Coming back after a 7 year hiatus would always be a risky move, especially as in the meantime, some have begun to consider the first three series of Arrested Development as modern classics. It was a high bar that creator Mitchell Hurwitz and company had created for themselves and overall the ‘comeback’ was all a bit disappointing.
Not so much in the way of ‘it was horrible, they should never have done it’ but also not hitting the heights of the original, it was all just middling and just okay. There are very funny moments in it, but there’s nothing the calibre of ‘there’s always money in the banana stand’ or even Mr F.
Taking a format of one episode concentrating on a specific character, the stories intertwine in a way that is often brilliant and gives many of the characters the room to breathe that they require although not all characters were given the time they deserve (very little Buster or Maeby). It’s clearly the way around putting all the characters together (due to schedules) but the series is just lacking in the chemistry that made the original series so great.
When first re-meeting the characters, we get a catch up that links each of them to the last episode of series 3 showing various escapades since the cancellation of the original. They each go their separate ways and cross through each other’s stories periodically and sometimes all too brief. Time is spent wishing the chemistry to still be there but there is just something missing.
As a quick side-note, the medium of releasing them all at once online definitely helped a show like Arrested Development. Many of the in-jokes relied upon having seen the previous episode (or two) very soon before – even the narrator mentions this.
Whilst the jokes, humour and characters are all present, there’s just something missing that made the first three series so magical. There is more time spent concentrating on recaps rather than every line of dialogue either being a joke or a set up for a joke. That being said, there’s still plenty to enjoy and many laughs to be had – just be wary of high expectations.