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Arrested Development Season 2, Jason Bateman, Portia de Rossi, Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Alia Shawkat, Tony Hale, David Cross, Jeffrey Tambor, Jessica Walter, Ron HowardArrested Development (Season 2): with George Bluth on the run, the family must march on without him, and Michael must keep the Bluth Company – and his family – under control. This is my third time watching through AD and in reflection it’s so obvious why a show like this was destined to fail on TV. The biggest problem is that the running gags are subtle, and would be easy to miss if there were 7 days (let alone weeks) between the episodes. With the DVDs however, you can bash through a season in a few nights and really appreciate the fine writing. In saying that, S2 tries to address this by having clusters of jokes that are confined to an episode; like the ‘Charlie Brown’ slow walking, Gene Parmesan, etc. The biggest step up for me is lot more brilliantly timed physical comedy: chicken dances, face pulling, slipping, and Mrs Featherbottom’s spectacular Mary Poppins moment. Once again the brilliant ensemble cast of comedic actors does great things with well-written characters. This should be mandatory viewing for anyone that enjoys comedy TV – almost a decade later and it still puts most shows to shame.

Score: 8.5/10

Arrested Development Season 2, Jason Bateman, Portia de Rossi, Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Alia Shawkat, Tony Hale, David Cross, Jeffrey Tambor, Jessica Walter, Ron Howard 2

“I just blue myself”

Arrested Development, Jason Bateman, Portia de Rossi, Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Alia Shawkat, Tony Hale, David Cross, Jeffrey Tambor, Jessica Walter, Ron HowardArrested Development (Season 1): when the CEO of the Bluth Company gets jailed for fraud (and light treason), one son must step up and take charge while the rest of the dysfunctional family try to get back on their feet. This is an absolutely explosive combination of fantastic writing, stellar casting, and perfect comic acting / timing. The 20 minute episodes are so tight and neat – not a single word is wasted, and everything is relevant to the plot or character development, to be used somewhere down the line. For a comedy, every main character is funny, well-played and developed over the season. And, for something this upbeat and watchable, it’s remarkably dense, layered, lean & efficient. Arrested Development is the holy grail of comedy; fun for casual, first-time viewings, but rewarding for repeat viewings as you’re able to pick out more and more running jokes, themes and catchphrases. Unmissable comedy.

Score: 9/10

Arrested Development Home, Jason Bateman, Portia de Rossi, Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Alia Shawkat, Tony Hale, David Cross, Jeffrey Tambor, Jessica Walter, Ron Howard

Arrested Development – Season 3: Poorly received comedy series that’s all about the family, and family values. Sounds like the ultimate cliché but this has to be one of the funniest, wittiest and smartest TV show’s I’ve seen. It’s absolutely bursting with comedy, one-liners, slapstick & adult jokes, and gags that run through an episode, season, or even the entire show: mixed between in your face, subtle or even just hinted at. The downside of this is that it’s a little too clever/fast for some, and a lot of the ‘contemporary’ quips aren’t as relevant as they were several years ago. There’s no dumb laugh-track, so you can pick up everything. The cast has too much talent – both young and old – to list: David Cross, Will Arnett, Jason Bateman, Tony Hale… not to mention the stunning Portia De Rossi. As a show, it’s also smart in that it’s very aware of itself and similar shows, episode 9 in particular is screaming with self-reference and irony. The characters, who drive the plot, are all great, consistent and well-acted; in particular the promiscuous Tobias, whose every line is innuendo-tastic. Gob is also a treat to watch. It looks great, is well-written (with an amazing attention to detail*), very neat, and the show does well to handle constant incest references – which would put many people off. As great as it is this season starts to wear a little thin by the end – so it’s probably for the best that they’ve stopped it there. Like the show says “Tell your friends” as all three season are 100% worth watching.

Score: 8.5/10

*so much of which would be lost between aired episodes a week apart, which is probably the main reason it wasn’t a successful broadcast show. Definitely one for DVD sessions.