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Universal acclaim- based on 257 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 21 out of 257

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  1. May 27, 2013
    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.
  2. May 27, 2013
    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.
  3. May 26, 2013
    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!
  4. May 27, 2013
    An epic, masterful, brilliant achievement. A true game changer season for american television complex, fresh, riveting storytelling that takes work and time to be appreciated. Like all previously seasons of AD.
  5. May 28, 2013
    Found the negative reviews to not be very helpful. I wonder if many of these folks even finished the series first. I think it is very hard to critize this show's comedy. As the whole thing needs to be consumed before you can fully "get it". Shame on you reviewers who watched only a couple episodes, then came here to rant.

    I was much like you, after consuming a couple of episodes, I
    really wondered what happened to this series, but after about 4 episodes in I saw what they were doing and then finally started laughing out loud again.

    This is a marathon, not a sprint you people with "episodic" dysfunction... finish the series and call me and apologize I'll take your call.
  6. May 26, 2013
    Arrested Development returns in top form. The format is changed but everything that made AD great is still in tact. The new format lends itself to binge watching so judging it by a single episode does it a disservice. Jokes are setup in episode one that do not pay off until episode ten. As the season progresses the threads all begin to run together at certain events and watching each of the characters differing storylines climax and bounce off each other is very satisfying and often hilarious.

    There is a parade of geust appearances both old and new, they even brought Ann back for some reason, but for me Kristen Wig is perfect as young Lucielle is perfect, and Liza's preformance as Lucielle 2 is every bit as good as before.

    Arrested Development is still just as gaudy, sly, subtle, meta, dense and down right hilarious as ever, and I look forward to learning every last line uttered in season 4.
  7. May 26, 2013
    I'm loving it and can't wait to rewatch it again and again. The inside jokes are still there and the writing is sharp. The show went in a bit of a different direction, focusing more on one specific character per episode rather than on the entire family. There are a few episodes where notable Bluths are entirely absent. And there were a few times where jokes were reused and felt stale. But overall, it's back and it's good. Expand
  8. May 27, 2013
    After seven long years, I can only assure you one thing: it's still the Arrested Development we fell in love with, and it's still uninterested in pleasing anybody other than the fans.
  9. May 27, 2013
    Yes it's different, but this is not a bad thing! Season 4 does an excellent job of bringing you up to speed on Bluths and starts a whole new series of stories. The characters are still interesting, hilarious and ridiculous just as we remember them. The writing is EXCELLENT! In some ways sharper than the original. I feel as though the new format(necessary due to actor obligations) works beautifully, although give it a couple episodes to get settled into the change. Perhaps I miss the excellent family from the the days or yore but perhaps we will see that again in the future?(PLEASE MORE SEASONS!) Thanks to Hurwitz, Imagine and Netflix for creating a completely satisfying return of the most loved dysfunctional Bluths. As the season progresses, the comedy increases, and the stories collide into a beautiful hilarity! Expand
  10. May 27, 2013
    A little jarring at first, but an amazing feat. Definitely need to watch the whole 15 episodes before judging... and then probably watch them all again. I can't wait for the movie!
  11. May 27, 2013
    Awesome. Just awesome. The entire format of the show has changed. Focusing on one character each episode? Awesome. Each character is different in the best possible way. Way to go writers, you turned comedy gold into a pile of... awesomeness.

    Seriously though. It's been 7 years since AD was prematurely cancelled. I've nearly completed re-watching season 4 and it's even better. There are
    as many jokes per minute as 30 Rock. If you are reviewing the entire season please actually watch it (twice if you can). Expand
  12. May 27, 2013
    The best way to describe the new Arrested Development season is this: You are all excited about taking a train ride with friends that you haven't seen in nearly 10 years, to somewhere, maybe a vacation of something. After the first hour of the train ride together you realize how slow trains are and start to get boredd. By the 4th hour though something changes. Whether it be a loose bolt on the tracks or a penny on the rails, the train begins to crash. Everything is in turmoil, the one exception is your seat. Your one seat seems to be the only constant on this engine of turmoil and destruction. And you can't. Stop. Watching. By the last 3 hours of this you have completely forgotten about the slow and subtly boring start. You remember that in order for their to be a payoff, there has to be a set up. And it's at about this time that you stop panicking about the series being ruined and the 4th season being a failure. You finally get to appreciate all the set ups, all the subtleties, and you hold on for your life as the story comes to it's highest points. When it's over, you are left with a sense of euphoria and just a little bit of "What the hell just happened". The best part is that once you finish the season, it isn't over. The first episodes become more in depth and clear and are an entirely new experience to watch. You can basically watch the season twice and have two different experiences. The only constant is you, sitting in the middle of a train wreck, with your eyes widened in horror and delight, and you can't. Stop. Watching Expand
  13. May 28, 2013
    The trick of this season is that it continuously builds on itself. Scenes are expanded with each episode. This means that although the beginning episodes are weak (the first six, with the exception of episode five), later episodes are brilliant. This is not the same Arrested Development, but it is just as fantastic as ever. This season cannot justifiably be reviewed if you have not watched the first season, and unfortunately it would appear all of the negative reviews thus far have been from people who gave up far too early. Arrested Development is still as fantastic as every; it is just not fantastic in the same way. Expand
  14. May 28, 2013
    I will most likely be one of the few to say that this fourth season of Arrested Development is even better than the three seasons that came before it. This season turns the potential downside of a busy cast who can't all feature in every episode into a brilliant, complex web of absurd situations, hysterical running jokes, and meta-humor at its finest.

    This season takes full advantage of
    the all-at-once release to build a detailed, complex storyline. Fans of Arrested Development know that a fair opinion of this show can't be constructed from viewing only one or two episodes, and this season is no different. The beauty of this season can only be truly appreciated when taken as a whole. It's actually a lot like the Christopher Nolan classic Memento; you don't get the full picture until the credits roll, and even then its complexity warrants a few more viewings. Arrested Development in its finest moments has resembled this piecewise format, in which individual parts, somewhat funny on their own, eventually meld to become something beyond hysterical. The best example I can think of: the episode in Season 3 involving, Mr. F, Tiny Town, and George-Michael's jetpack. If you haven't seen it, you must; it's one of the funniest moments of the show. If you have, you know exactly what I mean.

    Don't give up on this season after three episodes. Sticking to it all the way was one of the most rewarding television experiences I've had in a very long time.
  15. May 28, 2013
    Like the first 3 seasons, season 4 has been judged too quickly, even from the first minute it was released. As AD fans, we all know that the show cannot be judged so quickly. This is a show that came before it's time and was misunderstood. That may apply to this season as well. I was given the AD box set right after the series ended and I was initially dumbfounded as to how the show was praised so much. As I kept watching, I started to realize the complexity of the jokes and by the end of the first season I couldn't believe how good it was. Having watched every episode 6-8 times, I can tell you it was better the 6th time than it was the 1st or 2nd (or 5th).

    So my anticipation was off the charts as season 4 approached, and I haven't been disappointed. Is it as good as the original series? No, it's not. But it was worth it to come back. Expectations were so high that it reminded me of other times where expectations could never be met due to what was achieved in the past (LOST, The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling, Seinfeld on Curb, or when one of your favorite bands has a great album and then 3 years later releases a disappointing album). It starts slow, particularly the first 2 episodes, as it needs to establish some ground first. But it picks up and has some of that classic Arrested Development humor. The inability to get the actors together hurts the show because almost all of the jokes in the original series were characters interacting. Some characters can carry a show, and some simply can't. Tobias, Gob, and Buster can carry an episode, their characters were good no matter how much screen time they got. David Cross and Will Arnett continue to be brilliant in their roles. George Sr. is incapable of carrying his own episode. He had a good character, but clearly he was best with 5 minutes of screen time an episode, mostly to further the story. Michael is funny because of how he works off the family. Here, he has no one to work off of and a great character is mostly wasted. The main actors easily slide back into their characters. Michael Cera now towers over everyone and AIi has grown up as expected, but the rest look the same. Actually, I am disappointed in Portia for clearly getting plastic surgery. Very disappointing from a beautiful woman. I enjoyed the cameos (hello, Isla Fisher) and did not feel they distracted too much. And wow, I did not recognize the actor that plays Steve Holt. Even after looking it up to confirm, I am still not convinced.

    I have even more respect for Arrested Development and Mitch Hurwitz than I did before Season 4. The ambition that he has shown with this season is unheard of. He (or they) could have played it safe and tried to copy what made them successful, but they came up with an amazing premise that (mostly) makes sense. So if Season 4 is a B+ for me, it is still well above anything else on TV today. Arrested Development has arrested the development of any other comedies entertaining me. Nothing (save for Seinfeld) can even come close for me. I hope this isn't the end of the Bluths.
  16. May 28, 2013
    I agree with some of the other viewers. It takes about 4 or 5 episodes to get into this season. Once you are there... you will know it. Hilarious! AD is back baby!!
  17. May 28, 2013
    There was so much hype for this season that I expected to be disappointed. At first I was a little disappointed. The first George Sr. episode was particularly disheartening, however, Arrested Development season 4 snowballs as it progresses, and by the end I felt it was an avalanche of hilarity.

    There will always be naysayers when something this hyped is released. There will always be
    people jumping off the wagon, and people who claim that their beloved programs have changed for the worse. Take a step back and look at what Hurwitz and the cast have achieved. They are resurrected, and they have created more great moments after years of death.

    This season is unique. Each episode is a puzzle piece, and though the pieces are funny in and of themselves, when the puzzle becomes a whole, it is brilliant to behold. Like other Arrested Development seasons, this season will only become funnier with repeat viewings. I for one hope that this is only the beginning and that more Arrested Development will arrive in due time.

    Ignore the naysayers. It is their loss anyways. This show is still great, and the new format adds an element of intrigue. Slightly less than perfect, but I'll still round up to a 10, instead of down to a 9. Great. The final scene of the season is a perfect Arrested Development moment, and it was a long time coming.

    I think I just blue myself.
  18. May 28, 2013
    Incredible. Though the initial few episodes are somewhat underwhelming, the show picks up steam after the first three or so episodes and is a pure delight to watch. For AD fans, it's a little different feeling this time around, it's a little darker, and much more plot eccentric. That's not a bad thing though, the show is beyond clever, there are so many jokes and gags that just make you smile. The way the plot is put together and how everyone's story loops in with each other is phenomenal. Every character has their moment to shine and they all come into those moments. Gobs first episode is a favorite and I was laughing the entire time. It's good to have AD back, hell I got Netflix just for this. Expand
  19. May 28, 2013
    I'll sum this up for you: Critics are afraid of the change that this kind of TV material represents. Why? Because its form is relatively unknown. But the brain trust behind this show created this living thing that adapts to the ground where it's stands. While writing for TV seems like a race to see who makes time go faster, this show wanted time to slow down. Is it a bad thing? Only if you you're the kind of person that wants to fast forward to the end of the movie to know what happened in the end. But...

    Is that LIFE?

    That's what this season feels like. It feels ALIVE!
  20. May 28, 2013
    This is not the old show. There are the same elements that made the original series what it was, but everything else is different. If you go in expecting the quick paced joke machine with a half-dozen stories per episode, then you're going to be different. In fact, I would barely call this comedic genius. What it is instead is an ambitious exercise in storytelling, and a three-dimensional puzzle that has seldom been attempted on the same scale. Yes, there are some of the same gags, some new ones too, some great jokes, and some ones that don't always land. It is not without flaws, but this some of the best material ever been produced. It requires patience, and even multiple viewings. It is all completely rewarding and a great service to fans and Bluths alike. Expand
  21. May 28, 2013
    Season 4 is not as good as the original. However it is still better than nearly any comedy currently on TV. There wasn't a bad episode in the original run. I didn't love the first 4 eps of season 4 as they dragged by (nature of the series structure), but the second half of the season was great.
  22. May 29, 2013
    It's a shame that people are posting reviews of the season having only watched around 3 episodes and being uninformed. The first episodes of the new season are the weakest and not that funny if you haven't watched the whole season. When you do, everything makes sense and they become more hilarious and genius. The reason why the episode format was focused on one character at a time was because the cast had many schedule issues, not because Netflix couldn't afford to pay them for the whole season. This is a new way of making television, and this season in particular cannot be reviewed as it was a normal tv season, since all the episodes were released at once and they complete each other in amazing ways.
    The general opinion is that this season is on par with season 1 at times and is definitely better than season 3. It's Arrested Development again. On the negative side, the editing of the episodes felt slopy and the writing also suffered for not having the original staff, but Netflix took the risk of making this experiment and it was a success.
  23. May 29, 2013
    Mitch Hurwitz is a genius. This hundreds of jokes, references, etc, that are perfect. The worst review is from the NYT Mike Hall, who pitifully ranked The Killing as the 5th best show of last year and disliked Rectified.
  24. May 29, 2013
    It's ANUStart for the show. It's almost like playing a game trying to figure out all the pieces of this huge Bluth puzzle and that's what makes this season so much fun.
  25. May 29, 2013
    This season takes a second to feel like the original show, but once it hits its stride, it fits right in with the older episodes. This season was filled with much of the same witty humor, clever writing, and zany antics of the Bluth family we have all come to know and love. Give this season, like any other, a second look and you will continue to discover the genius of this show.
  26. May 29, 2013
    It's odd. I am both simultaneously surprised and unsurprised by the somewhat negative and skeptical reviews this new season of AD has gotten. On one hand, despite a few weak episodes in the beginning, I am absolutely in love with this season. I adore the intricate, Rashomon-style story, the more desperate characters, the one-character-per-episode format, and the overall darker tone. On the other hand, it are these changes to the much-beloved Arrested format that are leaving quite a few fans and critics understandably dissatisfied with the new season. It's a different show now, and whatever or not these differences are welcomed depends on you. For me, however, and what seems like a majority of the show's fans, this new season most definitely does char our tree. Expand
  27. May 29, 2013
    This season is absolutely genius. They reveal everything perfectly, and I absolutely love the new formula. While it does take a little time to enjoy it, the beginning episodes are way better in the second viewing. This is for sure the best season this show has had.
  28. May 31, 2013
    The critics are fools. This show is just as brilliant as ever. I am in awe of how complex it must have been to craft the multi-threaded, interweaving story that unfolds over the course of the season. I am grateful to Netflix for bringing this show back to life what a treat.
  29. May 29, 2013
    Let's be fair here Those who fear change will always be the first and loudest ones to speak up.

    Clearly this show could not have been revived in the exact same format in which it began, as Mitch Hurwitz has never been interested in playing it safe. Season to season, Arrested Development evolved, and this fourth season is no exception.

    This new season, while still largely innovative
    and fresh, still has those same essential elements that made it successful in previous seasons Clever humor/layered jokes, interconnecting story-lines and plot-points, and character trademarks that made the show lovable and unique.

    Layered jokes They're all over the place. Jokes that only fully blossom after retracing the first three seasons, jokes that make more sense after watching all 15 episodes, and jokes that work well on their own. Perfection.

    Story-lines/Plot-points You can't judge any of this on one episode alone. Watch them ALL, and you'll get it. That's what we loved so much about AD in previous seasons, and that's what we get here. The BIG reveal. The kind of story that deserves to be told in a multi-part series, because there's so much to tell. I mean, the Pilot episode is probably one of my least favorite episodes. What if I had just dismissed the show right there at S01 E01, and said, "I don't get it"? So be patient, and give it a fair number of episodes before you judge it so harshly. If you do, you'll see that Mr. Hurwtiz delivers here in this department yet again.

    Trademarks The birds. The "Getaway/Get Away" song. Censoring the word "Google." All of these things (and so many more) are just as funny as any gag from the first seasons, and they show yet again why this season is on par with the Arrested Development we've come to love and cherish. People will be singing that "Getaway" song just as long as fans have been doing the chicken dance.

    To concerned fans All is well, and the season is great. Come join your favorite characters for more fantastic acting, more brilliant writing, and more classic dysfunction.

    And to these 11 haters Stop your boo-hooing. It might not be what you wanted, but it is what was needed. This is an experiment Not a greatest hits album. Sure, some fat could have been trimmed here and there. But in the end, it's still an experiment that is just as important and inventive as the first three seasons. With the movie (we hope), these episodes will make even more sense, and will demonstrate Mitch's genius even more so than this fourth season already has. Hurwitz has nothing to prove, and Arrested Development Season 4 shows just that.
  30. May 29, 2013
    HUGE HUGE fan of the show here. I felt that at first, the season started off weaker but after episode 4 or 5 it started to get progressively better. By episode 8 it really picked up and felt like the old AD I know and love. Basically the second half of the season is a complete masterpiece ON THE FIRST WATCH. I've started the season again and the first episodes make more sense and they definitely feel better, funnier, wittier. Truly a class act show. Fantastic. Wonderful. Excellent. Flawless. Expand

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: Ed Bark
    Jun 4, 2013
    Overall impression: look for them [the episodes] to get better, stronger and funnier.
  2. Reviewed by: Nick McCarthy
    May 30, 2013
    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.
  3. 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.