Spun: Arrested Development – The Magician’s Alliance & Les Cousins Dangereux

Every now and then, a successful TV show creates a spinoff that fans fall in love with (Frasier, Daria, even The Simpsons, believe it or not). Unfortunately, these gems are heavily overshadowed by the worst of the worst (Joey, Joanie Loves Chachi, Saved by the Bell: The College years). The term “spinoff” is now met with rolling eyes and groans, when its full potential hasn’t even been tapped. In the new Golden age of television, the fields are ripe for harvest! Sick of waiting for Hollywood to hurry the hell up, we’re just going to do it ourselves. Your favorite shows are about to be Spun. 

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Now the story of a wealthy family who lost everything, and the one son who had no choice but to keep them all together…until he nearly tore them all apart in a New York Times interview last week. Talk about a master class in ruining a press week, Jason Bateman comes off careless, Jessica Walter comes off brave, Jeffrey Tambor comes off as…well, Jeffrey Tambor. Needless to say this has not been a good week for the cast. Will fences be mended, will the inappropriate behavior of certain cast members spell the end of the series, will the show make it through this storm…SHOULD the show make it through this storm? The online debates tore twitter apart last week. Some people rallied around the cast, saying apologies were made, we should learn to forgive. Some said the men on this show acted utterly disgusting, and that the series should be cancelled as a result. We don’t need to get into the arguing or politics of it here. Assuming that i can be salvaged or that it could be spun, let’s have a little history lesson…

When Arrested Development ran it’s first season in 2003-2004, it received massive critical acclaim. It’s first season was nominated for 8 Primetime Emmy awards, and actually scooped up 6 of those, including Best Actor, Best Comedy Series, Best Directing for a Comedy Series and Best Writing for a Comedy Series. In fact, the writing award produced one of my favorite Emmy moments of all time, as Mitch Hurwitz was the first winner to joke his way out of having his speech cut short by the swelling music award shows are known for. 

Amidst all of the critical acclaim the show received over its many seasons, it’s audience remained committed, but small. It never achieved the type of numbers and viewership as the shows it influenced, like 30 rock or Brooklyn Nine-Nine. After 3 seasons, Fox decided to cancel the series in 2006. Over the next 5 years, that vocal and committed fan base finally had our voices heard, as Netflix officially picked up the series in 2011. Those of us who loved and followed the series obsessively rejoiced!!

Then Season 4 was released, which was…hey, Season 5 official debuted on Netflix!! Early reviews for the new season are spectacleular, but only time will tell if the series can overcome many missteps of it’s cast. If it doesn’t work out, is there any aspect of the show that can, or should be saved? There’s more than enough to explore, like a “Mr. Bananagrabber” animated series, or maybe “Barry Zuckercorn: Attorney at Law”. We could see Kristen Wiig and Seth Rogen reprise their roles as young Lucille and George Sr, respectivelly. But here’s an idea that seemed to just come all too naturally. 

Title: The Magician’s Alliance

Gob Bluth has been long removed from the Alliance of Magician’s after his illusions, the Aztec Tomb, Sawing Marta in half and the Magic Coffin all had their secrets revealed. On many occasions, we’ve seen him try to earn his way back into the alliance, but is ultimately met with failure. 

Heading up his own series is something Will Arnett hasn’t attempted since “The Millers” over on CBS or “Flaked”, also streaming on Netflix, bum bum. Coming off of the train wreck of that NY Times family therapy session last week, and the…we’ll say interesting press of his most recent film “Show Dogs”, maybe Arnett will see this as a win. 

The Pitch:

After an unfortunate death involving …., a spot has opened up in the Alliance of Magicians. Gob Bluth, a former member and veteran magician finally sees his opportunity to re-enter the life he’s so desperately missed these many years. Securing a spot at the Gothic Castle, Gob begins plans to undertake a dream illusion he was never able to attempt, but soon discovers he isn’t the only magician competing for the job, as a young Steve Holt is intent on following in his fathers footsteps. 

The Characters:

Will Arnett would be making a hilarious return here as Gob Bluth, along with Justin Grant Wade returning as Steve Holt. The Beauty of this series, is we can see a long list of recurring cameos from any of the members of the Bluth family. We could see a return appearance from Marta. We could witness Tony Wonder’s Use your Illusion “Use your Allusion 2”. The Alliance themselves made for a pretty hilarious sub plot in Season 1 of Arrested Development, parading around town as a sort of magician’s mafia. One of the aspects that made arrested development work so well was it’s strong supporting cast and cameos. From Richard Simmons to Cark Weathers to Liza Minnelli, everyone brought their A-game to this series. Expect much of the same for this spinoff. 

Plan B Pitch:

Michael Cera and Alia Shawkat have a tremendous chemistry on the series, one that is explored brilliantly throughout the first three seasons, and is criminally overlooked in season 4. Now that the kids are grown up and out living on their own, it sets the stage for an incredibly awkward and hilarious romance (can you even call it that?) between two young adults. 

Les Cousins Dangereux continues the complicated relationship between George Michael Bluth and Maeby Funke, who are but may not be related (but they are) as they navigate life after college in the same city. Entering two completely different social groups, the tables turn in this series, finding Maeby insanely jealous of George Michael’s current relationship. 

Arrested development is a tough one to spinoff, since seemingly nothing will ever work as well as the cast being together as a whole. Season 4 was our template for that failure. But for the sake of fun, what do you think would work as a spinoff? Is it time for the Bluth’s tale to end, or is this a new beginning? Sound off in the comments!