DVDs in Review #4 - Arrested Development

Category: , , , By Rev/Views

Arrested Development is the best comedy show to ever get cancelled. Probably the best comedy show of the past ten years. Time for it's DVDs to get assessed..


Arrested Development's packaging isn't really anything that special, the first two seasons come with a cardboard dust sleeve and inside the main box is plastic with the middle cd flip thing so it can hold all 4 DVDs. The first season's box has a decent sized booklet that contains all the episodes and also has a nice large backdrop image on the reverse side of the slip. The second season has less of this and it's clear that Fox decided to spend less, quell surprise there eh?
The Third season is even worse off, the season was cut short so it fits onto just two DVDs and the packaging is really skimped on. It's almost suprising that Fox bothered to release the DVD at all.

(I really hate giving it this score, but the packaging is a reflection on how poorly Fox considers this show.)


Happily the features section of each DVD is not so badly treated. This is where the creators and cast had the opportunity to take control and the quality starts to shine. We're treated to an extended pilot episode, selected episodes with audio commentaries, behind the scenes featurettes, bloopers, Ron Howard's inside look, deleted scenes, original songs and the featurette showing the last day of on location filming.
The commentary isn't bad. It's not up to the standard that Futurama set, but it's still interesting enough to warrant a listen.



Arrested Development is one of those shows. What do I mean by that? It's one of the best shows you've probably never seen (Along with gems like The Wire). I still don't quite understand how it failed and why it was so badly treated by Fox. It's one of the premium examples of quality comedy, I'd hold it up alongside Fawlty Towers at times - it's that damn good. It's simply the funniest thing I've watched ever. But yet hardly anyone has watched it and people still haven't twigged about how good it is.
I find it incredibly frustrating to constantly find people looking blank when I talk about the show. I can understand why not everyone watches The Wire, it's a hard show to get into and it's a little too real and intelligent for many people who want asinine rubbish like CSI drip-fed into their brains instead. But Arrested Development is accessable to all while remaining intelligent enough that you can still be discovering new jokes on the 3rd or 4th watching of it all. The sheer quantity of call-backs and even better call-forwards that this show uses is incredible, it has incredible continuity and subtle jokes are all over the place.

Plus, how can you not love a show that has a character who uses this as his business card to advertise his training as a therapist and an analysist?

Yes, that's right. It does indeed have this card shown in the show.

The show is so good I'm giving it a bonus point for being that brilliant. Specifically for the Season 2 jokes involving Buster, his mother and an animal (avoiding spoilers there as much as possible).



Sadly, it ain't cheap to get this show. Outside of dropped sale prices you're looking at £28 per season for a grand total of £86. You get 53 episodes for that price because once again Fox screwed over the show and shorted their second and third season run lengths. F***ing criminal.

The total running time is just over 19 hours which sadly works out at 7.5p per minute. Which is massive compared to the previous scores (5p, 5p and 2p). While every minute is total quality and it's worth paying this price, I can't score it higher than a seven and if I'm honest it deserves the following score...



The problem here is the show is amazing and well worth getting. But Fox have treated it like total s**t at every opportunity. Even when producing the DVDs they still feel a need to stiff the loyal viewer and try and screw them over.
I wish HBO had aired Arrested Development, they understand quality programming.

Packaging: 5/10
Features: 9/10
Show: 11/10
Price: 6/10

Final score: 77.5%

Note: It's not the fault of the creators of this fine show that it's scored only 77.5%, it's Fox that have managed to drive the score down. Maybe they'll wise up and release a nice smart "Complete Series" box for about £60 and then I can revisit the scores for Price + Packaging and give this show the score it really deserves. Because I feel ashamed at myself for scoring this one so low.

In fact it leaves me feeling:


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