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Arrested Development - Season Three



DVD Release Date: August 29, 2006 (20th Century Fox)
MSRP: $29.98
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 13
Running time: Approx. 285 Minutes
Audio Tracks: English Dolby Surround, Spanish Dolby Surround, French Dolby Surround
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Closed Captioned
Special Features:

  • Audio Commentary by Series Creator Mitchell Hurwitz and Stars Will Arnett, Jason Bateman, Michael Cera, David Cross, Tony Hale, Portia de Rossi, Alia Shawkat and Jessica Walter on "Forget Me Now," "Mr. F" and "Development Arrested"
  • 19 Deleted & Extended Scenes
  • Season 3 Blooper Reel
  • "The Last Day on Location" featurette


    In this Emmy-winning comedy's hilarious third (and final) season, Michael Bluth finally realizes that it's his Uncle Oscar serving time in prison, not his father. Reluctant to spring Oscar due to the effect it may have on the family business, Michael decides that the only fair thing to do is to find his father and place him under house arrest. Yet once found, George Sr. insists he was tricked into working with the Iraqis, leaving Michael no choice but to investigate his father's outrageous claim. But it isn't until Michael and Buster go to Iraq on a rescue mission to save Gob that the depth of the devious plot is revealed--and Michael learns which family member is the real brains behind all the madness.

    Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

    Arrested Development ran for 53 episodes on Fox from November 2, 2003 to February 10, 2006. It has won 6 Emmys to date, including Outstanding Comedy Series in 2004. The series also garnered Golden Globe wins, the presigious TV Land "Future Clasic" award, the AFI Program of the Year (2003), the Critics' Choice Award for Best Comedy and two TCA Awards for Outstanding New Program of the Year and Outstanding Comedy. Jason Bateman won a Golden Globe for Outstanding Actor in a Leading Role - Musical or Comedy Series in 2005. In 2006, it received 4 Emmy nominations: Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series, and Will Arnett for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. Despite receiving critical claim and attracting a cult fan base of over 4 million viewers each week in the third season, the show was cancelled by Fox.

    The third season premiered on September 19, 2005. Two more episodes would air before the baseball playoffs started on Fox. It returned for two episodes on November 7, 2005 before being pulled for the rest of sweeps. Four episodes aired in December and early January. The final four episodes of the series aired in a two-hour block on February 10, 2006.

    Despite having just 13 episodes, there were a number of memorable episodes in the third season. When Michael decides to marry his new British girlfriend, Rita, his family scoffs at the idea -- until they find out she's worth millions of dollars in "The Ocean Walker." In order to get enough money to hire a new family lawyer, everyone has to pitch in and prepare for the upcoming company fundraiser, aptly named "Save Our Bluths" in "S.O.B.s". Michael hires a woman who turns out to be his long-lost sister, Nellie, and who may be just what the company needs in "Family Ties." George-Michael's surprise birthday party for Maeby gets her in big trouble, and Michael and Buster make a startling discovery when they go to Iraq to rescue Gob in "Exit Strategy." Michael is relieved to have all the charges aginst his father dropped and is also shocked to learn who holds the real power in his dysfunctional family "Development Arrested."

    There were numerous recurring characters and notable guest stars this season. Henry Winkler returns as Barry Zuckerkorn for the final time in "The Cabin Show." The Blue Man Group play themselves in "The Cabin Show." Charlize Theron appeared as Rita and Dave Thomas was Trevor in 5 episodes: "For British Eyes Only," "Forget Me Now," "Notapusy," "Mr. F," and "The Ocean Walker." Harry Hamlin appeared as himself in "For British Eyes Only." Bob Einstein (Super Dave Osbourne) appeared in 5 episodes as Larry Middleman: "Forget Me Now," "Notapusy," "Mr. F," "The Ocean Walker," and "S.O.B's". Scott Baio was in 4 episodes as Bob Loblaw: "Forget Me Now," "Notapusy," "Mr. F," and "Making a Stand." Jeff Garlin guest starred in 3 episodes as Mort Meyers: "Mr. F," "Making a Stand," and "Development Arrested." Frankie Muniz appeared as himself in "Mr. F." James Lipton played Warden Gentles in "Prison Break-In." "S.O.B.s" featured numerous guest appearances and cameos: Andy Richter, Richard Belzer, Andy Dick, Ben Stiller (as Tony Wonder), John Larroquette, Zach Braff (as Phillip Litt), and Judge Reinhold. Bud Cort, William Hung, and Judge Reinhold appeared as themselves in "Fakin' It." Justine Bateman appears as the Bluth siblings' long-lost sister, Nellie, in "Family Ties." "Exit Strategy" featured appearances by Gary Cole as Richard Shaw and Richard Belzer as Detective Munch. This was the 7th show that Richard Belzer has played the Detective Munch character. Ed Begley, Jr. returned as Stan Sitwell in "Development Arrested." Jamie Kennedy appeared as himself in "Notapusy" and "Development Arrested." Ron Howard makes an on-camera cameo as himself in "Development Arrested."


    The packaging is very different compared to the first two seasons. There are only two discs this time -- compared to three for the first two seasons. This set comes in an Amaray movie-style case. There is an outer cardboard box. The Amaray case slides out from the top or bottom of the box. The outer cardboard box features a photo of Jason Bateman holding a paint roller. The other 8 cast members can be seen in the top left of the box, with an orange background. On the back of the box, there are small photos of guest stars Scott Baio and Justine Bateman. There is a photo of the cast standing on the Bluth Company stair car. A synopsis of the set, a listing of the special features, and the DVD specs are given. The Amaray case has the same photos and information. Once again, the predominant colors are black, orange, and white. Inside the case, there is a sheet that has a listing of the episodes, original airdates, writing and directing credits, and short summaries. Disc One is on one side and Disc Two on the other. There are various still images from the episodes and a listing of the special features. An additional sheet promotes some other Fox TV DVD releases, including the other seasons of Arrested Development. The discs are in an overlapping holder. The first disc is in an holder that you flip like a book. The second disc is held in the back of the case. The actual discs are very boring, with just the Arrested Development logo on them. Disc One has a white background and has Arrested Development in orange and black. It holds episodes episodes 1-7 Disc Two has an orange background and has Arrested Development in white and black. It holds episodes 8-13.

    Menu Design and Navigation:

    The main menus have had a similar look for all three seasons. The opening theme intro music is played in the background, with various video clips from the episodes playing in 2 different window boxes (much like you see in the show's opening credits). They rotate various solo photos of the cast members. The cast photos are on the left side on Disc One and right side on Disc Two. The Arrested Development logo, in red and black, is on left and right side of the screen. There are options for "Play All," "Episode Selection," "Language Selection," and "Special Features" on both discs. When you choose Episode Selection, it takes you to a sub-meu where the episode titles are listed vertically in red. There is a different still image from each episode as you highlight them. The episode title is highlighted in an orange bar and there is a red arrow next you your selection. When you select an episode, the orange highlighted bar turns light blue and the red arrow turns orange. The Language Selection sub-menu has a photo of Tobias in a blonde wig on Disc One and Gob and Mr. Franklin on Disc Two. You can select from English Dolby Surround, Spanish Dolby Surround, or French Dolby Surround. The episodes with commentaries are listed. Subtitles are available in English or Spanish. Michael is featured on the Disc One Special Features menu, and Buster is on Disc Two. I like that all of the menus feature David Schwartz's great music cues on them. It is too bad there isn't a special section for his music like the season one set. Chapter stops are available in all of the episodes.

    Video and Audio Quality:

    All three seasons have featured outstanding video and audio quality. The episodes were shot with a hand held Panasonic High Definition camera (widescreen 1.78:1) that gives them a documentary film look. The picture looks very sharp and is on par with the HD broadcasts. The audio is in Dolby Surround, and there are no major problems with it and it gets the job done. Three audio options are available: English Dolby Surround, Spanish Dolby Surround, and French Dolby Surround. Subtitles are available in English and Spanish. It seems like they dropped the French subtitles this time around. They were available for the first two seasons. Closed captioning is available on all of the episodes. All episodes appear to be unedited, running just under 22 minutes. The profanity that is bleeped in the original broadcasts is also bleeped on the DVDs. They have no problem with swearing on the special features though, lol.

    Here is the breakdown by disc, including the original airdates and running times:

    Disc 1
    41. The Cabin Show (09/19/05) (21:57)
    42. For British Eyes Only (09/26/05) (21:58)
    43. Forget Me Now (10/03/05) (21:59)
    44. Notapusy (11/07/05) (21:57)
    45. Mr. F (11/07/05) (21:58)
    46. The Ocean Walker (12/05/05) (21:59)
    47. Prison Break-In (12/12/05) (21:59)

    Disc 2
    48. Making a Stand (12/19/05) (21:58)
    49. S.O.B.s (01/02/06) (21:57)
    50. Fakin' It (02/10/06) (21:55)
    51. Family Ties (02/10/06) (21:45)
    52. Exit Strategy (02/10/06) (21:59)
    53. Development Arrested (02/10/06) (22:23)

    Special Features:

    We've seen a decreasing number of special features for each season. Season One started out great, with tons of featurettes and additional material. Season Two had a pretty good amount, but they weren't nearly as impressive as the Season One lineup. With Season Three having only 13 episodes, I thought this set might get the best treatment. The special features on this set are fun to watch. I was just expecting a lot more of them.

    Series Creator Mitchell Hurwitz and Actors Will Arnett, Jason Bateman, Michael Cera, David Cross, Tony Hale, Portia de Rossi, Alia Shawkat and Jessica Walter provide audio commentaries for 3 episodes: "Forget Me Now," "Mr. F," and " "Development Arrested." These commentaries were fun to listen to as the cast seems like a family and likes to joke around with each other. It was funny how they poked fun of Sons & Daughters and background actors a couple of times. It's too bad Jeffrey Tambor wasn't there for any of the commentaries, although they did try to call him during of them. They won't provide a lot of technical details or tons of trivia facts about the episodes. The commentaries were done via a telephone conference call. David, Will and Jessica were in New York to do the commentaries. Michael was in Canada. The rest were in Los Angeles.

    There are 19 deleted & extended scenes that run a combined total of nearly 15 minutes. With only 21-22 minutes to work with each week, a lot of funny stuff ended up on the cutting room floor, so it is nice to see some of these scenes on the set. They are included for 11 of the 13 episodes. Only "Forget Me Now" and "Notapusy" don't have any. Mitchell Hurwitz provides the narration for the majority of the scenes. Disc Two has the Season Three Blooper Reel and "The Last Day on Location" featurette.

    Disc 1 - Deleted & Extended Scenes
    The Cabin Show - 1 scene (:19)
    For British Eyes Only - 2 scenes (3:04)
    Mr. F - 2 scenes (1:00)
    The Ocean Walker - 3 scenes (1:33)
    Prison Break-In - 1 scene (:22)

    Disc 2 - Deleted & Extended Scenes
    Making A Stand - 1 scene (:20)
    S.O.B.s - 1 scene (1:03)
    Fakin' It - 3 scenes (3:35)
    Family Ties - 2 scenes (1:11)
    Exit Strategy - 2 scenes (1:30)
    Development Arrested - 1 scene (:48)

    Season Three Blooper Reel - Disc 2 (7:03) - These bloopers were hilarious to watch. There was a lot of unbleeped profanity in them at the start. I think there was a Jeffrey Tambor song used for part of it. The last part had some kind of disco song. Very nicely edited together.

    "The Last Day on Location" featurette - Disc 2 (7:36) - Documentary-style footage of the last day on location on the Queen Mary. Jason Bateman is interviewed several times and talks about what he will miss the most and his experiences on the show. There are a couple of songs used in the featurette that helped set the tone with some montages. It was fun to see some behind the scenes type footage. I'm sure they shot lots more footage. I would have liked to see it.

    Final Comments:

    It was a great but all-too-brief run. I loved season one of Arrested Development. Season two suffered a bit of a sophomore slump, but it was still better than most shows on television. I have to say season three was my least favorite. A lot of that was caused by Fox's treatment of the show. They should have never started it before the baseball playoffs, and it was never really marketed properly. It was hard to follow the episodes on Fox, but they flow much better on DVD and you can follow the story arcs. It started out a little slow at the start of the season, but the last 3-4 episodes were probably my favorites and wrapped up the show nicely. 13 episodes was simply not enough to quench my thirst.

    Fox did a great job with all 3 season releases. At least we have all 53 episodes on DVD and cult fans can enjoy them again and again, and new fans can discover them. If you are a new fan, I would recommend you check out seasons 1-2 first. I thought there was a good chance that the show was going to be picked up by Showtime, but it was not meant to be. Maybe we'll see a feature film some day.

    It was the best sitcom since Seinfeld... it was Arrested Development.

    Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)

    Video Quality: 5/5
    Audio Quality: 5/5
    Special Features: 3/5
    Menu Design/Navigation: 5/5
    Overall: 4/5

    -- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 08/23/06

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