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The Bluths have come together again, thanks to some cutting and pasting by Mitch Hurwitz.
According to Indiewire, Hurwitz has completely re-cut season 4 of his critically acclaimed comedy series Arrested Development. Hurwitz has cut season 4’s 15 episodes of varying lengths into a more network friendly 22 episodes with each episode running about 22 minutes long.
Hurwitz started this pet project when he discovered that season 4’s episodes would be cut down dramatically if the season ever aired in syndication (which seems odd for a Netflix show). Hurwitz, like any creator, did not want to risk people seeing the season in a cut down, incomprehensible form, so he decided to tackle the problem himself. The process involved late-night editing, re-mixing and even involved bringing Ron Howard back to record brand new voice-overs for the re-cut episodes.
“So I did this very ambitious thing where I made these Excel sheets with every single scene and how long it was in seconds,” said Hurwitz. “I put them all on magnetic paper, cut them up into squares and that sat there and moved the pieces around. And then we made a narrative out of it. It was a crazy experiment! It took a huge amount of time. The editing was not as hard as the planning of it, and moving these pieces around.”
A major criticism of the Netflix exclusive season 4 was how each episode focused on individual characters rather than the dysfunctional family interacting with each other. This approach was mainly due to the difficult schedule of the highly in-demand cast. Hurwitz’s new cut of season 4 addresses this issue, putting all of the Bluths together in each episode.
“It really works!” Hurwitz said. “It’s totally different storytelling with all of these millions of pieces.”
Hurwitz also added that this new cut alters the narrative of season 4. The most notable change Hurwitz revealed was that season 4 now starts with the apparent murder of Liza Minnelli’s Lucille 2, which originally occurred in season 4’s tenth episode.
“I didn’t want to get to the end and have everyone pissed off that we didn’t solve it,” he said. “Now it’s like, something happens to Liza Minnelli. The narrative is not the same, it’s not about one character. It was about finding thematic connections.”
Though Hurwitz’s new version sounds exciting and any excuse to watch more Arrested Development is welcome, the fate of this new season 4 is up in the air.
“But I’m hoping if we can get all the pieces in place to do another season, then we can show those episodes on Netflix,” said Hurwitz. “For the average person who didn’t know anything about the show, it makes such a difference. A 36-minute episode vs. a 22-minute episode, even if you’re watching them back-to-back, it just skips along…I hope somebody gets to see it!”
Hopefully the new cut of season 4 will be made available sometime before the eventual season 5.