Netflix Is Abandoning The Best Comedy Series

All five seasons of Arrested Development are leaving Netflix on March 15.

By Jessica Scott | Updated

arrested development
Arrested Development

As if people needed another reason to be angry with Netflix after its recent announcement about a crackdown on password sharing, the streaming giant has now decided to jettison one of its “cornerstone” comedies, Arrested Development. According to What’s On Netflix, all five seasons of the offbeat series will be leaving Netflix on March 15.

Arrested Development has been one of Netflix’s core shows for the past decade, since the streaming platform brought the show back from the television graveyard. The show, which originally ran on Fox, followed the Bluth family’s weird, dysfunctional, reverse rags-to-riches family life after the family’s patriarch, George (Jeffrey Tambor), was put in jail. It starred Jason Bateman, Michael Cera, Tony Hale, Will Arnett, David Cross, and Portia de Rossi, most of whom went on to become big stars after Arrested Development was canceled after three seasons in 2006.

The show was a cult hit, though, and Netflix decided to take advantage of that by bringing it to the streaming platform in 2011, calling it a “Netflix Original Series” even though it really wasn’t one. Things did get a bit more original, though, when Netflix decided to create two new seasons of Arrested Development, which brought back most of the original actors … albeit not in a way that audiences liked. 

Netflix’s fourth season of Arrested Development saw the show shifting perspectives with every episode, because all the original actors were too busy filming other projects to actually, you know, be in the same room as one another to film a cohesive, sensical story. As one might expect, this was not the kind of series revival its devoted fans were looking for … but that didn’t stop Netflix from filming a fifth season as well.

Learning from its big mistake in Season 4, Netflix actually reunited almost all of the cast in Season 5 of Arrested Development in 2018, but the show was still plagued by drama and scandal. Portia de Rossi wasn’t on the show for much of the time, and Jeffrey Tambor was accused of sexual harassment on the set of his other show, Transparent.

There was also the drama of the Arrested Development actors demanding recompensation from Netflix for its re-release of the poorly received Season 4, which it restructured into a more linear format. So, the show was not really receiving the kind of press a comedy should merit.

Regardless, Netflix had remained loyal to the cult hit show. Now, though, Arrested Development is just one of many shows for which Netflix has decided not to renew the rights.

This certainly will not help the public’s opinion about the platform, as people are already up in arms about Netflix’s other cancellations and over-inflated efforts to shoehorn diversity into its shows at the cost of the story – not to mention its new no-shared-password policy. 

But, before everyone starts mourning yet another loss of Arrested Development, there may still be hope. It is possible that Hulu, which already owns non-exclusive rights to the first three seasons of the show, may also pick up the rights to Seasons 4 and 5 as well, enabling fans to watch the full series even without Netflix.