Netflix Pick: ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT

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After more than a month of fighting the urge to binge on the fourth and final season of Netflix’s “semi-original” series, I finally finished all fifteen new episodes of Arrested Development.

From mastermind Mitchell Hurwitz comes the final installment of the Bluth family saga, set five years after the show was “abruptly cancelled” by Fox, after winning multiple Emmy’s, including Outstanding Comedy Series in 2004.

Each of the fifteen episodes in this season follows a specific character, as Ron Howard notes in the opening credits, “It’s (insert character’s name)’s Arrested Development.”

Because this season spans five years and follows the separate journeys of all nine Bluths (and Fünkes) to their ultimate meeting point at the “Cinco de Cuatro” festival, it takes a few episodes to kick into the fast-paced gear that veteran Arrested Development fans are used to.

While Hurwitz brings back fan favorites like Lucille (II) Austero (Liza Minnelli), Berry Zuckerkorn (Henry Winkler), Ann Veal (Mae Whitman), and Kitty Sanchez (Judy Greer), he also added some scene-stealers in this new season. Kristin Wiig and Seth Rogen joined the cast as Young Lucille and Young George Sr. in this season’s many flashbacks. John Slattery (Mad Men) and Mary Lynn Rajskub (24) are hysterical as Doctor Norman and his spiritual partner, Heartfire, a mute whose thoughts float across the screen.

Likewise, the writers were able to incorporate the many recurring jokes from the original series, like “I’ve made a huge mistake,” “I’m afraid I blue myself,” and, my favorite, “…her?” While I was glad the writers continued with these jokes, it was clear that the new season did not use the first three as a crutch to get pity laughs.

Looking forward, both Hurwitz and Ron Howard have alluded to a possible Arrested Development film in the coming years. In the meantime, I’ll be reevaluating my life to the tune of “Sound of Silence.”

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Fall Line-Ups Announced

This past weekend, TV networks have been releasing their line-ups for the fall season, which include some exciting new pilots. Most of these will be cancelled after three episodes, so don’t get too attached. Here are the ones that I think you can get a little bit attached to come September.

24 – it’s a reboot miniseries with 12 episodes… so shouldn’t it be renamed 12? (Fox)

Sleepy Hollow – the legendary Ichabod Crane is resurrected after 250 years to stop the Headless Horseman with the help of modern day technology (Fox)

Almost Human – yet another J.J. Abrams production that has to do with killing and aliens and stuff (Fox)

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – all of the awesomeness of Marvel, minus the superheroes (ABC)

The Family Guide – with Jason Bateman, how can this comedy go wrong…that was an Arrested Development joke, which also comes back via Netflix in two weeks! (NBC)

Late Night with Seth Meyers – with Jimmy Fallon moving on to The Tonight Show, it only seems fitting that Seth takes his chair. But what does this mean for the future of SNL’s “Weekend Update”? (NBC)

Heroes??? – a revival of the superhero phenomenon has been rumored, but will only stream via Xbox Live. (???)

Here’s what you won’t see in this fall (AKA what was cancelled):

-Barbara Walters – she announced her retirement from broadcast journalism just last night

-Randy Jackson – this “dawg” will not be returning for another season with American Idol, leaving the show without any original judges for its upcoming season 13

Go On – Matthew Perry, just stop trying please. Friends wasn’t even that good…

-Whitney1600 PennGuys With Kids, and Up All Night – NBC, get your shit together

To end on a positive note, both New Girl and The Mindy Project have been picked up for another season each, and the former has secured the coveted post-Super Bowl spot. You go New Girl, you go.

‘The Kings of Summer’ trailer: Nick Offerman is just your average suburban dad

Here’s a look at a new indie film with Alison Brie (Mad Men/Community), Mary Lynn Rajskub (24/Safety Not Guaranteed), Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation), and Megan Mullally (Will and Grace).

Netflix Pick: SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED

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The 2012 crop of films was epic and unlike any year before. From the historical pictures like Lincoln and Argo, to the beautiful literature adaptations like Life of Pi and The Hunger Games, the industry made its great deal of profits. However, one film stayed below the commercialized radar. For my Netflix Pick, I have decided to deviate from television for a moment to spread the word of the most amazing film of 2012: Safety Not Guaranteed. However, the majority of the actors from this film come from a strong television background, so I’m kind of staying with my theme.

The film stars Parks and Recreation’s Aubrey Plaza as the highly intelligent but highly unmotivated Darius, who works as an intern at an alternative-style Seattle magazine.

The demanding magazine editor Bridget, played by 24’s Mary Lynn Rajskub, leads an ordinary pitch meeting where staff writer Jeff, played by New Girl’s Jack Johnson, suggests investigating a classified ad, in which the author is looking for a partner to travel back in time with, noting, “Safety Not Guaranteed.” Bridget agrees to the story and Jeff picks two interns to travel with him to Ocean View, WA. Darius and Arnau, the nerdy Indian medical student, accompany Jeff and strategize a plan to find the ad’s author.

After Jeff reveals to his interns that he intends to rekindle a romance with his high school girlfriend, Darius takes it upon herself to get the story. However, when she finally meets the ad’s author, a seemingly deranged grocery store employee, Kenneth, played by The League’s Mark Duplass, she becomes close to him.

Through his quirky training sessions with her, Darius tells Kenneth that she wants to go back in time to stop herself from asking her mom to stop at a gas station for chocolate milk, because this led to an incident where she was robbed and killed at the gas station’s mini-mart. Over the next few days, Kenneth eventually becomes comfortable enough to reveal to Darius that he intends to go back in time to stop a drunk driver from crashing into his girlfriend’s living room and killing her.

This movie is really about time. Jeff wishes to go back to his high school girlfriend and badgers the sexually inert Arnau to live a little while he’s young.

Darius’s mission takes an unexpected turn when she discovers that Kenneth’s old girlfriend, Belinda, is still alive. She goes to interview her and the charming housewife, played by Veronica Mars and Heroes star Kristen Bell, tells Darius that Kenneth had never been the same after he drunkenly drove his car into a house. In a twist right out of the pages of Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, the truth we thought was about an unnamed driver was really about Kenneth.

And to complicate matters more, Kenneth discovers that Darius’ original intentions for seeking him out were to write a story on him for her magazine and that she was not genuinely responding to his ad.

I will not spoil the movie’s ending, but I promise that it will leave you speechless.

Apart from the witty humor and terrific acting, the beautiful cinematography of Ocean View’s coast truly captures a place where time is virtually non-existent. This aids in giving the characters the necessary time to develop together and create a genuine, lasting bond.

I recommend this film to those who enjoyed such comedies as Dan in Real Life, Lars and the Real Girl, and Silver Linings Playbook.