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Despite over half of its run being considered upper-echelon TV comedy, Arrested Development hasn't had the most successful go at it since returning for Netflix audiences in 2013. In fact, Arrested Development almost appeared destined to not return for Season 5, what with scheduling difficulties and multiple off-set controversies. Now, star David Cross claims the remaining episodes will very likely be the show's final installments. In his words:
I've learned to say 'Never say never,' but I can't see it happening again, I just don't. I think, for a number of reasons.
Stand-up comedian David Cross obviously can't speak for the entirety of Netflix and/or the rest of his Arrested Development cast members. If he's not optimistic about Season 6's chances, though, then diehard fans should probably take that to be as close to gospel as possible. Cross was one of the stars who talked the most about getting everyone back for Season 5.
Considering the size and popularity of Arrested Development's main cast, it's a wonder the show managed to ever come back. (And Season 4's standalone nature had many professing it shouldn't have.) It was the stars' love of the material played a large part in bringing everyone together to make it happen at Netflix, and not just once, but twice.
Of course, that was all prior to the two incidents that nearly torpedoed Season 5. For one, Jeffrey Tambor was mired in sexual harassment accusations on his Amazon comedy Transparent, which he got fired from, though no criminal charges were ever brought against him. Then there was that wildly revealing New York Times interview, in which Tambor's domineering behavior on the comedy's set came to light. (Particularly his treatment of co-star Jessica Walter.)
It's always possible that Arrested Development's fandom could prove to all involved that Season 6 would be a necessarily welcomed addition to Netflix's lineup, but I wouldn't put the Bluth family's checkbook on it happening. For what it's worth, Season 5 was viewed as far more accessible and genuinely funny than Season 4. As well, the remixed and extended iteration of the fourth season did wonders to turn skeptical fans around. So the interest is there.
It may come down to what the responses are like after the back half of Season 5 gets released. Netflix hasn't put an official premiere date on it, but David Cross told the Late Night with Seth Meyers podcast that the next eight episodes could arrive when 2019 rolls around.
I believe at the beginning of the new year that they'll show the next 8, as I understand it.
David Cross also worked with Netflix for the excellent limited series W/ Bob & David, which brought together the old Mr. Show cast and crew for more sketch comedy fun. He also released his 2016 stand-up comedy special David Cross: Making America Great Again! on the streaming platform. So even if Arrested Development truly does go away soon, Cross probably won't be done with Netflix forever.
Remember to mark those calendars (in blue, of course) for Early-ish 2019, when Arrested Development will return to Netflix for the second half of Season 5. While waiting to hear more about this being the final season or not, keep current with everything else hitting Netflix in 2018, as well as all the great shows yet to premiere elsewhere this fall.