After almost fifteen years since the show begun, and although it has been five years since the release of Season 4; Arrested Development is back and Season 5 picks up right where it finished, continuing the story and giving us more of what we had hoped Season 4 would be. If you are a fan of the show, there are glimpses and sparks that remind you of the fantastic first two seasons (I was too young to pretend I watched those when it came out, instead binging the entire show after the release of the fourth season like so many others). All your favourite Bluths are back and they are finally together, right after the creators learnt a very important and valuable lesson; ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’, as they revert to standard storytelling and put the family back in the limelight as supposed to having an individual family member hog the light and rely on Rob Howard’s narration to glue the show together. The season’s main story line is a whodunit, with the sudden and very coincidental disappearance of Lucille 2 during her campaign paving the way for Lindsey to run unopposed. After taking some time for himself, Micheal returns a month later to find his family in apparel.
It is so hard to do a review for Arrested Development season 5, for many reasons. First, it is from a different era, it is from a time where it lead the way, paved the way for (I could argue) the sitcoms we have got today. It also revolutionised what we want from our sitcoms and is arguably made to binge. Secondly, it has been so long and it is now such a complicated show that just to review it seems incredibly hard, as I said it was released fifteen years ago; the cast has moved on, the world seems to have moved on – so the return of the show seems un-necessary to begin with. Which leads nicely into the third reason why, season 4 was just so different and out there, that season 5 isn’t really able to stand on its own as it has to explain what had happened after that disastrous season 4; carrying on many subplots that I along others weren’t fans off – what the hell is happening in Mexico? And, finally it is just half of the season, meaning that everything can change in the next eight episodes. But,
And, although I am seeing otherwise, I think it is a return to form but not by much if I was being brutally honest, and nowhere near the original run. Don’t get me wrong it is fun and good but it just doesn’t have the same flair and for me, it still relies too heavily on the narration to carry the story line and as I said it can’t stand on its own two feet and isn’t able to move on. I was hoping that the fifth season would be a whodunit mystery, the cast was all together which was good but I was hoping that, a whodunit would be the main plot point. Another real big problem is the timeline, so much seems to have happened yet it is only in a two month span. I understand I am being extremely harsh, especially considering how the cast each have their own individual careers. But, honestly something just seemed as though it was missing throughout the season and just didn’t seem as though it was up-to-date.
The actual story itself gets a little confusing, sorry; but I didn’t have time to watch the remixed version of Season 4, and instead cracked on with Season 5. So, after I finally forgot everything I hated about the fourth season, season 5 has to address it. I THOUGHT WE WERE DONE WITH THOSE FARM PEOPLE! And how many times do we go to Mexico? But, I do need to praise the show, at the very least it does course correct some of the fundamental issues of the fourth season. The whole cast is back together, playing off each other and there is a coherent story that I can follow the episode from episode. That being said, one of the biggest problems the show is facing is it’s storytelling, it relies on the narration too much and it is all a bit of a mess. The season doesn’t have one clear goal, it isn’t able to zone in on what it wants to do, the show is centred on Micheal picking the pieces up of his family, and in this half a season it doesn’t seem as though he has done that, there are three plots running through this seasons veins and neither are given enough time. The whodunit is pushed to the back, Lindsey’s campaign run is forgot about when she runs away, and Buster’s disappearance. But, once again, this is all down to the split of the season, as undoubtedly by the season finale this questions will be answered
Furthermore, when it comes to reviewing this season, I kind of turn the review into something else, into a different topic. By, that I mean – I think we need to ask whether giving great shows more seasons ten years later will still work. It is happening all over the place, and it just hasn’t worked for Arrested Development, and it just seems like it isn’t living up to the legacy it had created beforehand. Saying all that, I do believe that Season 5 is hindered by Season 4; not allowing it to stand on its own two feet, and is also hindered in how it feels un-complete.
Regardless of how the season is delivered to us, it is a return to form but it can’t be considered a massive hit as it seems it is just the first half of the story, and the second half is what we undoubtedly determine the score of the season.