Arrested Development fans can be rabidly loyal, so much so that one industrious fan named mophinapg on Reddit took to re-editing all of Season 4 to change the chronological order and offer it to everyone on a silver platter.
The show’s revival thanks to Netflix has been met with plenty of feedback, some of which centered on the editing style that’s a departure from the previous three seasons. This new season features a more fragmented pace, forcing some viewers to watch more than once to fully understand the stories and tie-ins involved.
What mophinapg did was focus instead on separating the various storylines within the episodes, even going as far as cutting narration, redoing the opening credits, and taking pains to keep the music as it was aired.
“I did as much as I could to make these feel like real episodes. I made sure to separate the episode by storylines, rather than looking for specific times. I also included the opening theme, which I modified myself, and also the ‘on the next Arrested Development‘ [segment] as well as the credits (although the credits for episodes 1-11 are just a repeat of S04E01’s credits),” mophinapg explains in his Reddit post.
He goes on: “I tried to keep as much original editing as possible, unless chronology required a split. The music does occasionally sound weird between edits, but for the most part I think the edits, and the episodes themselves, work pretty good for what I had to work with.”
At the moment, his work has garnered an 85 percent approval rating, with over 100 comments mostly praising his painstaking work of envisioning the show’s fourth season in a way that differs from what the creators and Netflix seemed to have in mind. In the comments section, he suggested fans watch the season as is, and then to view it his way to get a “good sense of the order of events”.
While it’s still early to gauge how popular these chronological episodes might turn out to be, it does raise the question as to why Netflix and series creator Mitch Hurwitz opted to go this route with the show’s comeback. There’s usually a creative purpose when a show or film is shown in a jumbled form. Of course because of its history, Arrested Development’s Season 4 has become a test case for what fan interaction can look like and much of it likely has to do with preconceived ideas about the show. It’s difficult to separate creative disapproval or approval with heated fan sentiment in this case.
One clue to Hurwitz’s intentions might be found in past interviews he gave prior to the season’s Memorial Day debut, where he suggested the episodes could be viewed in varying order, depending on what storylines the viewer wanted to follow. In the end, he said that they were best viewed in sequential order, calling his earlier statements a “misconception” (despite his desire to do it that way originally) and even pointing out that binge-viewing might not be a good idea for absorbing everything happening onscreen.
Now, mophinapg has seriously challenged Hurwitz and Netflix – he’s even offered to send copies of his rearranging of the episodes to the cast and crew.
“If there are any people here who worked on AD, I have made a Blu-ray with my episodes on them and would love to send you a copy. I’d love to hear what people who have worked on the show think of my episodes,” he says.