310 of 332 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where's the 6 stars option?
I arrived late to this dance. I don't really have any structure to my TV viewing, other than Sunday nights on HBO. Despite reading positive reviews and hearing accolades for this show I missed the entire broadcast season. What that means to me is that I've just immersed myself in probably the funniest 22 episodes of broadcast comedy ever (that includes Seinfeld and the...
Published on November 8, 2004 by A Fan
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit over the top
An unusual premise, but almost cartoonish characters. Direction is over the top. Color me european, but I prefer humor to be short of pie-in-the-face obvious. That said, I did watch several episodes to confirm my conclusion that this series is similar to a human version of The Simpsons. A piece of diverting fluff, but wears thin quickly.
Published 11 months ago by D. Starr
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310 of 332 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where's the 6 stars option?,
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I arrived late to this dance. I don't really have any structure to my TV viewing, other than Sunday nights on HBO. Despite reading positive reviews and hearing accolades for this show I missed the entire broadcast season. What that means to me is that I've just immersed myself in probably the funniest 22 episodes of broadcast comedy ever (that includes Seinfeld and the old Dick Van Dyke show). This first season is chock full of running gags, absurd situations and some of the funniest deadpan dialog deliveries ever recorded on video. It's impossible to single out a cast member because they all make important contributions, even the guys who walk on for a line or two. Watching them in sequence does maintain some continuity of narrative but you'll find yourself returning to some special favorites. The bring your daughter to work episode brings out the absurdity of the whole practice while delivering some of the best laughs of the whole series. BUY THIS!!!
61 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Comedy Emmy - Biggest upset since the Miracle on Ice,
Simply put: The best new sitcom to hit the small screen since Curb Your Enthusiasm. This is clearly the best that network television has to offer, a refreshing change from the cookie-cutter "dysfunctional family" or "oversexed pals" sitcoms that have been shoved down our throats for the last decade.
AD features what is, far and away, the most original and imaginiative group of characters in TV history. While credit goes to the creators for that, it is the actors that truly make these characters work. The show is perfectly casted, with Will Arnett (GOB) and David Cross (Tobias) particularly shining. Jason Bateman has revived his career as Michael, best described as the least crazy one.
The poster who compared AD to Malcom in the Middle is off his/her rocker, and those who compare this show to Scrubs do it a great disservice. Scrubs, which I love, doesn't have the same creativity behind its plots; it's also much more jokey. AD is much more subtle and creative - and, in the ultimate compliment to a sitcom - even has shades of Seinfeld, where several plot lines will tie in at the end. Still, the show maintains its own identity, mixing original characters, witty dialogue and sometimes outrageous stories to perfection.
Through only one season, AD has quickly become one of my three favorite shows ever. The DVD is a no-brainer, day-of-release purchase that may even force me to use a vacation day...
32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the best.,
There isn't a series on television (comedy or drama) that surpasses the consistent level of quality achieved by "Arrested Development." A casual viewer can enjoy an episode as a standalone presentation, but loyal (and attentive) fans are rewarded with astoundingly funny story arcs and inside jokes.
For the price, even a simple compilation of the first 22 episodes (without any bonus material) would be a bargain. Instead, we're being treated to a top-notch assortment (16:9 aspect ratio, deleted/extended segments, interviews, commentaries, behind-the-scenes footage and even the ability to listen to 29 original songs by David Schwartz).
For established fans, this is a dream collection. For the uninitiated, this is a golden opportunity to see what you've been missing. Either way, the decision to purchase this DVD set should be a no-brainer.
54 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comedic brilliance!,
Fox finally gets it right for the first time in years and renews a show that deserves all the support it can get. This show can be considered an acquired taste initially, but one could say the same for other classic shows such as Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm. The pacing and narrative are different from what is typically served up on TV, so it may take some time to adjust to the quirkiness of the show...let it sneak up on you as the episodes progress, and you will be genuinely surprised at how clever and laugh-out-loud funny this show truly is. I just wish Jason Bateman had made the cut for a Best Comedic Actor Emmy, as his work is surprisingly excellent and crucial towards grounding the rest of the loopy family members (all of them great as well) in something resembling reality, unlike the Jack & Karen slapstick nonsense in Will & Grace. Great stuff!
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Show on TV !!! Period!!,
Arrested Development is currently THE funniest and smartest show on television. The writing is razor sharp, the pacing just perfect and the cast!! Perfectly cast and brillianly acted, this show is just to good for regular television which may explain the lackluster ratings. It's too cool and smart for average viewers weened on formulaic pap usually found on sitcoms. BUT-kudos to FOX for renewing the program for another season. If you have'nt seen it, pick up this set and immerse yourself in it. Then start watching and supporting this great show. I have neglected to describe the show's premise because one of the joys of it is to become acquainted with the large ensemble cast and get hooked on the show, and you will. This show will become a classic!
33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life among the rich and stupid,
As reality TV continues rearing its ugly head on every major network, Arrested Development has arrived at just the right time for those of us itching for something intelligent to come over the airwaves. With corporate malfeasance (rightly or wrongly) assuming so much of the public spotlight over the past several years, Arrested Development casts a light on the people behind such shady goings on, and in this case the picture is not pretty. It's loosely classifiable as a sitcom, but Arrested Development is shot with more of a documentary/reality show style, giving it a distinctive look and feel that you just won't find in most of network TV's decidedly formulaic fare. Not since The Simpsons was in its prime about a decade or so has a show so effortlessly balanced wit, randomness, and unapologetic vulgarity (as of this writing, rumors that The Simpsons is still on have yet to be substantiated).
At the center of everything is Jason Bateman as genial widower Michael Bluth, the one sane member of a wealthy but deeply dysfunctional family, charged with holding it together after his corrupt father's incarceration. It's not easy, as Michael is surrounded by a collection of screwballs the likes of which you can scarcely imagine. Fortunately, the characters on Arrested Development are far more than just zany caricatures; they're all brilliantly drawn and distinctive, aided by some masterful performances from the show's cast. Yes, they're all isolated from reality and toxically self-absorbed, but the Bluth family still manages to come across as sympathetic. Michael's twin sister Lindsay (Portia de Rossi, who rarely fails to make my eyeballs bulge) is a pretentious "liberal activist" whose advocacy of fashionable causes is in sharp contrast to her vanity and terrible parenting. Her husband Tobias (David Cross, whose fake mustache is a hysterical running joke in itself) is an utterly oblivious husband and father who's just left his psychiatry practice to pursue his pipe dream of becoming an actor. Michael's older brother George Oscar (Gob) Bluth II (Will Arnett) is a smarmy, womanizing magician who never fails to take advantage of Michael's decency. The youngest brother, perpetual student Buster (Tony Hale), is prone to outlandish panic attacks and hasn't managed to separate himself from his mother quite yet.
Speaking of the family matriarch, Jessica Walter turns in arguably the best performance of them all as Lucille Bluth, easily one of the most delightfully evil characters in TV history. Domineering, manipulative, and occasionally downright cruel, Lucille is the most narcissistic member of a family full of narcissists. She plays her children against each other, shows questionable loyalty to her husband, grubs money relentlessly, and constantly makes cutting remarks about Lindsay's weight in spite of her awe-inspiring gorgeousness. For his part, George Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor), in addition to his amoral business practices, isn't exactly the best father in the world. In one especially hilarious series of flashbacks, we see his way of imparting everyday lessons to his children, which always involved some horrible simulated tragedy befalling a one-armed friend of his. And while the relationship between Michael and his awkward son George-Michael does provide a bastion of tenderness amidst all the screwiness, it's also worth noting that George-Michael has a forbidden crush on his rebellious cousin Maeby.
But wait, there's more! We're also treated to some hilarious and out-of-left-field special guest appearances, including Henry Winkler as the family's incompetent attorney Barry Zuckerkorn; Julia Louis-Dreyfuss as the "blind" prosecutor on the Bluths' case; Liza Minelli as Lucille's vertigo-plagued best friend/social rival who briefly becomes Buster's girlfriend in one of TV's all-time great mismatches; and Carl Weathers as, well, Carl Weathers. I feel I'd also be remiss if I didn't mention "Annyong," Lucille's adopted Korean son who gets his name from the Korean word for "hello," which happens to be all he says for his first five episodes or so.
There isn't one episode on this season that's not up to par, not one. All are brilliant in their own way, juggling plot strands in a Seinfeld-esque manner, but with non-linear plot structures more akin to the shamefully neglected classic Andy Richter Controls the Universe. With numerous flashbacks and the deadpan narration of Ron Howard filling in any gaps, Arrested Development is able to truly go where network comedy has rarely gone before. While many episodes do end with important life lessons, generally centering around the importance of family togetherness, the morals don't come until after various plot strands have come together in an all-hell-breaks-loose climax. Some of the more outlandish climactic set pieces include a phony drug bust involving a bunch of male strippers in phony cop outfits; George Sr. attempting to escape from a Christmas pageant while dressed as a character in a painting; Michael and Gob wrestling ineptly over a woman while Buster desperately tries to get himself punched in the face; and Gob's failed attempts to trick the family's accountant into thinking he's killed a stripper.
Accompanying the twenty-two episodes of this first season are a bevy of extras, almost all of which are worth watching. Most notably, we get an extended version of the pilot (complete with dirty words), commentaries that consist largely of the cast members ripping on each other and making off-color remarks, a behind-the-scenes featurette, and some loving tributes from TV Land. On the whole, the special features provide a great deal of insight into how the show's unique look and feel were created, how the cast was selected and how they interact, how reams of material are cut down to one 20-minute-or-so episode, and scads of other random information. Suffice to say that Mitchell Hurwitz, the show's creator, is clearly one very smart man.
With the Simpsons still in decline and Family Guy yet to return, I think I can safely go out on a limb and proclaim Arrested Development the best show on network TV right now. By defying virtually every television convention known to man, Hurwitz & Co. have created something truly innovative and warped, which is no small task with cable channels relentlessly pushing the envelope. Unfortunately, shows this original and challenging to the viewer don't typically last too long, but here's hoping this one proves to be an exception. So far the second season has been almost as good as this one, so if there's any justice Arrested Development will succeed in catching on where previous excellent Fox series like Andy Richter Controls the Universe and Undeclared failed.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bluth's Banana Stand,
The format of television we know as a sitcom is dying. The end of "Everybody Loves Raymond" in May will be the death of the 'filmed before a live studio audience' sitcom. One camera shows like AD are the ones to watch now, and thank god it, and others like it, are here. They are a dying breed. This is the best half hour comedy to hit the top major networks in years and the most critically acclaimed one at that. So naturally, it was a flop in ratings and struggled to stay alive. Typical. The "Pilot" episode pretty much sums it up for the show. George Bluth(Jeffrey Tambor), is arrested for insider trading, and the Bluth family realize they need son Michael(Jason Bateman), to help with the family company after his father passed him over for the job. He tries to hold the company in check and to keep his continuously dysfunctional family together. His family includes his cold, icy mother Lucille(Jessica Walter), his spoiled, shallow sister Lindsey(Portia De Rossi), doctor turned struggling actor brother in law Tobias(David Cross), niece Maybe, struggling magician brother Gob(Will Arnett), mama's boy little brother Buster(Tony Hale), and his own son, the hysterically named George Michael(Michael Cera), who has an unhealthy crush on Maybe. The show is also narrated by it's producer, non other than Ron Howard. Every episode is packed with the most brilliant and intelligent writing, and sly references that you will only get if you are truly on your game. It's funny as heck, and impeccably performed, written, and directed. It is a mature and sophiticated humor. The kind that will go over a lot of people's heads if you don't understand it. And a lot don't. Julia Louis Dreyfuss appears as a blind attorney in the classic "Alter Egos", and the second part, "Justice Is Blind". Henry Winkler has a recurring role as the family attorney. The best stunt casting here is Liza Minnelli, as a socialite with vertigo and a competition between Lucille, and a relationship with Buster. Incredible. Somehow, Carl Weathers figures into it as well. Other incredible moments here include the episode "Pier Presure", where Buster tries to score some pot for Liza's handicap. "In God We Trust" is another winner where we learn of Tobias' naked hang up. There are way too many good things here to mention. Every episode pretty much hits it out of the park and there are so many things, big or little, in every single episode. It's the most well conceived shows on the air. Who knew Jason Bateman was a comedy god?. The guy's deadpan delivery is so good, you wonder where his emmy is. The rest are just as excellent. Jessica Walter has the perfect demeanor for her role as Lucille, and Arnett and Hale are as perfect as can be. Michael Cera is a tremendous young actor. He really makes George Michael seem like a real kid. Not an actor trying to be what writers think a kid would say and do just to be funny or interesting. And hey, it's always a plus when Jeffrey Tambor is around. This is pitch perfect writing and direction. With it's renewal for a second season, and it's recent emmy win for Best Comedy, Best Writing, and Best Direction, it gives hope that the TV Gods just may be wising up after all. Get this.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best show you haven't seen,
This review is from: Arrested Development Season 1 (Amazon Instant Video)
Never watched this until one night when I found myself with nothing to do. I cannot recommend it highly enough. I laughed mercilessly throughout the entire series. Jason Bateman is hilarious as the "straight man." It seems it was pretty poorly promoted during its on-air run, because it never looked very funny to me. More wrong I could not have been. Watch, watch, watch. You will not regret!
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The only funny show on TV since Seinfeld,
Normally I think TV is a waste of time, and most sitcoms are boring and predictable, but THIS IS A WORK OF ART! "Arrested Development" is genuinely smart, fast-paced, and hilariously funny. Required viewing for anybody who thinks a Seinfeld re-run beats 99% of the new stuff on TV.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They've made a huge mistake cancelling this,
This is the world we live in. Arrested Development, the funniest comedy in the last 10 years, is being taken off the air by Fox after three seasons. Meanwhile, Stacked is in its second season on Fox; Yes, Dear in its, what, ninth?! (I lost count); and many other crap-tastic sitcoms are still running. Where is the Punisher when we need him?
Anyway, this is a review of the 1st season DVD set (which you have to buy, or you aren't...human), so listen newbies: Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman) is the only sane person in his family. His older brother Gob (Will Arnett) is a failed magician, excuse me, 'illusionist,' who always relies on Michael to get him out of tight spots; younger brother Buster (Tony Hale) is a thirtysomething still living with and relying on their mother Lucille (Jessica Walter), a selfish, alcohol-sipping woman; twin sister Lindsay (Portia de Rossi) is unhappily married to struggling actor Tobias Funke (David Cross), and their daughter Maeby (Alia Shawkat) is in the middle of their shall-we-divorce-or-separate-or...etc.; and Michael's son George Michael (Michael Cera) is in love with Maeby, but she's his COUSIN! Oh yeah, and Michael's father George Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor) passed Michael over for president of the Bluth housing company and is then arrested for embezzling from the company. With these people, who needs enemies?
This is all the first episode, folks (give or take a plot point in the second and third). Unique in so many ways (no laugh track, thank God; filmed like a documentary; narration by executive producer Ron Howard; one of the best ensemble casts on television ever), it's guaranteed to bring a smile to your face. Yet it's one of the lowest-rated shows (in viewers, not reviews, which it dominates in) on television, and it was in danger of being cancelled its first season. So I suppose Fox was brave to give it two pity seasons (but the Emmys didn't hurt their decision, either). Buy the set and see what you've been missing, or if you HAVE been watching it, enjoy one of the best comedies around over and over again. And THAT's why you always watch a great show.
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