The prodigal show returns as Arrested Development drops its long-awaited fourth season. Now that they have finally gotten one in the can, do the creators have something of a mess on their hands?
If you’d told me a couple of years ago that I’d be sitting here at 5:30am having finished a new season of Arrested Development, I likely wouldn’t have believed you. It’s somewhat surreal, really, to think that this show could rise out of the mountainous ash-pile of lamented cancellation. It’s fitting, then, that the fourth season premiere is entitled “Flight of the Phoenix” — the meaning of which I shouldn’t have to spell out to fans of the show.
Firstly, a caveat of sorts: I watched the entire season within 12 hours of its release, so my reaction to it here is an initial one. As those who have seen the show will know, part of its commensurate charm is its heavily self-referential nature with running jokes and callbacks dotting each episode. Watching it all at once helps one to catch these, but it also wears on one’s patience. I will not be revealing any key plot details if I can help it, though I will be talking about the characters and about my reaction to the ending but not in any explicit way, so only read on if this won’t bother you. As to how I’ve seen it already: you should “something search” that for yourself.
Apr 21, 2013
Many have claimed that House of Cards will revolutionise TV, but it has all but faded from cultural consciousness before its season would have even ended had it aired in the traditional weekly manner. Is the streaming service creating a television landscape in which the forgettable is supreme and the supreme goes unseen?
One of the reasons The Simpsons will prove to be, in this writer’s haughty, look-at-me-I’m-a-TV-blogger opinion, television’s greatest achievement is because it’s almost impossibly enduring. Those classic seasons just don’t age; even a generally under-appreciated episode like “A Streetcar Named Marge” only increases in stature the more I revisit it (if you don’t cackle hysterically at this The Birds reference at The Ayn Rand School for Tots — genius in itself — then I can nought but pity you).
The reason I mention The Simpsons is because of how progressively it became so brilliant and iconic. It started as brief little sketches on The Tracey Ullman Show, blustered through a good but uneven first season before finding its feet in its second, and now it’s probably the most oft-quoted body of work since Zombie Shakespeare wrote a bunch of plays. Even its increasing detachment from the original characters and persistent refusal to die can’t sully its legacy. But if you turn the clock back, even at its peak the show struggled to please everyone — thankfully, those dissenters’ ridiculous opinions on an episode like “Itchy & Scratchy Land” live on in the internet’s memory.