Thursday, May 03, 2018

An interesting ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT development

ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT'S 4th season was on Netflix.  It began airing a few years ago.  But it was a slightly different format than the one it employed during its years on Fox.  Since it was hard to get all the actors back together at the same time, the Netflix version followed individual characters and not the group as a whole.   The reaction was, shall we say, less than glowing?

Now comes word that the show's creator Mitch Hurwitz is "re-mixing" the season.  He's trying to make it more of an ensemble show.  The plotlines were so complicated anyway that the re-mix can't be any more confusing than the original version.

Will it work?  I dunno.  But it's an interesting experiment.

However, I have a question.

How do you now determine writers' credits?   Every episode has to have a writing credit.  And if Mitch cobbles together pieces from four episodes into one, the writers of all those episodes deserve credit.

And probably money.

I assume they have to be paid for the new re-mix version.

And since the WGA has rules as to the number of writers allowed per episode, they'd need a waiver and they'd need to pay each writer at least the equivalent of half an episode.  At least that is my understanding.

This is a sticky issue because to my knowledge no one has ever attempted something like this.  I don't believe there is a precedent.

So something will have to be worked out, and I'd be very interested to see just what that resolution is.  According to several readers, the episodes drop tomorrow. 

Stay tuned. 

22 comments :

Guillermo Heras said...

The remix season premieres this Friday "Cuatro del Cinco".

Tom said...

I had the feeling they were arriving tomorrow, in keeping with that season's fictional quattro de cinco event.

Regardless, it should be interesting to watch. The standard cut wasn't all that interesting — it makes sense that the family were now rarely in one place, but it turned the whole thing into a slog. Only George Michael's Fakeblock thing really worked as a slowly-revealing narrative, I think.

Chris Parsons said...

Related to this - how does writers credit work when they put together clip shows. Wouldn't that be a similar thing to this re-mix? Or is there enough new content/plot involved when they do clip shows that the writers for that part of the show get the credit.

Terrence Moss said...

At the height of the "Ally McBeal" hype, there was "Ally" - which was made up of re-edited scenes and unseen footage from the show.

Then again, that might have been easier to navigate since David E. Kelley wrote everything.

David said...

FQ:
Slate started a podcast called Decorder and the first episode was about the history of the laugh track (both the laff box machine and sweetening live studio laughter). I know in the past you've talked about having to kill laughs because it made the show run long. Did you have any other say into how the laughs were "mixed."

The whole piece is really interesting and they talk about the effect on different shows. 99 Percent Invisible also released the podcast and included an interview at the end with Josh Malina where he talked about being an actor on Sports Night (which was a big turning point for the laugh track) and how his performance changed without the live studio audience.

https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/the-laff-box/

Covarr said...

The remixed episodes premiere on Netflix tomorrow. Not a long wait to compare the credits against the original credits.

Hurwitz actually announced the chronological edit as far back as October 2014. Ron Howard tweeted that he was recording new narration for the edit in November 14. Hurwitz has said that he was looking for someone to syndicate it for much of the interim, but I wouldn't be surprised at all if legal and royalty-related reasons were part of why this took so long to come out.

Steve said...

Is this really any different than a show that is room written where credit for the episodes is just divided up between the various writers? They could just assign credit to each writer for the same number of episodes as in the original cut and be done.

How is credit done for a clip show? Does the guy who wrote the "trapped in the elevator" segments get all the credit? What about if a scene from one writer's episode is cut and added to another one that is running short?

Patrick Gaffney said...

I believe the are hitting Netflix Friday. So I would think that would have to have been already figured out? But you know what they say about assuming.....

Phil said...

The new episodes drop tomorrow, May 4. Should be interesting to look at the credits for each episode.

Vrej said...

The remix is out tomorrow (May 4)! I'm really interested to see how it works out, I believe Ron Howard recorded new voice-overs for the new cut.

Justin Russo said...

The other elephant in the room: will they employ Jeffrey Tambor?

MATTHEW OHARA said...

How about "clip shows" as a precedent? You know, characters sitting around reminiscing about past events through two minute clips from previous episodes. There must be long settled WGA rules in place that cover these.

Elf said...

Considering season five has already been shot and Tabor is in it, the answer is yes.

Todd Everett said...

I don't know, but people are saying that the first remixed episode airs tomorrow.

MikeN said...

What do they do with clips shows?

kent said...

How do they handle that issue on clip shows?

Andy Rose said...

This is probably made easier by the fact that Season 4 was written by only three 2-person writing teams, and every episode was jointly directed by the same two people. I'm more curious about the actors' compensation.

Season 4 was made the way it was not only because of the actors' limited availability, but also because Netflix didn't really have the money at the time to pay everyone their true market value. They worked out a unique Favored Nations deal with the cast, quoted in The Hollywood Reporter:

"The actor 'starring' in the episode is paid $125,000. If he or she appears in more than 90 seconds of an episode (but is not the star), that actor receives $50,000. For less than 90 seconds of airtime in an episode, he or she receives $10,000. Finally, if a clip featuring the actor from a previous episode is used, that actor gets another $1,000."

I suspect that when they got everyone to sign on for Season 5, those deals specifically included an agreement that would allow Hurwitz to recut Season 4 without directly revisiting that compensation structure.

Cap'n Bob said...

Is this, like, a TV show or something?

Tom said...

We were all wrong; it's streaming now, the day before it was promised. I've just binged the first four or five. Possibly it's a time zone thing?

What's most upsetting is that it seems not to augment Season 4 but to replace it. The original Season 4 is gone, relegated from streaming. The promise of Netflix et al is supposed to be the catalogue material; this feels like Trotsky. I hope there's nobody who would have received residuals for the original version but has now lost their income to the ether.

E. Yarber said...

Season 4 was on DVD in 2014. You can still see the original mess on disc. That's why some of us never got into streaming, which put the playlist into the hands of others.

elzoido said...

At least on Netflix in Germany, the original cut of Season 4 is still available under "trailers and more"

Johnny Walker said...

The original cut is still available. The new cut is a definite improvement (once you get past the first episode), but it's still limited by what was written in the first place. Looking forward to season five.