Multiple review outlets have reached the conclusion that the new fourth season of Arrested Development, which follows a nearly decade-long absence, was a misfire, a failure to match the heights of the series’ previous three seasons. Several of these reviewers have reached this conclusion without actually reaching the conclusion of the season—they were meeting deadlines for their various publications and didn’t have time to get through the whole thing, which wasn’t released for critics in advance.
The problem with this is that perhaps more than any television season that has come before, this season of Arrested Development is really one singular cohesive piece of work that is divided into sections. TV shows are commonly split up into episodes, but this usually results in a series of standalone sections that eventually combine into what becomes regarded as a season. In the case of this show, we have a season that functions more like a really long movie, or maybe a novel, with divisions used to shift perspective and offer breaks in the story. But there’s still one story here, and conceiving it in terms of individual episodes would be like stopping after every chapter of Pulp Fiction to write 1000 words about it. It’s better when you take it as a whole.
This is a wildly new format for a show that was anything but conventional when it first appeared on televisions ten years ago. Just as they did back then, Mitch Hurwitz and his team continue to push the envelope of comedy, breaking rules and upending expectations. While there are plenty of good reviews of the new season, the ones dominating the conversation around the show are the ones insisting that the show is “flawed.” The issue with this vague assessment is that many of the aspects identified as flaws could easily be conceived as the new season’s greatest strengths.
Here are 6 so-called flaws writers have identified in the newest season of Arrested Development. In my view, they have about as much to them as the inside of a Bluth model home.
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