How would Maeby cope without her phone? Would George Michael have to ride on horseback to get to the banana stand? What would happen to Lindsay's beauty regimes?! Introduce Shakespeare to write a tragedy in which Tobias is to play the lead role and you have yourself an epic 16th century throwback.
You might think these suggestions suck. And perhaps they do. But whilst we're waiting around for Netflix to get a move on, what else is a fan to do?
What do you want to see from season 5 of Arrested Development?