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Your Instant Reactions To “Arrested Development” Redux

Okay, some of you have now had the chance to see all or most of the new episodes of Arrested Development on Netflix. I haven’t even started, but the mixed reviews are making me worry. So maybe you guys should step in — have you seen ’em? What do you think? Is it as uneven as some critics said, or do the episodes hold together as one big, pardon the expression, unit? Is is as funny as the Fox seasons, is it better or worse, are the characters holding true to their previous incarnations, does it make you look forward to more (including a movie)…. in short, are you happy with this new “season” or disappointed? Was this worth the wait, or did they (wait for it…. okay, now) make a huge mistake? I’m hoping for the former, but I’m interested in knowing what those of you who took the plunge and watched ’em all thought.

Post your reviews right here. We can work through this together, like a family. A large, dysfunctional, scheming family with a stair car and model home. Oh, and careful with the spoilers, please. (Label ’em!)

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  1. Cardsfanbj says:

    Not enough screen time for Maeby and George Michael.

  2. ChrisT says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed the show, the only ‘negatives’ are the pacing is slowed because everyone isn’t in every episode and if you watch it all in one go there are bits repeated from different angles (normally this is a reveal/payoff.) Ron Howard narrating over people talking is for humour, Oscar is pretending to be George Sr most of the time may be why there is less distinction between them.

  3. nick says:

    I think some characters should have had episodes sooner and more of them. More Buster! And none of the Bluths display their crazy chicken dances. Those are my biggest complaints and honestly they don’t mean much, I very much enjoyed this new season.

  4. alanso says:

    I’ve been restraining myself with great difficulty and have only watched 3 episodes so far… First one was a little oddly placed but good otherwise. I loved the subtle jokes (eg cameo reveals).

    The next two have dipped in quality I think, but I am enjoying seeing the different perspectives while everything links together. And it does seem that this side of things gets better.

    Plus, besides Michael, I don’t think they led with their best characters.

    Also yeah, what’s up with Lindsay’s face? Dat nose.

  5. derp says:

    Loved it. I laughed out loud plenty of times which doesn’t usually happen with sitcoms. Only thing I didn’t like was how they explained everything that happened. Would have been better if they left it up to the viewer to figure it out. It was oddly Memento-ish.

  6. Dec says:

    I loved it. It started off a little slow, but AD fans will obviously know most of the stuff will come together. As @brandon said above, you’ve got to approach it differently. It is like a lot of mini movies because as Mitch Hurwitz, Jason Bateman and many others have said, It’s act 1 of a 3 act movie.
    It holds it’s own though. Once it gets to midway through things start to link in nicely, and they added a little mystery aspect which was really fun and kept you guessing. Can’t wait to rewatch it and find some stuff I hadn’t seen!

  7. Shayde says:

    The only thing I think makes this not play as well as the old episodes is that Michael was the glue that held most of the old episodes together, and not having that in the newer episodes gives them a different feel.

    Not worse.. just different.

  8. Dave F says:

    The new season is funny and as a whole not disappointing, but does have some disappointing elements. My primary complaint is that Michael seems to be almost a completely different person. It’s like he’s been reincarnated as a selfish idiot. I have no problem with that, but it was sudden and we didn’t see him evolve.

    That being said, the other characters hold through. Try not to judge it until you’ve seen the entire season, because it makes more sense as the episodes progress. The jokes are still great, with the intellegent interweaving of story elements that made the show fantastic to begin with.

    While not as good as the first 3 seasons, this reincarnation holds expectations without exceeding them too much. A tough thing to do having been away for so long.

    Poor Michael…

  9. Jamie says:

    UK can I just say it is so awesome to get it at the same time as the US without resorting to piracy, tv boss people happy to chip in my £6 if it means I get a show i love at the same time as everyone else nice and easy.

    Told myself I was gonna space them out but yesterday just ended up breasting through the full season.

    BRILLIANT, the criss-crossing story lines found in each episode of seasons 1-3 now span the full season . I’am glad that we got to see 15 episodes worth of content instead of what was to be part one of a movie where most of the funniest scenes would have ended up as a quick footnote in a film version.

    I loved maebe’s story line.

  10. Tim S says:

    Here’s a link to a great review that describes the overall feeling of this season perfectly. (Didn’t write it, just liked it a lot)

  11. Lisa says:

    I don’t think the episodes were overall as funny as the Fox version, but I still loved it. The interconnectedness was interesting, and the guest stars were all great in my opinion. I will say that there was a lot of catch up from episode to episode, but for those who don’t watch the whole season in one sitting it might be handy.

  12. Tessa says:

    I agree with Jenna – definitely we could have benefited from more character interaction, those big ensemble scenes in the model home, for example, that demonstrated how strong the cast was as a whole.
    Otherwise, I really enjoyed it. Parts of the production were simply different than the original show – camera angles, composition, etc. But not better nor worse, just different.
    I watched it with a bunch of people and we kept saying the same thing: it reminded us of Lost at it’s height. Each episode moves the story forward and answers some questions while sparking even more, overlapping and intertwining. (Spoiler) For example, asking what the deal was with the recurring ostrich symbolism was reminiscent of Twin Peaks’ owls (end spoiler). Plus, the fact that each episode was centered around an individual character was straight out of Lost’s playbook. That being said, I feel like some characters were neglected – there was not nearly enough Buster!
    There’s never enough Buster though…

  13. Scott S says:

    I’m halfway through, and didn’t laugh at all for the first several shows, but it’s getting funnier. I think splitting it into episodes is detrimental, the overlapping story is intesresting but it’s split too far apart. A six hour show would be better, and less repetitive than 15 half hours that show us the same thing several times.

    The guest stars all seem like people they put in so you’d say, “Hey, that’s a person I know! It must be funny, because I know that actor!” Too many of the current comedy people don’t seem like actors to me, they’re people who are tossed in to make us think it’s cool that tey’re there. Seth Rogen is always Seth Rogen, even in the few things I liked with him he’s still himself, not a character.

  14. Jenna says:

    My biggest complaint is that we didn’t get to see the family interacting with each other. I get that the Bluths have all been separated (and the actors have crazy schedules) so I’m not necessarily upset by it, but when the episodes are weak, I think a lot of it has to do with that fact.

    That being said, there are a lot of laughs and it’s worth watching as long as expectations are kept at a reasonable level. They don’t compare to the original series (although I really did enjoy the scenes between Gob and Tony Wonder), but I’m still looking forward to seeing the entire family reunite in a movie.

  15. tsujoi says:

    It’s pretty good once you can process the season as a whole, which starts to happen around episode 5 or 6. Hope they go ahead for a movie or something.

  16. Purpleslog says:

    Aaron…the actor playing young Barry is Henry Winkler’s actual son.

    • Aaron says:

      @Purpleslog: Ah, that explains it. I thought it might be, but forgot to check the credits when the episode finished. But wow, he really is the spitting image of his old man, ain’t he?!

  17. Phillip says:

    The one or two character stories make more sense as a practical production concern. The career success these actors have had since AD went off the air makes it almost impossible for them to be in the same room at the same time. Jason Bateman and Will Arnett are now locked into movie deals years in advance. I believe the creators elaborated on that during press.

    The decision to split focus and form a story in preparation for a promised movie is interesting. However, this season will only make sense if that movie or season comes to pass. The cameos by current celebrities like Kristen Wigg, Seth Rogen, who were probably fans of the show when it was on ten years ago is fun. Still cant believe it was TEN years ago.

    I do miss Michael as the lone voice of reason at the eye of the hurricane that is the Bluth family. However, it is also fun to see him behave just like the rest of his family once he is without George Michael, his sole reason for being responsible in the first place. The show has changed but the story has been propelled forward and characters like Lucille, Buster, and Tobias still hit all the right marks. I still want to see what happens in a future season or film ten years later.

  18. Jake says:

    Also, Scott Baio doesn’t AGE!

  19. TomIsUnderwater says:

    I love AD, but the new format is hurting the show. Lack of structure makes it less funny. I believe it would be more enjoyable if they would simply jump in 7 years later with some, smaller recaps and the narrator filling in the gaps. Other than that, “enjoy the story of a family whose future was abruptly cancelled” I know I will.

  20. Jake says:

    You have to take the first couple of episodes with a grain of salt because it is convoluted and you don’t really know what’s going on, but by the last episode you will be going with the flow and wishing there was more because they did leave it on a cliffhanger.

    The first episode was a little boring and bland, but it all pays off in the final.

  21. Kevin Thurman says:

    You have to understand that this season is basically one big episode. Instead of 3 stories spiraling out in a 22 minute segment, it’s not basically 9 stories spiraling out.

    Also, you have to understand, the joke is they are in the darkest part of their histories. They are treating the cancellation as if they all had been cancelled and are facing an existential crisis.

    This is why they each have their own “shaman” they must visit. Lindsey goes to India, Tobias has Maria Bamford, Michael has Ron Howard (notice the idea of going up to these shamen).

    So, basically, it really is as if these characters had died and were resurrected and they can’t quite jibe back into their old lives. Like the shaman said to George Sr. Who was weak is now strong (George Michael and Buster) and who was strong is now weak (George Sr, Michael, GOB, Lucille)

    It is truly an excellent season that should rank high in the halls of TV, that is for damn sure.

  22. nate says:

    I found each episode more and more hilarious as jokes from the first episode finally paid off in the final. Have to say it’s made me want the film to come out now.

    It’s still amazingly better than just about every other sitcom out there.

  23. Chuck says:

    I am about 5 episodes in. There is a little bit of an adjustment curve initially but it’s funny. I’m laughing just as much as I did with the old episodes. I’m a little disappointed that Michael is no longer the innocent moral contrast to his family, but it’s still funny. Lindsay does not look well, I say that out of concern not judgement. Tobias is … Tobias. I do wish that there was some progression, but I appreciate the direction that was taken by doing mini episodes. I feel there are jokes that could only work the way they’ve written these episodes and I applaud the effort to do something fresh. I really like these episodes so far and I hope they do another season in a couple of years. (Every year might be to much of a good thing)

  24. Markis Garcia says:

    As the face of *ALL* hispanics, Cinco De Quatro is my new favorite tradition. I just finished and while I’ll still need to process all the AD in my system, I can say that I feel every character acted accordingly to what they wanted most. Of course I will have to rewatch every episode to get all the meat off the bone but the show was still great “tv”. You had to accept some of the inherent problems (i.e. Showstealer pro scenes and newly shot ones) and adapt to the new story-telling technique but I’m definitely excited to see more Bluths. I did find myself not enjoying George Sr. and Lindsay’s first episodes but I’m not sure if it was just because how late it was on Saturday. All the old (and new) supporting characters were welcome additions, especially John Beard who blew it out of the park and became a new stand-out!

  25. Aaron says:

    I haven’t gotten through the whole thing yet, as I don’t want to burn through it, but I did watch the first three episodes. Here are some initial reactions I had during those episodes (spoilers from the first three below):

    1. Michael seems to have gotten less intelligent. He was always an advocate of education and, in one episode, does a cost-analysis of a mini-mall that impresses his son. Now he’s taking online classes and his interaction with George Michael in the first episode made him seem as if he’s just gotten… dumb. Especially with the obliviousness to the ‘roommate situation’. That whole dynamic didn’t sit right with me. We all know Michael is smart… why did they write him suddenly unintelligent?

    2. The guy who plays a young Barry Zuckercorn looks EXACTLY like a young Henry Winkler. Even without this dialogue references and the narrator alluding to the fact that he is a young Barry, you can simply look at him and know. Holy shit… he is the spitting image of him!

    3. Portia de Rossi’s episode threw me. The first time I saw her face in the scene in India, I swore it was someone else. I didn’t even recognize her.

    4. Jeffrey Tambor isn’t doing Oscar’s voice like he used to in the old series. He sounds completely different.

    5. I am seriously over Seth Rogen. Why is he in everything, ever?

    6. I am seeing the same type of witty play-on-word gags as I’m used to from Hurwitz (Method One Clinic = methodone clinic), and that part is great. I also appreciate all the callbacks to earlier stuff that is so much a trademark of the show as well. But overall, I think the presentation of this fragmented, overlapping narrative is a little convoluted and is like watching “Pulp Fiction” only much more confusing. The old episodes has story arcs lasting several episodes, but they never got so complex as the ones being presented now. I am seriously lost already in the story.

    Overall, though, there’s been a ton of laughs. I’m not at all disappointed, and I hope it ends well. I also really hope everyone else enjoys it enough that we get the movie, or that (by some miracle) Netflix gets so much money from new subscriptions due to this show alone, that they can afford to pay the cast to return for more seasons! I know… that’s a ridiculous hope, but I dare to dream!

  26. It’s telling the same story from like 10 different viewpoints, and as you go on and understand more and more about what happens and why, it gets funnier and funnier. The problem is that the first few episodes are very confusing and not very funny, because it seems like random things are happening for no reason. Also, the editing thorough the entire thing is terrible, the narrator frequently talks over people and jokes aren’t given very much breathing room.

    All of that aside, when it all comes together at the end it holds its own and is very very funny. Maybe not as good as the first 3 seasons but alltogether still a great comedy.

  27. Brad says:

    I think people should approach the new episodes with the mentality that each episode isn’t as structured as the previous seasons. Each one is sort of a “mini movie” that focuses on one (or two) characters that chronicles what’s happened to them in the past 7 years. There isn’t much of a B or C storyline but each of the 15 new episodes all weave into each other in the long run.