- Jun 24, 2003
- Real Name
- Michael Osadciw
Studio: 20th Century Fox Television
Air Date: 2003 - 2004
U.S. Rating: NR
Canadian Rating: NR
Total Disc Length: 491 minutes
Aspect Ratio:[*] 1.78:1 widescreen enhanced
Audio:[*] English Dolby Digital 3.0 Surround
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
Closed Captioned: Yes
SLP: US $39.98
Release Date: October 19, 2004
Show Rating: :star: :star: :star: :star: / :star: :star: :star: :star: :star:
Starring: Jason Bateman (Michael Bluth), Portia de Rossi (Lindsay Bluth Fûnke), Will Arnett (George Oscar “Gob” Bluth), Michael Cera (George-Michael Bluth), Alia Shawkat (Mae “Maeby” Fûnke), Tony Hale (Byron “Buster” Bluth), David Cross (Tobias Fûnke), Jeffrey Tambor (George Bluth Sr./Oscar Bluth), Jessica Walter (Lucille Bluth)
Created by: Mitchell Hurwitz
Welcome to reality-sitcom: when reality TV really isn’t reality, but scripted instead. But that’s okay – it’s more entertaining, it’s funny and witty, and much more entertaining! The star of Arrested Development is Michael Bluth. He wants nothing more in life than to run his father’s housing development business. He is one of four siblings in the family - he’s smart and sensible, and is business-minded and overly qualified to take his father’s wealthy business into his hands. He is contrasted to the rest of them who are lazy, unqualified, or too freakin’ weird to take a serious position in the company, or any other job for that matter. All but Michael, (including Michael’s mother) have been digging deep into the business coffers and spending it without any accountability or remorse. Michael plans to change this once his father announces who will take his place when he steps down.
Unfortunately for Michael, this doesn’t happen. The pilot episode begins at this point in time. Michael is distraught to see his irresponsible mother next in line and he doesn’t see his father’s reasoning in his choice. But maybe his father has a bigger plan in mind after all – the feds are after the business for tax evasion so there is plenty of trouble ahead. In any case, he chooses to leave his family for a job out of state until he is persuaded by them to stay and help run the business. Only at the end do they ask Michael, once the family realizes they aren’t qualified to operate the business. With sarcastic delight he agrees to stay and help. Michael’s job in the remainder of the season is to run the business and to keep his “abnormal” family together.
Produced by Director Ron Howard, this is a hilarious sitcom sans the laugh track. The characters are personal and very strange too. Some are so strange in fact that they make the show. The feeling of discomfort between family members is highly apparent, I felt as if I were in the family myself! If you’ve never seen an episode on TV, I’d advise you to pick this 3-disc set up.
The pilot episode is shown in its aired form and a creator’s cut, the latter containing an additional 7 minutes of scenes and course language not on broadcast TV.
Episodes are as follows:
DISC 1: Episodes
[*]Creator's Cut Pilot (unaired)[*]Pilot[*]Top Banana[*]Bringing Up Buster[*]Key Decisions[*]Visiting Ours[*]Charity Drive
DISC 2: Episodes
[*]My Mother the Car[*]In God We Trust[*]Storming the Castle[*]Pier Pressure[*]Public Relations[*]Marta Complex[*]Beef Consomme[*]Shock and Aww
DISC 3: Episodes
[*]Staff Infection[*]Missing Kitty[*]Altar Egos[*]Justice is Blind[*]Best Man for the Gob[*]Whistler's Mother[*]Not Without My Daughter[*]Let Them Eat Cake
VIDEO QUALITY :star: :star: :star: :star: / :star: :star: :star: :star: :star:
Arrested Development was shot using High Definition video cameras in a ‘reality TV’ POV style. Watching the show is somewhat of a head-bobbing experience while trying to follow the action on screen. While all episodes are like this, it is never fatiguing – and for those of you who are used to watching reality TV everyday, this show is a piece of cake.
The video quality presented on this disc has been down converted to standard definition. The resulting picture on the DVD is pleasing exhibiting an eye-popping picture that is much defined. I can only imagine how good the High Definition video would look on and HD disc medium. Colours look great and white portions of the picture stand out from black mimicking contrast levels close to reality. Thankfully edge enhancement/ghosting and compression artefacts are rarely noticed in this pleasing DVD transfer.
AUDIO QUALITY :star: :star:
The audio for Season One is satisfactory. As expected, this Dolby Surround 3.0 soundtrack is center-channel biased with mostly music spread across the front soundstage. I was surprised to hear LF/RF having a lot of bass for those music sequences. It gave my subwoofers a nice tight workout. Surround ambience is very subtle. I could barely detect much coming from the surround channels. Interestingly, the pilot episode has a lot of distortion and noise around the dialogue in the center speaker. Much of it could have been taken directly from the actors while on the set because it’s tonal quality is very different from the remainder of the series which sounds more closely mic’d (or ADR?).
SPECIAL FEATURES :star: :star: :star: :star: :star: / :star: :star: :star: :star: :star:
All three discs have a boatload of special features. Disc one has an Introduction by Ron Howard and a commentary on the extended pilot with creator Mitchell Hurwitz, directors Joe Russo and Anthony Russo and actor Jason Bateman. Also included are a wealth of deleted and extended scenes for “Top Banana”, “Bringing Up Buster”, “Key Decisions” and “Visiting Ours”. They are presented in 4:3 and in DD2.0 and don’t look nearly as good as the episodes themselves. The scenes are narrated by Mitchell Hurwitz and editor Steven Sprung. Some scenes are funny, and of course there are others that just should have been cut. Next is an approximately 15 minute documentary titled Breaking Ground: Behind the Scenes of Arrested Development. It explores the origins of the show and contains interviews with the creators, actors, and gives examples of screen tests and editing. Very interesting. Lastly, disc one features all of the original songs by David Schwartz. There are 28 songs containing audio only and are played back in Dolby Digital 2.0. They aren’t very long, each musical short lasting between 3 seconds up to a minute and a half.
Disc 2 contains a commentary on the episode “Beef Consomme” by creator Mitchell Hurwitz and actors Jason Bateman, Portia de Rossi, Will Arnett, Tony Hale, Michael Cera, Alia Shawkat, Jessica Walter, Jeffrey Tambor, and David Cross. While sometimes they have something important to say, they mostly laugh through the show as they watch it. I’ve spent my time better…
As in the first disc, there are plenty of deleted and extended scenes for “My Mother the Car”, “In God We Trust”, “Storming the Castle”, “Marta Complex”, “Beef Consomme” and “Shock and Aww”. They are shown to us in the same form as on disc one with narration by Ron Howard, Mitchell Hurwitz and editors Lee Haxall and Steven Sprung.
The last feature on this disc is a lengthy piece from The Museum of Television & Radio. It’s a Q&A with Creator Mitchell Hurwitz and the cast of Arrested Development. Audience members are encouraged to ask the cast and creators (who are sitting on stage) questions about the show. Frankly, I’m not sure why this took place or who went to see it, but sure enough it is included on this disc.
Even though I didn’t receive disc three for screening, this disc contains a commentary by creator Mitchell Hurwitz and actors Jason Bateman, Portia de Rossi, Will Arnett, Tony Hale, Michael Cera, Alia Shawkat, Jessica Walter, Jeffrey Tambor, and David Cross on the episode “Let Them Eat Cake”. There are deleted and extended scenes for episodes “Staff Infection”, “Missing Kitty”, “Altar Egos” and “Best Man for the Gob”. There are two TV Land specials - Arrested Development: The Making of a Future Classic and TV Land Awards - The Future Classic Award. Ron Howard also gives us a sneak peek of Arrested Development: Season 2. Finally, there is an Arrested Development Promo Blind(?) and an Easter Egg of a Tobias Outtake.
IN THE END…
For those of you who want to break away from the tradition sitcom structure and who are obsessed with reality TV, Arrested Development is for you. For those of you who just can’t stand reality TV (like me, who prefers to watch my reality life than someone else’s), this show is a refresher to what is typically on the tube. Directed to a more mature audience, adults will certainly sympathize with Michael’s struggles in keeping his family together and the business afloat. We can all relate to at least one character on the show, after all, even scripted shows are based on our everyday reality life.