arrested-development-s-4-trailer

The highly anticipated fourth season of Arrested Development hasn’t even been in the world for two weeks and already fans have made it their own. We’re quoting it, meming it, creating merchandise based on it and now… completely altering it.

Creator Mitchell Hurwitz created a complex, labyrinthine story for the fourth season. It is told largely out of order to keep the audience guessing, and because he could rarely get his full cast together at the same time. Personally, I applauded the slow burn season as something truly special, but others found the new structure off-putting.

And so the Internet edited the fourth season of Arrested Development in chronological order. This is sure to be controversial, much like The Godfather Saga and later The Godfather Trilogy: 1901–1980, in which Francis Ford Coppola’s films were cut into one chronological run, or the Memento DVD edit, which reversed the film to remove all the surprises. And those were official, while this is not.

The AV Club linked to Reddit user morphinapg, who not only edited the 15 episodes down to 11, but gave them new names. You can link to them all here.

I have mixed feeling on this situation. On one hand, Hurwitz and his team carefully crafted the new season of Arrested Development to be watched in a specific way. There are jokes that takes many episodes to pay off, massive reveals, and a real sense of weight that was missing from the first three seasons of the show. The complex structure made the fourth season new, different and a worthy way to bring the series back after seven years. Arrested Development was never for everyone and the new season bolstered that impression.

Then there’s the part of me who, four episodes in, was frustrated at the new structure. I totally understand watching and thinking “I wish these were different.” Eventually, as everything began to fall into place, I went the other way, but I do sympathize. For an editor, it would be quite a big project and the material is out there. Why not give it a shot?

Ultimately, I’ll never watch these simply because I’ll stick with the creator’s version, thank you very much. Plus it’s copyrighted content, owned by Netflix, that’s being illegally pirated for free. But these fan edits are always an interesting experiment, especially in cases where the content is so polarizing.

Here’s morphinapg’s write up and explanation of the process. Do you think he’s hurting the show by doing this?

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” as well as the credits (although the credits for episodes 1-11 are just a repeat of S04E01′s credits).

I edited the narration to try to feel more natural when transitioning between scenes from different episodes. Sometimes I would cut narration or do a partial cut of it to make things feel nicer. For large scenes with multiple perspectives I would make sure to not have any duplicate things happening in the background, which did require a few cuts here and there, but nothing major. Most of that only happened in the police station scene, most other scenes were linear enough to easily be edited. 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. I can’t 100% guarantee the accuracy of my ordering, but I feel like I did a pretty good job. I did allow occasional slight backtracking, if placed at the beginning of an episode, but it doesn’t affect the chronology very much.

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