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Category:    Home > Reviews > TV Situation Comedy > Arrested Development Season Three

Arrested Development Season Three


Picture: C+ Sound: C+ Extras: C+ Episodes: B



With the half-hour comedies of today being so bad that only the animated series seeming destined to be the only ones remembered, it is nice when the occasional live action piece works and offers jokes that are more hit than miss. As narrator, Ron Howard returned to TV for Arrested Development, a comedy about the decline of a rich family that evokes some of the zaniness of Soap. With veterans like Jeffrey Tambor, Jessica Walter and Jason Bateman in tow, the show tries to weave its stories out of soundbytes that are not as surreal of abstract as the quickly-fading Ally MvBeal, but speeds up the pace of things to the point that it risks some forms of comic timing for others.


The result of this rollercoaster ride going at the same speed each show is that it could exacerbate the weekly TV grind and in a media world where everything goes by fast and empty, this can work against the show, but it actually works out more often than not and that is why it won awards and acclaim. Unfortunately, it was not the big hit all had hoped for, meaning it might just be too smart for those who have overdosed on sitcoms that have been bad since the regressive 1980s. The gags here about the British and spy stories with Charleze Theron as guest star in a few episodes are a hoot. Scott Baio and Justine Bateman also surface in amusing cameos. Of course, TV shows have come back thanks to DVD and this is a most likely candidate, but this looks like the wrap-up of the show for now. There are 13 episodes and if anything, this may (and hopefully will) be a transitional series into some better TV, but once again, only time will tell. What will happen with the sitcom next?


The anamorphically enhanced 16 X 9/1.78 X 1 image is not bad, but obviously shot in HD and has limits that will be more apparent in color and detail in a few years. The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo is supposed to have Pro Logic surrounds, but is surprisingly weak and playback that way is not as recommended. Extras include a blooper reel, deleted/extended scenes, Last Day On Location featurette and audio commentary tracks on three of the episodes. The series gave it its best effort and who knows if it is really the end of it, but it is one of the few situation comedies since the 1980s that does not treat its audience like it is idiotic and that is an achievement in itself.



- Nicholas Sheffo


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