Arrested Development: Season Three

Arrested Development: Season Three
As the clock ticked on the life of Greatest Sitcom Ever, Arrested Development, creator Mitch Hurwitz pulled out all the comedic stops, making the very unpopularity of the Bluth family a key plot point throughout its final 13 episodes. Guest stars (Andy Richter playing himself as quintuplets) and more guest stars (Charlize Theron in one of the show’s more bizarre story arcs — and that’s saying something!) were paraded around, obnoxious stunts were attempted (3D segments, a hyped-about death, a live segment) and it still got canned. At the time, its very timeliness was a hoot — a joke about their company being bought out by the Home Business Organisation leads patriarch Jason Bateman as Michael Bluth to quip, "HBO doesn’t want us!” Even uncredited narrator Ron Howard pleads, "please tell your friends about this show.” Out of the spotlight and onto DVD, can its very responsiveness be a hindrance to the show’s spot in the all-time pantheon? Turns out it’s not — even absent the hoopla, the Bluth clan remains unmatched in absurd plot turns (various Bluths who aren’t really Bluths), long-running gags (Maeby’s ongoing work as a fake studio executive, the family stair car) and ridiculous guests (Happy Days alert: Henry Winkler departs and Scott Baio joins as family lawyer Bob Loblaw). The writers show remarkably deft hands at the subtle double entendre; the verbal interplay is one of the DVD’s joys, once the broader jokes are more familiar. The breakout cast (particularly cousins played by Michael Cera and Alia Shawkat, as well as brothers and in-laws Will Arnett, David Cross and Tony Hale) is one of the most talented ever assembled, and two-and-a-half seasons of brilliant, groundbreaking comedy attest to that. The extras include inside joke-heavy commentary on three eps, deleted and extended scenes, and a reasonable gag reel, as well as a poignantly filmed "last day on location.” (Fox)