Back in 1982 a new television series hit the airwaves. It was called “Police Squad”. It aired 6 episodes (each of which I have seen about 20 times) on ABC. The creators knew it would be pulled as soon as the first episode aired.
I remember my mum telling me that Police Squad didn’t go down in America becuase the audiences didn’t “get” it. At the time, I didn’t see any reason not to believe that, but now, another show has come along, and it might just prove American audiences can (and do) love subtle humour, and the reason Police Squad actually failed was because ABC put it up against Dynasty and Magnum PI and not becuase it didn’t have a laughter track.
Arrested Development [AD] is that show, and I have to say, it is the best work of comedy I have seen for a long time. And its on a network I would never have expected to take such a huge risk with a comedy, FOX. Don’t forget, these are the people that cancelled Futurama and Family Guy, they aren’t fans of smart comedy. But AD has another trick up its sleve, namely the critics love it (the loved Police Squad too) and for FOX that seems to have been enough for them to order a second series, even before AD’s huge triumph at the Emmy’s.
To FOX’s credit though, they are putting AD on after The Simpsons, which should hopefully guarentee a decent lead in. It is also airing Sunday nights, a time when most networks are airing safe shows, CBS has “Cold Case” in that slot and ABC shows “Desperate Houswives”. So could it be that with 3 Emmy wins under its belt and a good timeslot AD will actually reach its potential in season 2? Only time will tell, but I really hope people see this show for the work of genius that it is.
No doubt I will be writing more on AD as the season premiere draws closer.