Here’s a thought experiment:
Imagine for a moment that 30 Rock had been unexpectedly cancelled after Season 2. The series closes on somewhat of a cliffhanger: Jack has gone to work for the Pentagon, Kathy Geiss is in control of NBC. None of the subplots of the third, fourth, or fifth season would ever exist: no Jon Hamm as clueless doctor, no Selma Hayek, no Mamma Mia spoof, no Jack-Nancy-Avery love triangle.
In this alternate universe, would 30 Rock be as beloved and as mourned as Arrested Development is today?
And, the uncomfortable follow-up question: how much of Arrested Development’s critical and commercial cache springs directly from its early cancellation? Would an Arrested Development that ran for six seasons be better or worse, on the whole, than one that ran for three?