Arrested Development-Season 1 (2003)

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Released 23-Feb-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Introduction-Ron Howard (Executive Producer/Narrator)
Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Menu Audio
Audio Commentary-Filmmakers And Cast - Three Episodes
Deleted Scenes
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Breaking Ground
Music Highlights-Original Songs By David Schwartz
Featurette-Q & A With The Cast And Creative Team
Web Links
Featurette-Making Of-The Making Of A Future Classic
Featurette-TV Land Awards-The Future Classic Award
Featurette-Season 2 Sneak Peek
TV Spots
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 508:00 (Case: 506)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (3)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Jay Chandrasekhar
John Fortenberry
Anthony Russo
Joe Russo

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Jason Bateman
Portia de Rossi
Will Arnett
Michael Cera
Alia Shawkat
Tony Hale
David Cross
Jeffrey Tambor
Jessica Walter
Case ?
RPI $46.95 Music David Schwartz
David Schwartz

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes, although very little
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Since the beginning of television, the dysfunctional family unit has been the nucleus for many a sitcom. The Fox sitcom, Arrested Development, is not about to change this, but it is certainly one of the most intelligently written, perfectly cast and downright hilarious sitcoms to ever grace our television screens.

    The series was created and written by Mitchell Hurwitz, with the involvement of former TV actor and acclaimed film director Ron Howard, who is an executive producer and also has the uncredited role of the narrator of the show. Ron Howard's voice provides the perfect enhancement to link plot lines and provides comprehension to hilarious flashback scenes.

    The Bluth family have it all. They have a seemingly successful property development business, and all seem to have everything a person could want in life. All the family members have wealth, albeit as we will discover, all syphoned from the family company. Only one family member, Michael (Jason Bateman), has the smarts and responsibility to properly run the business. The other family members don't lift a finger, but are happy to divvy up the spoils.

    When head of the company, George Bluth, Snr (Jeffrey Tambor), announces his retirement, a lavish boat party is planned. Police raid the party and George is arrested for corrupt accounting practices. This fact becomes of secondary importance to the family when it is announced by Michael that the authorities have also frozen the companies assets, thus cutting off their limitless source of income.

    While George spends time in jail and actually begins to enjoy it, Michael is placed in control of the business and the very little funds available. This places him at direct odds with his family, who are all out to look after themselves in this time of crisis.

    Michael's teenage son, George Michael (Michael Cera), seems to be the only other "normal" member of the Bluth family. Michael's older brother, Gob (pronounced Jobe) (Will Arnett), is an aspiring illusionist, his younger brother, Buster (Tony Hale), is a graduate student of Native American Chants and ancient cartography, and Michael's twin sister Lindsay (Portia de Rossi) is a totally self-centred socialite. Lindsay is married to disgraced doctor and wannabe actor Tobias Funke (David Cross), and they have a teenage daughter, Maeby (Alia Shawkat). The most cunning member of the family is their mother and wife of George, Lucille (Jessica Walter), who cleverly plays all the family off each other with hilarious results.

    This is the basis of the plot line for the series. But don't be fooled, the story twists and turns, constantly unearthing new hilarious facts about every character and placing them in all manner of bizarre situations. The show is also kept fresh and interesting by the inclusion of many wonderful guest stars, including Liza Minnelli, Henry Winkler, Heather Graham, Richard Simmons, Carl Weathers and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

    The series was filmed using two hand held high definition video cameras in very natural lighting conditions. This produced an outstanding result, especially when viewed in high definition. It was shot in documentary style, which allowed the cameras to have totally free movement.

    Arrested Development dares to be different to many of the past and present mainstream television sitcoms, and has enough confidence in its writers, actors (and indeed its audience) to not include an annoying laughter track.

    The comedy is very multi-layered, meaning you need to look past the foreground in many scenes to pick up the extra laughs. This fact alone makes repeated viewings of Arrested Development  mandatory, as well as being an absolute pleasure.

Episodes Disc one :

    Extended Pilot (27:26)

        This is the episode in which we are introduced the Bluth family. George Snr is arrested for fraud while celebrating his retirement. When the company assets are frozen by the authorities, it's decided by all that Michael should be the one to take control of business matters. This episode is the only one that contains no censorship (bleeping) of swearing.

    Pilot (20:55)    

     Exactly the same episode as the extended pilot, with some minor scene adjustments.

    Top Banana (21:13)

    Michael tries to motivate the family to get jobs. George Snr is loving being in jail. George Michael runs, and subsequently burns down the Bluth Frozen Banana Stand. Tobias auditions for a commercial, but Lindsay gets the role.

  Bringing up Buster (21:18)

   Michael spends more time with Buster. George Michael tries to advance on Maeby by auditioning for a play. Gob breaks up with his girlfriend, Marta.

  Key Decisions (20:54)

  This is the first episode in which guest star Liza Minnelli appears as Lucille Austero, an arch rival of Lucille Bluth. Buster, minus his glasses, accidentally flirts with Lucille Austero at a party. Gob gets himself locked up in prison for a publicity stunt.

  Visiting Ours (20:53)

  It is revealed that George Snr has been having an affair with his secretary, Kitty, and she has now developed a crush on Gob. Lindsay and Tobias begin marriage counselling. Lucille visits George Snr in the conjugal trailer at the prison.

   Charity Drive (20:54)

   George Snr and Michael send Gob on a secret mission to the permit office. Buster is trying to avoid the persistent Lucille Austero. Lindsay is a mission to prove her charitable nature to Michael. Michael accidentally kidnaps a Spanish woman.

   Episodes Disc Two:

   My Mother, The Car (20:52)

   Buster and Lucille Austero become a couple, and hide it from Lucille Bluth. Lindsay finally visits her father in prison. Lucille has an accident in the car, but Michael feels it's all his fault. George Michael and Maeby go to an adult movie.

   In God We Trust (20:52)

   Michael is amazed at the family's incompetent lawyer, Barry Zuckerhorn, played by Henry Winkler. George Michael agrees to wear a body suit for the "Living Classics" display, with the added bonus being Maeby has taken an interest in him.

   Storming The Castle (21:05)

   Michael conspires to break up Gob and Marta. Maeby and George Michael start wearing leather as an act of rebellion. Tobias, in a bid to fit in with the young ones, also goes leather shopping. Lucille, having discovered Buster's relationship, confronts the matter.

   Pier Pressure (21:06)

   Maeby is sent to spend a day with Lucille as punishment for bad grades at school. Buster pays George Michael to get some marijuana in the hope that it might cure Lucille Austero's vertigo.

   Public Relations (21:05)

   George Michael is rejected by a private school. Michael hires a woman he met at the gym, who happens to work in public relations, in an effort to improve the family image. Tobias goes to Boston to get his medical licence returned, but instead uses the money to sign up for acting lessons with Carl Weathers.

   Marta Complex (21:07)

  Lucille throws an anniversary party for Lindsay and Tobias. Buster has had enough and moves out of his mother's apartment. Gob believes Marta is having an affair, but with whom?

   Beef Consomme (21:01)

   George Snr prepares for his first court appearance. George Michael investigates the possibility that Maeby is adopted. Gob finally hears the truth about Marta and Michael.

   Shock and Aww (21:07)

  George Michael has a crush on his teacher, played by Heather Graham, and so does his father, Michael. George Snr gets a visit in prison from an admirer. To get back at Buster, Lucille adopts a young Korean boy named Annyong.

   Episodes Disc Three:

   Staff Infection (21:06)

   Tobias joins George Snr in prison to research an acting role. Michael does his best to get the family members to actually earn money that they have been paid in secret from the company.

   Missing Kitty (21:06)

   Gob makes the family yacht disappear as a part of a magic show. Tobias is causing George Snr some headaches. Michael does his best to fire Kitty, but this proves to be quite difficult.

   Altar Egos (21:06)

   Michael has a one-night-stand with a blind lawyer, Maggie (Julia Louis-Dreyfus). She is also the prosecutor working against his father. Maeby has developed a scam at her school. Gob gets married to a stranger. George Snr's admirer is really an undercover agent, who has fallen in love with him.

   Justice Is Blind (21:06)

   In an effort to take advantage of Maggie's blindness, Gob steals a file that she had given Michael to look over. Tobias breaks into Maggie's house to steal more paperwork. George Michael tries to expose Maeby's scam.

   Best Man For The Gob (21:06)

   Tobias, Lindsay and Maeby reunite their old hippy music band. George Snr and Gob try to set up the company's accountant in a compromising position at Gob's buck's night, the plan being that he might leave the state and not testify in court.

   Whistler's Mother (21:06)

   When some money becomes available, Michael is swamped with requests. Tobias and Gob start a company in an effort to get some of the money. Lindsay wants the money for an affair, and Lucille wants the money to pay for Buster's operation on his clicking jaw.

    Not Without My Daughter (21:06)

   Michael takes Maeby to work with him, as it's "Take Your Daughter To Work Day". George Michael is hurt that Michael does not consult him first. George Snr's brother, Oscar, makes an appearance. George Michael and Gob visit the mall for a bit of shoplifting.

   Let Them Eat Cake (21:06)

   A book that Tobias wrote many years previously becomes a bestseller on the gay market. Buster and Annyong are still fighting. George Snr tells Michael that he might have committed "light" treason by building some model homes in Iraq. George Snr fakes a heart attack during a polygraph test and subsequently escapes from hospital.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


  The video transfer is really quite stunning.

  Arrested Development is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, and is 16x9 enhanced.

  Watching the show in high definition on television offers superb clarity and sharpness. The transfer presented on this DVD is also quite superb, with many scenes appearing very close to that achieved in HD on television. Blacks and shadow details were excellent, and displayed no signs of low level noise. Some scenes showed some minor grain at times, but overall, it's a very impressive transfer.

  Colours were also superbly rendered, with no signs of oversaturation. Flashback scenes were given an appropriate washed out and grainy look. Skin tones always appeared natural.

   There were no MPEG artefacts evident. Aliasing and edge enhancement were negligible, and there were no film artefacts.

   Subtitles are available in English for the hearing impaired and Swedish. All subtitles are in white, easily legible and the English subtitles in particular are very accurate. English subtitles are available on all the extras and audio commentaries on all three discs, expect the Fox blind promo on disc three. Swedish subtitles are available for all the episodes only. When playing audio commentaries with Swedish subtitles selected, the subtitles displayed are the actors' dialogue rather than the commentary.

   All three discs are single sided, dual layer discs, with the layer changes occurring between episodes.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


   The audio transfer is also outstanding.

   There are two audio tracks available on this presentation. They are English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) surround encoded and English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s).

    Dialogue quality was superb throughout each episode and all extras. I had no difficulties hearing and comprehending any of the dialogue. I found no problems at all with audio sync.

    The music by David Schwartz has a suitably light, upbeat feel. The styles used through the series range from very comic through to a more rock-based sound. None of the music ever overpowered the action, it simply enhanced it. His music for the series is able to be heard separate to the vision in an excellent extra on disc one.

    The surrounds were active most of the time with very subtle ambient sound, such as background noises in prison scenes and general outdoor sounds. There was no precise or directional sound used, so the audio transfer was perfectly suited to the content.

    The subwoofer was also active, mainly to add some kick to bass elements in the music.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


   An excellent selection of extras are offered, spread over the three discs.


   The menus for each disc are all the same in theme and design, but change to correspond with the episodes on each disc. The main menus are outstanding, offering a selection of small clips with audio from that disc's particular episodes. You need to let the menu play out a couple of times to appreciate all the vignettes. All other menus feature static images, with music from the series. All menus are 16x9 enhanced and feature Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded audio.

Disc One:

Introduction from Ron Howard (Executive Producer and Narrator) (0:21)

  A very brief introduction to Season One of Arrested Development from Ron Howard. This plays automatically and is not selected from any menu. Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) audio.

Featurette - Breaking Ground...Behind the scenes of Arrested Development. (16:37)

  This is a short but interesting look at the making of the series. There are interviews with cast and crew, mixed with behind the scenes footage and clips from the series. This provides some great insights into all aspects of the show. Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s), surround encoded audio.

Deleted and Extended Scenes - Narrated by Mitchell Hurwitz (Creator) and Steven Sprung (Editor).

  Some bonus footage from four episodes on disc one. Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) audio.

Audio Commentary - Pilot Episode with Mitchell Hurwitz (Creator/Writer), Joe and Anthony Russo (Directors) and Jason Bateman (Actor).

   A humorous and interesting commentary on the Pilot Episode . There are discussions about various aspects of the writing, casting, and filming, together with many anecdotes. There are very few pauses in the commentary, so you get quite a good deal of information in just under thirty minutes. Available with English and Swedish subtitles. Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) audio.

Music Highlights - Original Songs by David Schwartz 

  An excellent selection of original music from the series, which simply plays over the static menu screen. Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) surround encoded audio.

Disc Two:

Featurette - The Museum of Television and Radio, Q & A with cast and creative team of Arrested Development (10:00).

  This is a question and answer session filmed in a theatre with an audience, as part of The Paley Festival. Many of the Arrested Development team are on stage answering questions from audience members. The questions and subsequent answers are about casting, scripts, ratings, the concept of the show's title and the controversy of the humour. Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) surround encoded audio.

Deleted and Extended Scenes - Narrated by Ron Howard (Executive Producer), Mitchell Hurwitz (Creator), Lee Haxall and Steven Sprung (Editors)

  More bonus footage from six episodes on disc two. Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) audio.

Audio Commentary - Beef Consomme with Mitchell Hurwitz (Creator), Jason Bateman, Portia de Rossi, Will Arnett, Tony Hale, Michael Cera, Alia Shawkat, Jessica Walter, Jeffrey Tambor and David Cross (Actors

   It's very rare to get more than a few people doing an audio commentary at the same time, so ten is incredible. What I thought might be a confusing mess was actually very funny and informative, with anecdotes flowing thick and fast. There are virtually no pauses in the twenty minute episode, and everyone gets involved. Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) audio.

Disc Three:

Featurette - TV Land Awards - The Future Classic Award (4:35)

  Mitchell Hurwitz and cast members accept The Future Classic Award at the TV Land Awards, which was presented by Liza Minelli. As the name states, this award is given to television shows deemed to be likely future classics. Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) surround encoded audio.

Featurette - The Making of a Future Classic (7:08)

  Humorous interviews with Will Arnett, Jason Bateman, David Cross and Michael Cera regarding the show being judged a future classic. It's easy to see the pride behind the humour, as they all have fun with this future classic title. Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) surround encoded audio.

Deleted and Extended Scenes - Narrated by Ron Howard (Executive Producer), Mitchell Hurwitz (Creator), Lee Haxall, Steven Sprung and Robert Bramwell (Editors).

  Even more bonus footage from four episodes on disc three. Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) audio.

Audio Commentary - Let Them Eat Cake with Mitchell Hurwitz (Creator), Jason Bateman, Portia de Rossi, Will Arnett, Tony Hale, Michael Cera, Alia Shawkat, Jessica Walter, Jeffrey Tambor and David Cross (Actors)

  The very same ten people from the audio commentary on disc two return to commentate on this last episode of series one. Again, the fun these people are having in the studio is quite obvious, as they offer more anecdotes from the episode. An excellent way to end the brilliant first season. Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) audio.

Featurette - Sneak Peek at Season Two of Arrested Development. (1:38)

  Unfortunately there is no video footage here, just a brief discussion from Ron Howard on what to expect from series two of the show. Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) audio.

TV Spot - Blind (0:32)

  This is a promo from the FOX network, featuring guest star Julia Louis-Dreyfus as the blind prosecutor. Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) surround encoded audio.

Web Links

   Two web links for additional information on Arrested Development.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

  The R1 version of Arrested Development Season One appears to be exactly the same as this version in overall content. Both versions are three disc sets and even have the same cover art. The only difference is that the R1 version has subtitles in English, Spanish and French, but misses out on the Swedish subtitles present on the R4 version.

  Unless the Spanish or French subtitles are an important item, I would choose the R4 version for the superior PAL transfer.


  Arrested Development is one of the most hilarious sitcoms to ever grace our television screens. The unusual idiosyncratic style of humour is a welcome change to the regular brand of humour served up regularly on television. The writing is intelligent and multi-layered, and backs itself with no laughter track. The casting and performances in general are perfect. If you haven't yet caught up with this brilliant sitcom, then you simply must.

  The video and audio transfers are superb.

  The selection of extras spread over the three discs are all interesting and relevant.


Ratings (out of 5)


© Steve Crawford (Tip toe through my bio)
Thursday, April 21, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDJVC XV-N412, using Component output
DisplayHitachi 106cm Plasma Display 42PD5000MA (1024x1024). This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationPanasonic SA-HE70 80W Dolby Digital and DTS
SpeakersFronts: Jensen SPX7 Rears: Jensen SPX4 Centre: Jensen SPX13 Subwoofer: Jensen SPX17

Other Reviews - Andrew Biz
The DVD Bits - Richard G - Brett Bowman

Comments (Add)
Packaging btw R1 and R4 - TonyG REPLY POSTED
Season 1 $19.98 at JB Hi-Fi -
On Special at David Jones - Dave D (read my bio)
Anti-Piracy ads - IgorWopatropski REPLY POSTED