Netflix's turn at TCA. The panel has reps from three of the streaming subscription service's new offerings: "Derek," "Hemlock Grove" and the fourth season (14 episodes) of "Arrested Development."
First up is Ricky Gervais' "Derek." Netflix's description of the new comedy, set in an old folks' home:
"Derek," the new show from "The Office" creator Ricky Gervais, is a bittersweet
comedy drama about a group of outsiders living on society's margins. Derek
Noakes is a tender, innocent man whose love for his job shines through.
Working in a retirement home, Derek cares deeply for the old people, because
they are kind and funny and tell him stories of what life used to be like. Alongside
him works Dougie (Karl Pilkington), his landlord who is one of life's unlucky
individuals; Kev (David Earl), a loveable train wreck; and Hannah (Kerrie
Godliman), a care worker in the home and Derek's best friend. She is smart, witty
and hard-working, but unlucky in love, and, like Derek, always puts other people
Derek is a show about kindness. It uses humor to deal with the real issues of
everyday life. The uncaring outside world popping in and out will boil your blood
and the residents inside will break your heart.
The series is written, directed and stars Ricky Gervais.
"It's very funny, it is a sitcom," Gervais told TV critics, adding that it also has a dramatic component. "It's set in an old people's home. They die sometimes."
This show is more improvised than "The Office" (UK version) or "Extras," but it's mostly scripted.
"Everyone thinks all my shows are improv, they thought 'The Office' was improv and it wasn't," he said.
Now, onto more serious fare: "Hemlock Grove." There will be 13 episodes. It's essentially a 13-hour film adaptation of a mystery novel.
Netflix's description: From executive producer Eli Roth and based on Brian McGreevy's novel of the
same name, "Hemlock Grove" is a riveting one-hour murder mystery that revolves
around the residents of a former Pennsylvania steel town. When 17-year-old
Brooke Bluebell is brutally murdered, any of Hemlock's peculiar inhabitants - or
killer creatures - could be suspect. Through the investigation, the town's seamier
side is exposed, revealing nothing is what it seems. Beautiful, terrifying and
graphic, "Hemlock Grove" is unlike anything else in its genre.
The series kicks off when a high school girl is murdered in the town of Hemlock Grove. The murder happens at the same time a gypsy character moves into town.
The trailer looks intriguing but they often do. Looking forward to checking out an actual episode.
And now, for the main course: the long-awaited reunion of the Bluth clan in Netflix's 14 new episodes of the former Fox comedy "Arrested Development." It will premiere -- all 14 episodes at once -- some time in May.
Netflix's description: The highly anticipated fourth season of the Emmy Award winning comedy
"Arrested Development" comes to Netflix and will premiere in spring 2013. The
entire cast and series creator Mitch Hurwitz have reunited for brand new
episodes. Arrested Development centers around Michael Bluth (Jason
Bateman) and his eccentric family comprised of his son George Michael (Michael
Cera), his father George Bluth Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor), his mother Lucille (Jessica
Walter), his brothers George Oscar Bluth II (Will Arnett), Buster Bluth (Tony Hale)
and sister Lindsay Funke (Portia de Rossi), and Lindsay's husband Tobias (David
Cross) and their daughter Maeby (Alia Shawkat). Mitch Hurwitz, Troy Miller, Ron
Howard, Brian Grazer and Francie Calfo are executive producers on Arrested
Creator Mitch Hurwitz and the cast (minus David Cross and Tony Hale) were being extremely spoiler-sensitive and coy about what to expect in what has been misinterpreted as "season 4."
"We're telling a complicated story that jumps around in time and intersects," Hurwitz said.
Episodes will be around a half hour each and be told from different characters' POVs. They can be watched in any order. Portia de Rossi said in one episode she takes something her mother said as sarcasm, for example, and viewers will find out in another episode that she misunderstood her.
Hurwitz said he always knew there would be 14 episodes released simultaneously, not 10. Thought it would be a fun surprise for fans to deliver more than expected.
Netflix has become the poster child for the increasing trend of binge viewing -- something Portia de Rossi is a fan of.
"I spent the entire summer watching 'Breaking Bad,' from the first episode to the last one," she said.
In some ways, the panel raised more questions than it answered. But they did leave us with an outtake, which was pretty damn funny: Lucille Bluth smoking a cigarette but she's not allowed to, so she exhales into the open mouth of Buster, who repeatedly blows said smoke out the French doors.