The future of Arrested Development’s Netflix tenure remains in question after a number of conflicting reports, though series lead Jason Bateman has an idea as to why the first Netflix revival proved so notably “underwhelming.” Could a change in promotion from Arrested Development “Season 5” better sell the inevitable return?

It’s oft been observed that the unique structure of Arrested Development Season 4 worked in a larger, more mosaic sense, but made for less satisfying individual episodes overall, particularly given the complicated scheduling (and in some cases green-screening) required to place cast members together. And where the finale clearly set up additional story to come, whether by a fifth season or a filmic wrap-up, Jason Bateman spoke to Marc Maron on his WTF podcast of a more specific problem, billing the Netflix episodes as “Season 4” to begin with (h/t UPROXX)

[The episodes] were meant to be the first act of a three-act story that [creator Mitch Hurwitz] had in his head. And the second two acts … are still yet to be told. He thought it would be fun to do the first act in some episodes. And that’s what that was, but Netflix called it ‘season four,’ which was a little disingenuous because it implied that the show was coming back.

And that’s not what the show was, because each episode was about an individual character, and I think it was a little confusing and frankly underwhelming for the audience. That was unfortunate. It wasn’t branded honestly. Or correctly, I should say.

Bateman’s position isn’t an entirely new one, the actor having said back in 2013 that “They keep saying it’s a new season, but it is actually a bunch of episodes that set up the movie.” Still, given Netflix’s continued pursuit of a fifth season, one wonders if the streaming service would take the idea into account, or perhaps more conclusively plan out production of the remaining two-thirds of Hurwitz’s story, so as to better brief viewers on new material.

Does Bateman have a point, that marketing misled the audience about Arrested Development Season 4? Apart from increased effort toward keeping the cast together, how might the next run of episodes change things up?

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