At first there were only going to be 13 episodes in Netflix's Arrested Development revival. Then 13 became 14, and now, as showrunner/creator/funny merchant Mitch Hurwitz explains himself in the show's official press release, there will be 15 new Arrested Development episodes, and you'll be able to watch them come 12:01 AM PDT May 26 - or, in UK time, 8:01 AM GMT.
A statement from Netflix chief Ted Sarandos says that AD is being shown in “a brand-new way, crafted for the on-demand generation that has come to discover the show in the years since it last appeared on TV.” He added, “The highly anticipated return of this show is sure to make history all over again.”
Mr. Hurwitz said in another statement that Mr. Sarandos was “going to be immensely disappointed.” “In truth we are doing something very ambitious that can only be done with Netflix as partners and on their platform. Finally my simple wish for the show is coming true: that it be broadcast every second around the clock to every television, computer or mobile device in existence.”
This is in reference to how the show will work, as all 15 character-driven episodes will be released together on Netflix and will fit together concurrently, with viewers being able to jump from episode to episode in a sort of real-time. The show's star, Jason Bateman, explained it this way in a recent episode of the Empire Podcast:
"It will be extremely complicated for the viewers," said Bateman, his tongue firmly in his cheek. "14 episodes, all separate, with each character getting their own episode, but all the action happens simultaneously. So you can stop my episode at the very moment that, say, Gob rides by on his Segway and then click into his episode and follow him."
"I don’t know how Mitchell Hurwitz wrote it, shot it or scheduled it, I don’t know how he’s editing it but it’ll be amazing. I think. And it’s only the first third of a three part story; the second two parts will be in the movie. So this is the first act, and the movie is act two and three. They’re all just asking questions that the movie itself will answer."
The film itself is not confirmed, but we've got everything crossed - as, most likely, do the rest of the cast, which also includes Will Arnett, Portia de Rossi, Michael Cera, David Cross, Jessica Walter, Tony Hale, Jeffrey Tambor and Alia Shawkat - that after May 26 the show'll be so popular it has to get a move follow-up.
Have a listen to the podcast interview with Jason Bateman below - it starts at 18.03 or so - and be sure to mark May 26 in your Netflix-emblazoned diaries... now. Also, check out this Arrested Development webchat transcript featuring Will Arnett and Mitch Hurwitz as soon as is physically possible.
Update: In a move that'll make Arrested Development fans very happy, Netflix's marketing team have made these prop-based AD2013 posters, boasting everything from Buster's beloved grape juice to, um, a banana.