'Arrested Development," a series beloved by a very few number of people, last aired on Fox on Feb. 10, 2006, closing with the words by co-producer and narrator Ron Howard that "maybe there should be a movie."
No movie, but the series is back on Netflix -- all new 15 fourth season episodes available Sunday. And even with its idiosyncratic circuitry of logic, humor, plot and character unlike anything else on TV, the production of "Arrested Development" must be like riding a bike -- once learned, never forgotten -- because the new version is exactly right: right tone, flavor, approach and story. Fans who eagerly worked through all 15 episodes Sunday are probably elated -- exhausted but elated.
Netflix didn't send out episodes for review because creator Matthew Hurwitz (veteran "Arrested Development" writer Jim Vallely is also behind this) argued that the 15 episodes, each covering the story of each Bluth family member since the 2006 cancellation, needed to be seen together because the stories are interrelated. In fact, fans can dip in anywhere. The first episode covered the story of Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman), still a helicopter parent hovering over George Michael (Michael Cera), now at UC Irvine. In the second, twins Oscar and George Sr. (both played by Jeffrey Tambor) were running a sweat lodge in Arizona -- long story but of course there was a scam involved.
The new season includes major star cameos, including Kristen Wiig and Seth Rogen as the younger Lucille (Jessica Walter) and George Sr. Liza Minnelli reprised her role as "Lucille II," and Henry Winkler was back as the sub-competent family lawyer, Barry Zuckerkorn.
It was just like old times, and the times remain very, very good.