It's not an illllllllusion, Michael. "Arrested Development" returns May 26 on Netflix, with an extra episode to boot.
The streaming service has confirmed the return date for the cult classic that follows the dysfunctional Bluth family, which was canceled by Fox in 2006. The show's Facebook page posted a teaser photo this morning, also verifying its debut date.
Releasing the show on Netflix, a service that recently stepped into the TV game with its own "House of Cards," is a new avenue for a program that had a three-season run on network television. Ted Sarandos, the chief content officer of Netflix, said in a statement that the move is "crafted for the on-demand generation that has come to discover the show in the years since it last appeared on TV."
Netflix originally committed to 10 episodes last fall before bumping that total up to 14 in January. Now, it says 15 episodes will be released simultaneously at 12:01 a.m. Pacific time on May 26. So if you want to host an all-night watching party, get planning. Just make sure to have plenty of juice, Buster Bluth-style.
With the full cast intact and guest appearances by Ben Stiller, Kristin Wiig, and more, the fourth season will hopefully serve as a prequel to a movie, according to Entertainment Weekly. "Arrested Development" creator Mitchell Hurwitz said each episode will focus on a particular character, while series star Jason Bateman elaborated on the way this season will tie into a film in a GQ interview last month.
"There are many, many questions that these episodes ask that only the movie will answer. And there are many stories where the loop is closed inside the episodes. But the overall story, the bigger story, once you see the movie you will see that 'Oh, this story started with those fourteen episodes,' because the action in these 14 episodes happens simultaneously ... And the action across the episodes is happening simultaneously. If I'm driving down the street in my episode and Gob's going down the sidewalk on his Segway, you could stop my episode, go into his episode, and follow him and see where he's going."
Unfortunately, Globe television critic Matthew Gilbert didn't sound too thrilled about the show's impending release during his chat last week. In response to a reader question about "Arrested Development," Gilbert said, "Netflix hasn't let critics see any of it ... I'm really really wary of it, to be honest. Not a big fan of revisiting the source. Reboots often suck."
But what do you think? Are you excited for the show's return? What do you think will happen? Will you host or attend a viewing party? Tell us in the comments.
About Viewer Discretion
ContributorsKatie McLeod is Boston.com's features editor.
Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at Boston.com.
Emily Wright is an Arts & Entertainment producer at Boston.com.
Sarah Rodman is a TV and music critic for the Boston Globe.
Meghan Colloton is a Things to Do and Arts & Entertainment producer at Boston.com.
Michael Brodeur is the assistant arts editor for the Boston Globe, covering pop music, TV, and nightlife.