While Netflix’s original programming release schedule may never resemble the way television has traditionally doled things out, their approach towards creating content is slowly following in TV’s footsteps. Case in point: the streaming giant signed a multi-year deal with writer-producer Mitch Hurwitz, best known for creating the cult masterpiece Arrested Development, a series I’d like to take the rest of this article to talk about but can’t properly justify that behavior. Seriously though, is this what has to happen to get Season 5 in production?
There’s a chance Hurwitz may not even have time to get into that, at least right away, as Deadline reports he and his banner The Hurwitz Company will officially be creating and producing new comedies for Netflix for at least the next two years. It won’t only be inside jobs though, as Hurwitz will be looking to develop series with other creators in a non-writing capacity, though he would still be an executive producer and consultant.
This is a case of two factions understanding the huge potential embedded in collaboration. Hurwitz and Netflix first worked together in bringing fans Arrested Development’s long-awaited Season 4, which suffered in part due to the ensemble cast’s scheduling issues, but was still an amazingly dense and darkly hilarious season of television; and one that brought a ton of new subscribers to the service. Hurwitz has been very positive about the experience, commending Netflix’s pioneering ways.
“It is incredibly inspiring to get to produce for Netflix,” Hurwitz told Deadline, “a company that not only doesn’t resist change but is leaps and bounds ahead of everyone in forging it. The fact that I’m also getting one month of their streaming right to my TV or Xbox free…well, it really takes the sting out of buying that Xbox.”
Always the jester, Hurwitz will hopefully carve out a comedic niche that Netflix hasn’t quite nailed down yet. Their upcoming comedy slate is limited to the next two seasons of the riotous Canadian series Trailer Park Boys and Marta Kaufman’s Grace and Frankie, with Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin starring. It’ll take some pretty hilarious content to compete with flagship programs like Orange is the New Black and House of Cards, and if we’re talking the future, Marvel’s four upcoming series and the Wachowski’s Sense8 are bound to be certifiable buzz-nabbers. Not that Netflix needs to be tonally balanced to succeed, obviously, but it’s easy to greedily want their quality control attributed to all genres.
So what will Hurwitz bring to the table? His pre-A.D. credits go back to writing for The Golden Girls and The John Larroquette Show, along with creating The Ellen Show and several short-lived Fox comedies. He’s got good connections all around, as even his limited acting gigs were for quality series like Community and Workaholics. Catch him as the motivationally motivated Cool Eric below.
One of the undeveloped holy grails of TV comedy in the last decade was 2007’s The Thick of It pilot adaptation that Hurwitz wrote with frequent collaborator Richard Day, with Spinal Tap’s Christopher Guest directing. Granted, The Thick of It creator Armando Iannucci successfully Americanized his own format with HBO’s future classic Veep, but I’d be interested to see Hurwitz bring that concept back in some capacity.
And of course, there’s always another season of Arrested Development, which I don’t think we’ve talked about yet.