Monday, September 9, 2013

Finally finished Season 4 of "Arrested Development"

It feels weird to say "finally." I mean, it took, what, 4 months for me to get through 15 episodes? In olden times, 15 episodes would air weekly and you'd see the whole run in...about 4 months. But I feel like I'm way behind, so I'll keep my comments short.

It was a good season, not a great one. I hate to couch my praise like that because I feel like an ingrate. I have been a Netflix customer years and would have had the service this summer with or without a new season of "Arrested Development," so this is almost like "free" entertainment for me. Plus most episodes were a legit 30-minutes-plus. Given most network shows today run about 22 minutes, tops, that means this new batch of streaming episodes is the equivalent of, in broadcast terms, roughly....uh, I blew out all my math skills in the first paragraph. my point is they gave us a lot of comedy here, and I don't want to be the guy that gripes about it.

But I would rather see an "Arrested Development" like the old one. The writing and performances are fine in the Netflix season, but some of the essential appeal of the series is lost. Due to production schedules and logisitcal whatnots of different varieties, most episodes focus on a single character or two, and there is an extreme reliance on Ron Howard's narration. The original incarnation of "AD" whipped around to the whole Bluth family at an often dizzying pace, and the narration at least felt more like one of the show's tools instead of its driving engine. So this was a very good batch of funny episodes, but it wasn't the instant classic seasons 1 through 3 were.

So are 15 very good, funny episodes "enough?" Of course they are! I enjoyed the hell out of the season, and you know what? Ron Howard is excellent as the narrator. I just don't think I need to see another season unless they can do it more like they used to do it. And I still don't understand this talk about a movie. But, hey, I'm still thankful for these new episodes. I'm just sayin', is all.

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