Friday, July 19, 2013

Video: "Arrested Development" season 4 review

Having season 4 of "Arrested Development" on Netflix should have been a beautiful thing. The streaming service resurrected one of my favorite all-time sitcoms, and made it so I could binge watch the heck out of it. So I knew something was off when I stopped after a few episodes, then begrudgingly, over a span of weeks, picked off the rest one by one.

In the video below, where I'm joined by Herald sports reporter and fellow "AD" fan Tommy Wright, I talk about why the season disappointed me so. The highlights:

-- It's clever, but not funny. One way to explain this is to say that the payoffs were not worth the setup. Mitch Hurwitz did a fine job of writing to the Netflix format -- where shows are meant to be watched in quick succession -- but seeing George Sr. act weird in episode X, then understanding why he acted that way is episode Y, does not retroactively make X's events funny.

-- Maybe the characters aren't likable enough to have a whole episode to themselves.

-- Longer episodes = more unnecessary stuff.

-- Too much narration.

It's nice that Jason Bateman was nominated for an Emmy, but this was not the season for it.

Jump to 13:14 below for more of my thoughts.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Big week for new shows

A week before our Big Week in Monterey County, summer TV is having a big week of its own. New series/movies/seasons to watch out for (check your listings for times):

Series premiere of "Camp" on NBC, a comedy-drama about life at a family summer camp starring Rachel Griffiths of "Six Feet Under." In general, reviews have been pretty lukewarm, so your better bet would be for ...

The series premiere of FX's "The Bridge," a serial killer thriller that spans the U.S.-Mexico border and digs into bigger issues like immigration, human trafficking and the drug war. Starring Demian Bichir ("A Better Life") and Diane Kruger ("Inglorious Basterds").

Series premiere of NBC's "Hollywood Game Night," the celeb-filled fun-fest that I initially scoffed at but am now excited for. Hosted by Jane Lynch.

"Orange is the New Black," the women's prison dramedy from "Weeds" creator Jenji Kohan, drops on Netflix.

And Syfy presents its original movie "Sharknado." No explanation needed.

"The Newsroom" starts its second season on HBO. Though its fluffery and needless love pentagons drove me to eye-rolling at times, Aaron Sorkin made some changes -- including hiring consultants and writing a season-long storyline that doesn't have to do with two-year-old news -- that make me optimistic for a better year.