With the fourth season released thus completing the long-awaited return of a fan favorite, we are now faced with all the things we are both happy and unhappy with about the latest installments of Arrested Development. I’m not going to try to convince anyone that the newest episodes are as good or better than the old episodes. These episodes offer their own charm and their own problems.
The same crafted humor and layered set-ups that made the original series classic are still there. Old jokes and gags are used just as well as they were previously. Along with the old, new gaffs as well as new tie-ins to old ones are riddled throughout. Almost the entire ensemble of characters makes at least a cameo return. Some memorable characters have larger roles than others and some go almost unnoticed except to a keen eye.
The problems start to become apparent with not only the plot itself but the style it is delivered in. At the end of the fifteen episodes you are left with an absence of resolution. It seems that things aren’t finished and so much was left incomplete. Bare in mind that a movie is planned so you might have accept that a lot of what is in this new season is just used to catch you up with the characters and story as well as set things up for the movie. The bigger issue I had was how choppy the shows were presented. Each episode jumped back and forth in time showing events both present and past. Each episode, although based on one character, is intertwined with the story lines of other characters. This can lead to confusion as you have to piece the entirety of the story across all the episodes. I would have preferred to seen the plot played out more linearly myself. I can only conclude that Ron Howard really likes hearing his own voice since he did so much narration in these new shows it was borderline annoying. If the plot is so complicated that he has to constantly add his own dialogue, perhaps he should have done better to either simplify it or play it out better in the scenes.
With all that said, I am still happy with what was delivered and plan to watch the new content all over again. Perhaps I’ll catch more of the subtleties in these episodes just as I did in the originals as I watched them several times over. I know it’s early and with a movie already planned, I suppose it is too much to ask that the series be resurrected? I’ll take whatever they’ll give me.