Netflix released the new season of Arrested Development today and I’ve made it through seven episodes. I’m going to share my initial reaction but try to keep things spoiler free.

I’ve been watching it with one of my roommates and we can’t get over how bizarre the show feels. It’s not bad, just very strange. It think some of the weirdness comes from:

  • A focus of one character per episode. The characters are all very idiosyncratic and each adds a different type of humor to the show. With an emphasis on just one character, each episode can feel a bit monotone.
  • Due to the one character structure, there is a ton of overlap between scenes of episodes. Often this is used to great comedic effect (reshowing a scene with some new information). Sometimes, though, I’ve noticed something odd in a scene and realized it’s just setup for something several episodes away; it’s just distracting.
  • Cutaways / recaps as if there were comercial breaks. Each episode has scenes which feel like they were supposed to break for commercial. This is very odd as the season was made for Netflix; perhaps their preparing for syndication? This is usually exacerbated by the next scene having a narration recap as if we’d been away for four minutes and need to be reminded what just happened.
  • The abundance of narration. It feels like there’s more voice over than in the old seasons. It could be that the narration is less necessary because each episode has a more linear plot. Also, see previous point.
  • Michael Bluth is much quirkier than in earlier seasons in which he’s usually the Straight Man.
  • The actors are older which is a little jarring. Most of the actors look similar but there there might be a bit of uncanny valley going on as the actors aren’t quite as they used to be… it doesn’t help that I finished rewatching the original series this morning.

So yeah… pretty weird so far. I’m not loving it but I am looking forward to watching the rest (probably tomorrow).