This past weekend, Netflix released the long-awaited fourth season of “Arrested Development,” the groundbreaking comedy canceled seven years ago and brought back to life thanks to the devotion of the show’s rabid fan base.
With all 15 episodes posted to Netflix on Saturday, the show’s fans (myself included) spent some time over the holiday weekend plowing through the program and reuniting with some old television friends.
As of this writing, I’ve watched the first nine episodes and like what I see, although, like any season of “Arrested Development,” there is plenty to discuss.
So here is my nondefinitive, nine-episode review so far of the show, in the ever-popular thumbs-up and thumbs-down format. And if you haven’t figured it out, there will be spoilers below so better to read once you’ve watched the show a bit.
Thumbs Up: You get to watch all the episodes in one sitting, a nice perk for those of us who like to binge-watch our television during a slow night or a lazy afternoon.
Thumbs Down: You get to watch all the episodes in one sitting, which leaves little time to process the episodes with friends and you can sometimes miss out on some funny scenes. The show will definitely require a second watch to get everything straight.
Thumbs Up: The show’s storyline is deep and complex with many different storylines expertly woven together to give the show a “Seinfeld-ish” type feeling of everything tying together neatly.
Thumbs Down: With that said, there is A LOT going on and with the multiple shifts in time that kept me always on my toes and a little bit confused to exactly where we were in the storyline. I applaud the show for its complexity, but it was a little difficult to understand at times.
Thumbs Up: George Michael’s mustache.
Thumbs Down: Not enough of George Michael, Maebe or Buster, who all – at least through nine episodes – have been dramatically underused, something that was possibly planned, but more likely had to do more with the actors’ schedules. The same goes for the always-funny Barry Zuckercorn, who looks like he did a number of shots in front of a green-screen.
Thumbs Up: Anything to do with Tobias. That guy is simply one of the best characters in television history. His episode, the fifth in the series where he is dressed as The Thing from “Fantastic Four,” was one of the funniest things I’ve ever watched.
Thumbs Down: Lindsey’s haircut. Sorry, but I like the long locks. She also apparently has no eyebrows.
Thumbs Up: Great guest stars including Seth Rogan, Kristen Wiig, Ben Schwartz (the immortal Jean-Ralphio from “Parks and Rec”), the “Workaholics” trio, Terry Crews, Isla Fisher and Ron Howard as himself.
Thumbs Down: The George Bluth episodes are the most confusing with he and Oscar switching personalities. It made my head hurt.
Thumbs Up: Anything to do with the “Fantastic Four.”
Thumbs Down: Marky Bark, although it was great when he turned blue, bringing back one of the best bits from the original run. In general, though, I found him annoying.
Thumbs Up: The “original” Apollo 13 movie and John Beard’s news show that entrapped Tobias. Classic.
Thumbs Down: Haven’t seen any jean shorts yet.
Thumbs Up: Any and all scenes with Lucille Bluth.
Mid-term review: While the show has some flaws, the message I got from talking to friends and co-workers today – who were in different parts of the program – was that above anything else, it’s great to have the show back.
The show is unlike anything else being created today. And while it might not have been as zippy as the first three seasons, it’s a welcome sight to see the beloved characters back to their old shenanigans. As my co-worker Kathryn Sadasivan put it, “It’s definitely not the ‘Arrested Development’ of old, but it’ll do in a pinch.” Totally agree. Grade: B+
Have thoughts on the new season of “Arrested Development”? Share them with David at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @DavidStegon