Metascore
71

Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    May 28, 2013
    50
    Arrested Development’s long-awaited encore is like a lot of TV development--namely, an interesting idea that was more exciting on paper.
  2. Reviewed by: David Hinckley
    May 28, 2013
    80
    Arrested Development often feels like an interwoven series of droll sketch comedies, which means viewers can walk in at almost any time and enjoy the gags.
  3. Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    May 28, 2013
    70
    It gets off to a slow start and then takes a while for the whole enterprise to get up to speed. At about the third episode, enough of a foundation has been set that the jokes start to come more easily and more quickly.
  4. Reviewed by: Robert Bianco
    May 28, 2013
    75
    Arrested remains a bracingly clever but emotionally cold intellectual exercise of a comedy, one that revels in puns, double entendres, intricately structured set pieces, astonishingly inappropriate jokes, asides, callbacks, flashbacks and, less propitiously, its own inaccessibility.
  5. Reviewed by: Tim Goodman
    May 28, 2013
    90
    The Rashomon-style storytelling takes a bit to get used to, and the sometimes feverish flow of the jokes (which fans may remember from the hall-of-fame first three seasons) struggle to unleash themselves in the first couple of episodes, but then it snowballs into seven-and-a-half hours of hilarity just waiting for a movie to follow it up.
  6. Reviewed by: Tom Gliatto
    May 28, 2013
    63
    This new, fourth season isn't bad but it's a very different beast from the original, and it's not nearly as funny.
  7. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    May 29, 2013
    67
    Despite some incredibly funny set pieces--almost all of them involving two or more of the original characters interacting in ways we instantly understand (like Buster helping Lucille deal with the conditions of her house arrest). The new season doesn't really work as its own thing, but as a prologue for this movie that no one in the industry has shown the slightest inclination towards making.
  8. Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    Jun 4, 2013
    83
    Overall impression: look for them [the episodes] to get better, stronger and funnier.
  9. Reviewed by: Robert Lloyd
    May 28, 2013
    80
    The show improves as it gathers context, and before long you stop thinking about what makes this Arrested Development different from all other Arrested Developments.
  10. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    May 28, 2013
    100
    The new season is not only as smart and absurdly funny as ever, but also reflects the rapid changes in how we watch television.
  11. Reviewed by: James Poniewozik
    May 29, 2013
    70
    Overall, the season stands up well next to any sitcom on the air now; a few episodes were meandering slogs, but a few others are among the funniest, best-executed sitcom episodes I’ve seen this season.
  12. 90
    I suspect it might be a classic that deserves a spot in the pantheon of great, long-delayed follow-ups, though I need to watch the whole thing again and live with it and then write about it again to be sure. That I’d want to rewatch the whole season immediately is, of course, another, possibly higher compliment.
  13. Reviewed by: Mike Hale
    May 28, 2013
    40
    You need to have watched them [previous three seasons] to comprehend Season 4--to understand much of its humor or to make sense of its convoluted plot--but if you truly loved them, it’s hard to imagine being anything but disappointed with this new rendition.
  14. Reviewed by: Gail Pennington
    May 30, 2013
    50
    The new Arrested Development is uneven--but Arrested Development always was, even at its peak. Binge-watching, though, makes it seem even more uneven, and that's too bad.
  15. Reviewed by: Willa Paskin
    May 30, 2013
    70
    The 15 episodes of Arrested Development themselves, which start badly, but accumulate to something pretty good.
  16. [There are] moments of pure brilliance--and moments that had me doubled over in mirth.... Unfortunately, there are stretches in this new batch of episodes that feel more flabby than snappy, and there are some lulls that leave you downright fatigued.
  17. Reviewed by: Melissa Maerz
    May 30, 2013
    83
    The new season is actually pretty good, and it gets better with each episode.
  18. Reviewed by: Michael Starr
    May 28, 2013
    88
    The show’s writing, pacing, flashback scenes and unexpected surprises fit like a comfortable shoe.
  19. Reviewed by: Jace Lacob
    May 30, 2013
    40
    Whereas the first three seasons were subtle, there is a decided lack of finesse here. Season 4 feels like an anvil being dropped on the heads of the viewers, one with a note attached that reads, “LOVE ME. PLEASE LOVE ME. LOVE ME,” all in caps.
  20. Reviewed by: Nick McCarthy
    May 30, 2013
    75
    The cultural references feel a bit dated (the bubble-bursting housing-market collapse, Herman Cain proxy Herbert Love, The Blind Side, and The Social Network among them), and there's too much miscalculated racial humor and preoccupation with sex offender-related jokes, but there's still a plethora of fresh homonym-friendly wordplay, surprising parallels, and witty allusions to delight and preoccupy us until the series pulls off its next magic trick.
  21. Reviewed by: Dan Zak
    May 29, 2013
    80
    It’s a chore to watch and a delight to decrypt. Its overwhelmingness contributes to its initial underwhelmingness. But in time, with a moment to reflect, it begins to feel like the fullest and fraughtest expression of its form. It is, in a perverse way, the “Ulysses” of sitcoms.
User Score
8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 255 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 52 out of 64
  2. Negative: 7 out of 64
  1. May 27, 2013
    9
    Be warned: it will take you three or perhaps four episodes to warm to this series. By the fifth, you'll begin to feel yourself hooked in as the setup scenes from the beginning start to pay off and by the seventh episode you realise that you're watching something very special indeed.

    It's ironic really those who will criticise this series of Arrested Development will do so without acknowledging what made the first three series a mainstream failure yet a sleeper hit if you judge it based on one or two episodes alone, you won't get it. It just won't work for you, or for anyone for that matter. It's the little things for example, and to avoid spoilers, when Michael says something about Lucille 2 in Episode 1 when she falls over, you won't find out why he's used that exact phrase until episode seven/eight when George Sr. starts his "health retreat" fiasco.

    Hence why the early review websites looking at Episode 1 in isolation were severely missing the point. If Episode 1 was a pilot show I'd never seen before, I'd be scoring it a five, because the pacing is off and the jokes aren't there. So I understand the negative reviews for an episode but they're plain wrong when reviewing a series. Indeed, if you take the rose-tinted spectacles off, the first ever episode of AD, in isolation, is fairly underwhelming. But we all know what that led to same story here!

    The reality, this is a work of art. There's nothing quite like it on TV anywhere else. It's lost none of its wit, it's sharp writing, the overpowering enthusiasm for the project that runs from writing cast to the smallest acting role is unparalleled, bouncing off the screen.

    This isn't a fan boy review I was expecting to be severely disappointed with this series because the expectations for it were impossibly high. Yes, there's very little Annyong, Buster is featured not often enough and there's a few minor irks with cameo appearances (the airport staff were grating and unnecessary; a blip on the acting talent in the show), but these are very minor nuisances that are barely worth mentioning.

    In summary it's a breath of fresh air, the best comedy in years and one which I'll be watching on repeat for a long, long time, along with the three series before it.

    Is it the best series? Well, who knows, I've only watched it twice! And as all AD fans know, it takes quite a few viewings to get the subtleties of a series.
    Full Review »
  2. May 27, 2013
    10
    Show is brilliant. Almost perpetually spurtive and fresh; even recycled jokes (a plenty) are met with observed aberrance and wit. Mitch Hurwitz was awarded free reign and with such power enlisted a new style of narrative--one that is as complex and self-reflexive as ever. Awesome. Full Review »
  3. May 26, 2013
    10
    One of the greatest American comedies of all-time picks up right where it left off seven years ago. The writing and wit are as sharp as ever, and the fantastic cast seems right at home playing these wonderfully shallow, self-absorbed characters. Thank you, Netflix, for bringing back the Bluths! Full Review »