Arts & Life, Music

Navigating Netflix: Arrested Development

After three seasons of critical success but missing the mark with wider audiences, Arrested Development disappeared from the airwaves. Ravenous fans hung on and it was finally announced that new episodes of Arrested Development would be made for Netflix. And it was finally confirmed on Monday that those episodes will air on Netflix Canada.

Arrested Development falls into an exclusive category of cult classic shows unceremoniously cancelled by Fox, only to be later resurrected. In case you’re wondering, that list also includes Family Guy and Futurama. The former was actually brought back by Fox and heralded the era of Seth McFarlane on Sunday nights. New episodes of the latter popped up on Comedy Central and heralded an era of decent TV on other evenings.

Arrested Development truly defined the value of an ensemble cast. Jason Bateman, whose career was resurrected by this show, is the lynchpin of the cast as Michael Bluth, the son and caretaker of his family of lunatics. Michael Cera, Jeffery Tambor, Jessica Walter, Will Arnett, Tony Hale, Portia de Rossi, David Cross and Ron Howard as the narrator all made this show great with astonishing ongoing performances. Key recurring characters played by Henry Winkler, Liza Minnelli, Judy Greer, Charlize Theron, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and more made this show pop beyond anything ever seen before.

The core of this show’s brilliance, and perhaps its difficulties in connecting with wider audiences, lies in how serialized it actually is. Multiple plots are often going on, some within one episode while others arc over several. Other plots lines started in episode one and pay off in the final episode of the series. This made it a fantastic show to watch due to the depth of the ongoing storytelling but hard to jump in on midway through the series. Netflix Canada is perfect for shows like this as you can watch the entire series at your own pace and enjoy it as a complete story.

With that in mind, here is a quick list of my favourite Arrested Development episodes…

Season One, Episode 8 – My Mother, the Car: Michael loses his short term memory and is cared for by his Mother, highlighting her disturbing parenting techniques, which includes blunt force trauma.

Season One, Episode 16 – Altar Egos & Episode 17 – Justice is Blind: These episodes mark the first appearance of Maggie Lizer played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, prosecuting attorney and love interest for Michael Bluth. Plus, Henry Winkler appears as the Bluth’s attorney Barry Zuckerkorn for an inept-off with Lizer.

Season Two, Episode 13 – Motherboy XXX: Lucille Bluth absconds with her Grandson in place of Buster to attend Motherboy, a disturbing Mother/Son beauty pageant. Motherboy is also the name of a metal band which leads to confusion for many…

Season Three, Episode 11 – Family Ties: Michael tracks down the woman he believes to be his sister, played by Justin Bateman’s real life sister Justine Bateman who starred in the 1980’s TV classic, Family Ties. Did that one wrinkle your brain a bit? Mitch Hurwitz’s brilliant creation returning with new episodes is big for anyone wondering what happened to the family after the season three series finale.

Initially, it was announced that these new episodes would not air on Netflix Canada but Monday’s announcement has changed that. Canadian fans will now have easy access to the next leg in the adventures of the Bluth family on Netflix Canada just like the three existing seasons already available. Now, someone just needs to make new episodes of Firefly and another of Fox’s tragic mistakes be corrected…