This Wired article on the return of the show Arrested Development on Netflix is worth reading in its entirety, but I want to pull out these interesting tidbits about narrative form:
Arrested Development is exploring the more playful, outré structural possibilities offered by the new platform on Netflix. Each episode will cover events from a different character’s point of view, like a comedic Rashomon. There will be moments and Easter eggs that will make sense only in retrospect. There will be a suggested viewing sequence, but it will be possible—even rewarding—to watch out of sequence. Cross describes the new structure as being “like if you could mash up a Venn diagram with a nautilus shell. And then put that inside a Möbius strip.”
The new Arrested Development is not just a seven-hour movie. It’s something new—a collection of episodes released altogether that can be remixed and recombined and that gain something from each juxtaposition. Right now that’s a framework only Netflix can offer. Asked what the show would have been like had Showtime won its bid, Hurwitz says, “I know that storytelling-wise, saner ideas might have prevailed.”
House of Cards was an earlier Netflix effort to put its own money into a show and release the entire season at once, and it justifiably got a lot of press, but it was basically a seven-hour movie. From a storytelling standpoint this might be the bigger deal.