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Arrested Development (season 04)

Arrested Development Lives! Josh Reviews Season Four

“I think movies are dead.  Maybe it’s a TV Show.”

For three wonderful, beautiful shortened seasons on FOX that aired from 2003-2006, Mitchell Hurwitz and an extraordinary team of writers and performers spun comedic gold out of the misadventures of the spoiled, selfish, oblivious Bluth clan.  (I describe them as shortened seasons because only season 1 was a full season of 22 episodes.  Season 2 consisted of 18 episodes, while season 3 was only 13.)  Arrested Development stands, without a doubt, as one of the finest television shows ever made, absolutely hilarious but also fiendishly brilliant in its complicated structure of long-running gags, subtle call-backs, and jokes piled upon jokes piled upon jokes.  It certainly ranks among my very favorite TV series of all time.  (I know some who feel that season 3 was a small drop in quality from seasons 1 and 2, and while that might be true, it meant that the series went from being solid-gold perfection to being merely genius and hilarious.)

Fans like me were crushed when the show was cancelled after that truncated third season, and dreamed that the show’s final scene (in which Maeby pitches the idea of a TV show about her crazy family to Ron Howard, who dismisses the idea but then muses “maybe a movie…”) might some-day become a reality.  I never believed we would ever see any more Arrested Development, so like everyone else I was delighted and stunned when the news broke that, while plans for a movie were still in-the-works, the show would be returning on Netflix for fifteen brand new episodes.  Not only were we actually going to get more Arrested Development, but rather than a two-hour movie we’d be getting fifteen new episodes??  Phenomenal!!

I tried to moderate my expectations, but as the day of the show’s release on Netflix grew nearer (as I suspect everyone reading this knows, Netflix released all 15 episodes of season 4 all at once), I found my excitement building to great heights.  I resolved not to rush watching all of the episodes all at once, but to try to space them out.  (This was made easier by how insanely busy I have been lately, meaning that I couldn’t have watched all 15 episodes that first weekend, even if I’d wanted to!!)

Having now finished watching season 4, I can report that while this Netflix season is without a doubt the weakest season of the show — it really doesn’t hold a candle to any of the three original FOX seasons, even the often-maligned season 3 — I still found it to be terrifically entertaining.  There was, of course, the level at which it was just a thrill and … [continued]