How do you make people simultaneously love you, while reminding them how much they hate your competitors? In the case of Netflix, the answer is clear: revive a critically beloved show that a network carelessly killed.
Obviously I’m referring to Arrested Development, which is coming back for a shortened fourth season this summer, fully funded by Netflix, after the show has been off the air since 2006.
Every major character is returning, in addition to the writers and creators that accompanied the show the first time around. Obviously we’ll have to wait and see how it actually turns out, but at this point even if it’s a letdown, Netflix is clearly the good guy here for giving them the opportunity.
But what will they do next? After House of Cards and Arrested, what’s their next plan to keep socking it to cable? Well, I bet they’ll do at least one more original show, and another season of House of Cards, but past that, I have their answer.
It’s time for resurrect Firefly.
Saying that almost makes me cringe, lest I sound like a fanboy who pines away his nights crying into his Mal Reynolds bodypillow, but with the frankensteining of Arrested Development, anything really does seem possible right now.
Obviously, it would be difficult. The vast majority of the actors are series regulars or stars on one show or another. Nathan Fillion has Castle, Morena Baccarin has Homeland and of course Joss Whedon has to devote a huge chunk of his life now to ensuring the continued profitability of The Avengers until god knows when.
But they want to make it, they really do. Here’s Fillion talking about it as recently as this week:
“We talk about it, we dream about it. I don’t think you could find a cast member, a writer, a director, any of the crew who’d say, ‘No, I’m out,'” Fillion admitted of “Firefly.” “People are pretty busy right now, Alan [Tudyk] is always working, and obviously Joss is pretty busy. But that would be something that I would do again in a heartbeat. There’s something about ‘Firefly’ — it was my first love. So if you get a chance to go back to your very first love, you’ll do it, right?”
“I’ll never really accept [that it ended]. And I always, in the back of my head, think, ‘What if I could get the old gang back together? … It’s something I would love to do.”
Now, Netflix has a model that could allow them the ability to do exactly what they want. The company is smart enough to recognize an opportunity to please a long-slighted fanbase. They’re doing it with Arrested, which will win them millions of fans (and more importantly, subscriptions), and they could do the same with Firefly.
As with Arrested, the show could be something of a miniseries. We don’t need eight more seasons of Firefly (though that could be great), but starting things out with a 10 or 12 episode order would be good enough for fans.
Yes, it’s in space, but the special effects back when the show was on Fox were pretty decent even when there was a tight budget. They would be ten times as good all these years later, and likely still wouldn’t be that pricey. And to be honest, we’re not tuning in for the epic space battles, meaning there really wouldn’t have to be all that much CGI at all, so long as good stories were being told.
As for series continuity? Well, either you could ret-con the end of Serenity and bring a few deceased characters back to life, or you could simply set the series between the events of the end of the show, and those of the movie. There’s a gap there that could be filled with untold adventures, but honestly, I wouldn’t even really care all that much about a ret-con at this stage. “You died!” “I got better.” Fans would roll with it, if it meant their cast could remain intact.
I think this would be an opportunity for Netflix to win even more fans that it already has, and prove that they respect good television when the networks won’t. Yes, it would be an immense challenge to execute, but so was a new season of Arrested Development, yet here we are. Arrested and Firefly are perhaps the two most beloved “killed too soon” shows in existence, and if they could resurrect both of them? That would be an achievement worthy of a cable-slayer.
What do you think? Am I crazy to think this is possible or do you agree this could work?