The Bluth family are back on our screens… sort of.
Inspired by Arrested Development’s fictional holiday Cino de Cuatro, series creator Mitchell Hurwitz celebrated with the Netflix release of Arrested Development Season Four Remix: Fateful Consequences, a remix version of the original season four.
Described by Hurwitz as a “comedic experiment” the remix returns to the show’s quirky brand of storytelling, replacing the season’s experimental Rashomon mode of storytelling (where the same events are shown through different perspectives).
Back in 2013, the Rashomon-influenced season four initially received a mixed audience reaction for the drastic change in format and tone when compared to the original critically acclaimed series.
Now that the remix season has rearranged the Bluth family’s escapades, has it fixed the divisive fourth season?
Within the first ten minutes of episode one (“Re Cap’n Bluth”) it’s clear that time and passion went into editing the season into chronological order. It has paid off tremendously.
The editing is sharper, more engaging and most importantly, funnier. Unlike the often dry season four, the moment episode one begins it feels like you’re watching Arrested Development and we’re immediately thrown back into the chaos of the dysfunctional Bluth family to see where the aftermath of the season three finale leads them.
Fateful Consequences effectively builds up to Cinco de Cuatro, a night that will change the Bluth’s lives forever.
The remix thrives on the ‘half-hour’ sitcom standard format (expanding the 15-episode season to 22-episodes), condensing the less interesting storylines to the bare minimum and highlighting the season’s combination of new comedic moments (Gob’s music inner crisis “Hello darkness my old friend…”) and classic running gags (“Her?”).
However, the remix’s welcomed return to form isn’t the perfect remedy to fixing season four.
Both versions suffer from a lack of gripping storylines due to season four’s one character per episode structure. Particularly in the latter half of the remix season, Ron Howard’s staple narration was heavily relied on to interweave the almost separate storylines together into one cohesive season.
Reconsidering season four’s creative structure, it wasn’t well-received by audiences because Arrested Development had an already established tone and formula.
Arrested’s particular style of comedy elevated the show to its cult status by creating a comedy populated with a combination of ever-building background, running gags and individually unique characters.
Arrested Development’s ongoing success can be credited to the chemistry between the pitch-perfect cast. Season four’s focus on an individual “arrested development” plot restricted the possibility of multiple character interactions in one scene and it’s interesting to see how the remix tries to fix this issue.
Unlike season four and the remix, the original series perfectly balanced each character’s screen time. Each Bluth member managed to make their own “huge mistakes” but they stuck together as families do.
With the release of a more traditional season five approaching, Arrested Development Season Four Remix: Fateful Consequences is a significantly more enjoyable and binge-worthy way to catch up on the story of one man trying to hold his family together.
Review Score: THREE AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Arrested Development Season 4 Remix: Fateful Consequences is now streaming on Netflix. Season 5 meanwhile launches on May 29th. You can watch the trailer below.