Arrested Development is an American TV comedy series created by Mitchell Hurwitz. It is produced by Ron Howard's company Imagine Entertainment. Howard also serves as the narrator for the series, and was a recurring character in Season 4.
The series deals with the wealthy but largely unethical Bluth family that lives in Southern California. Michael Bluth (a son of George and Lucille) tries to maintain his personal integrity while extracting the family from legal troubles and attempting to be a good single father to his son George-Michael.
The series was broadcast on the Fox network from 2003 to 2006. It had a relatively low viewership but was critically-acclaimed and received several awards including the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series for its first season. The show was cancelled after 3 seasons, but performed well on DVD and developed a cult following.
The show was revived in 2013 as a Netflix Original series, with all of the cast returning. A second season for Netflix was produced, with the first 8 episodes being released in May of 2018. The remaining 8 episodes were released on March 15th, 2019. Once again, the main cast all returned, though some appeared in a reduced capacity due to scheduling conflicts or other issues.
The show stars Jason Bateman, Michael Cera, Will Arnett (of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) and a large ensemble cast of regular and recurring performers (including Charlize Theron, Terry Crews, Carl Weathers, and James Lipton). Jessica Walter (who played Lucille Bluth) passed away in 2021, making the potential future of the series less clear.
- A subplot in Season 4 deals with Michael's brother-in-law Tobias (played by David Cross) befriending DeBrie (played by Maria Bamford), a drug addict and former actress. At some point in the past, DeBrie had starred in a low-budget film adaptation of Fantastic Four (inspired by the unreleased film version produced by Roger Corman). When a clip of the movie was shown (during Season 4, Episode 5 - "A New Start"), silhouettes of Joel, Tom and Crow were also visible on the screen, with Joel and Crow (played by Joel Hodgson and Trace Beaulieu) making jokes. Tom does not speak during the clip.
- A running gag on the series involves the Bluth family mocking Michael for his timidity by making exaggerated (and wildly inaccurate) chicken noises and motions. This was referred to in the Rifftrax for The Room.
- The Rifftrax for Supersonic Man also includes a reference to Arrested Development, when Mike quips that "the Bluth family rented this boat for an event later". Several episodes featured nautical themes such as the Bluths holding events on yachts or stealing boats.
- Like Mystery Science Theater 3000, Arrested Development is one of the few shows in the history of television to be cancelled and then go back into production on another network (see also Futurama). The revivals of both MST3K and Arrested Development were initially carried by Netflix.