Cancellation is almost always a death sentence for a television show. Some are revived decades later, like the 80’s soap opera Dallas, which was reborn with a handful of original cast members this past June, but most live in our hearts, minds, and in DVD box sets.
Arrested Development, which was cancelled in 2006, has cheated death. In a brilliant and telling move, Netflix, an on-demand and streaming media provider, has breathed new life in the show by signing it on for a new season to air exclusively on the company’s service. With a subscription, Arrested Development fans will be able to watch the entire new fourth season (ten episodes), which will be released all at once in 2013. Netflix also offers the first three seasons for those who can’t get enough of the Bluth family—a smart move to hook old fans again, by revisiting their favorite episodes.
This unprecedented move gives us a glimpse into what the future of television programming might hold. Are we at a place where consumers can escape the iron fist of cable and satellite TV providers and watch what they want, when they want, for a fraction of the cost? We’ve already peeked into the future of automobile advertising. What’s in store for our entertainment needs? Will on-demand and streaming services beat out the old guard of cable and satellite?