But the new structure also brings some significant advantages, even for viewers taking it slow. Some episodes may feel plodding in isolation, but that also means the occasional episode with 36 straight minutes of GOB (Will Arnett), which I don't think anybody has a problem with. There's also an even more complete sense of history in the new season, with almost all of the show's most famous running jokes getting some sort of reference (though it's usually more clever than a simple callback).
Mostly, though, the format is a testament to the kind of faith Arrested Development has in its audience, telling a story that's so complex for a sitcom I can't think of anyone but Netflix that would air it in the U.S. and saying that kind of storytelling is what fans want. (And the fact that the new episodes were pirated more than 100,000 times in the first 24 hours says something about how much interest there is outside of Netflix subscribers.) It may falter at times in its execution, especially for die-hard fans who wanted more of the same, but there's no doubt that what Hurwitz and the rest of the Arrested Development team have done with this new season is going to pave the way for a new kind of comedic storytelling online.
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.