Browse Josh's Portfolio and the Comic, Reviews or Blog archive.

Arrested Development (season 04 re-edited "Fateful Consequences" version)

Josh Reviews the Re-Edited Fourth Season of Arrested Development

The first three seasons of Arrested Development still stand tall among the greatest comedy TV shows ever made.  Last year I re-watched those three seasons in their entirety, and they remain brilliant, with a dense layering of joke upon joke upon joke unlike any other TV show I’ve ever seen.  Back in the days in which the idea of original programming Netflix was a wild idea, I was overjoyed that Netflix announced the resurrection of Arrested Development, which had been ill-treated by Fox and cancelled way before its time.  When that fourth season of the show finally arrived on Netflix, though, back in 2013, it was something of a disappointment.

I enjoyed watching the new Netflix episodes, make no mistake.  I think the fourth season is better than its dismal critical reputation would have you believe.  But there’s no question that the series was a shadow of its former self.  There were a lot of problems with that fourth season, the main issue being that scheduling issues with the large main cast meant they could only film a handful of scenes all together.  To get around this, creator/showrunner Mitch Hurwitz & co. structured the season so that each episode focused on a single character.  Unfortunately, in my opinion, these characters that worked so well together as an ensemble didn’t function nearly as well on their own.   Many of them went from funny to annoying when we were stuck following them for an entire lengthy episode.  (The length was also a problem — many of the installments ran far longer than a standard twenty-two-ish minute half-hour comedy; some installments were as long as forty minutes, and that felt way too long to me.)

Around the time when the fifth season arrived, in 2018, Netflix released a completely re-edited version of season four, with the new subtitle “Fateful Consequences.”  Instead of fifteen lengthy episodes each focusing on a single member of the Bluth family, Mitch Hurwitz & co. did a ground-up remix of the entire season, reassembling it into twenty-two normal-length (approx. 22 minutes) episodes, with many if not all Bluth family members appearing in each episode.  Footage has been completely re-arranged.  Scenes from the cutting room floor have been restored.  Ron Howard has recorded completely new narration.

What an incredible idea!  Has anything like this ever been done?  An ENTIRE SEASON of a TV series, completely re-edited from the ground up?

This re-edited version of Arrested Development season four is VASTLY SUPERIOR to the original version.  There is no question in my mind that this is what the fourth season should have looked like all along; if it had, I think people would have thought a lot better of the … [continued]