When Netflix brought back Arrested Development for a fourth season in 2013, it looked different. Each of its 15 episodes focused on a different character, ran just over half an hour, and took place at roughly the same time. It was a move that divided critics and audiences. Now the show's creator Mitch Hurwitz has finished an ambitious project: recut the entire season so that plays out more like a traditional television season.
The edit turned the 15, 30-minute episodes into 22, 20-minute episodes
Hurwitz said in 2014 that he had begun work on the project, which would turn its 15, 30-minute episodes into 22, 20-minute episodes. The edits would put change the pace of the story to better fit with the previous seasons. According to IndieWire, one of the motivating factors was the potential for the show to go into syndication, which would mean require extensive editing to make the show fit in a regular network schedule. Hurwitz reportedly didn't want to leave that project in the hands of others, and took on the editing himself.
Speaking at the Television Critics Association, Hurwitz said that putting together the new edit was extremely complicated. It required him to plot out every scene down to the second, and shuffle them around until he was able to assemble a cohesive narrative. To complete the project, Ron Howard, one of the executive producers and narrator for the show, recorded a new set of voice-overs to accompany the new season.
Hurtitz wasn’t sure what the next steps were for his project, but he hoped that audiences would get to see it before too long. During the TCA panel, he expressed a hope that it would be available if they were able to put together a new season, which has been rumored to begin filming in 2017.