At this point I think it’s fair to say that Arrested Development may very well have become far, FAR more popular in death than it ever was in life.  We all know why, we’ve all seen it, we all love it, we have our very own thread devoted to nothing but quotes from the show.  From petitions to save it to record-breaking DVD sales to never-ending talks about the possible movie from fans and stars and creators alike.  Arrested Development was cancelled, but it never actually died.

And now it’s coming back!

According to Deadline, Netflix (what?) has signed a deal with Imagine Entertainment and 20th Century Fox TV to bring all-new episodes back to viewers – exclusively through Netflix Instant – in 2013.

This is a big deal.

Sure, lots of shows have been brought back from the dead because of their post-mortem popularity (read: DVD Sales), but it’s either been for the original network (Family Guy) or for something like Comedy Central (Futurama).  But for what is essentially a RENTAL COMPANY to land the exclusive first-run rights for a Triple-A property?  And not from some upstart studio who’s trying to shake things up – but from a powerhouse like 20th Century?  That’s huge and it says a lot about not only Netflix’s eye on the future, but what could possibly be the future for the industry.  Digital distribution isn’t anything new, of course, and it’s always been the far-off wave rushing to shore, but there is certainly a new dynamic being added to the mix with this announcement.  This announcement is going to get a lot of people interested (far more than if Netflix had snagged, say, that dumbass Mortal Kombat web-series) and get a LOT of eyes on it.  And if it’s successful?  Granted, it’s rare indeed for a show to become uncancelled and be able to maintain the magic it had to begin with, so there’s a lot of cautious optimism on my part, but fuck it – I love Arrested Development as much as you do and even though I was content to let it die and live with my fond memories, this makes me excited.  And not just for new episodes of a great show.

A quick note:  It also bears mentioning that no cast members have officially signed and there’s no word on how many episodes have been ordered.  Just that the show is coming back – we’ll keep you posted as we learn more.