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Universal acclaim- based on 262 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 21 out of 262

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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 27, 2013
    Very disappointing, the show has strayed from its original formula and quality writing. Scenes are drawn out and uncomfortable to watch and the humor is just not there. The characters behavior is not consistent with the rest of the series and is all around a poor reboot of a beloved comedy show.
  8. 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
  9. 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.
  10. 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
  11. 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!
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. May 27, 2013
    I cannot believe that one of the best comedies in the history of television was turned into a pile of crap. And the idea of giving focus to one character in each episode sucks too.

    I do hope that the rest of the episodes are better.
  15. 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
  16. 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.
  17. May 27, 2013
    There was still some great wit in this revival, but the overall tone was depressing as nearly every character is in bad shape. The episodes are also split so that whole episodes focus on one character and some of the characters (like Tobias) are hard to take for that long. I won't give up on this show if they continue on with more seasons, but this one feels like a failure.
  18. 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.
  19. 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!!
  20. Jun 5, 2013
    Season 4 feels like the remake of a movie that doesn't need to be remade, Arrested Development season 4 falls short on nearly all cylinders and either completely fails or tries far too hard at trying to force a laugh.

    After sitting down with my entire family and watching the first couple episodes of this season I can say it was extremely boring and mildly funny. I love the narration,
    but they couldn't get the entire cast together not even for one episode this season which made me feel empty and really dissapointed inside. Expand
  21. 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.
  22. 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
  23. 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!
  24. BKM
    May 28, 2013
    The long awaited fourth season of Arrested Development isn't perfect; some jokes fall flat and others don't pay off until several episodes in. The narrative structure also requires a lot of patience as the numerous plot threads take time to start weaving together to provide a bigger picture. But once it hits its stride, this new season is uproariously funny and endlessly inventive and any fears about resurrecting it after such a long hiatus are put to rest. Collapse
  25. 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
  26. May 28, 2013
    I loved the first three season and would prefer to watch one of them again. The decision to focus on one character per episode was a poor one because each character is great only in short doses. The story used to weave the characters together over one episode but not that weaving is over the full season and feels long winded. It like they stretched three episodes of material over the whole season.

    Also the jokes like hot ham water or the cornballer that are easy to share with friends are gone as are the fun catchphrases and supporting characters. Nothing in this season deserves to be put on a shirt!

    The only reasons I finished the season was because I paid for Netflix just for the show.
  27. May 28, 2013
    Taken from the first 5 episodes of the 4th season. Season 1-3 10/10

    What have they done, in the effort to bring it back on Netflix, they clearly havent had the money to get every cast member involved, so thats led to this awful new one character per episode format.
    Sadly, these characters are not funny on their own, they go about boring lives. The glory of this comedy was putting them
    in a room, and watching them scheme and fight and joke off each other.

    The very first episode is one of the most boring 30 minutes of my life, awful writing, boring scenes and story. A forced Loose Seal reference, forced cancelled references, dumb facebook joke, terrible young versions of characters, over narration. George Michael also feels too old to be the hilarious Cera character.
    This show has gone horribly away from what made it so good.
  28. May 28, 2013
    The highly anticipated 4th series has arrived! I loved the first 3 seasons and Season 4 is pretty good (not great). The run time is really energy draining but I love the writing format of this season. It's great to see the old cast back together again and seeing a show that can stick in little references that no one else would catch (Being John Malkovich). I thank Netflix for giving this show another run and giving us a comedy that we will enjoy! Expand
  29. 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.
  30. 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.

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.