“Flight of the Phoenix” properly kicks things back into gear for Arrested Development with a string of new running jokes ranging from How the Grinch Stole Christmas to John Beard and appropriate head nods to jokes from season past. Although this season focuses on individual characters per episode, episode 1 focuses on Michael (just like the old seasons) and he happens to interact with everyone through out the course of the episode.
You can tell the actors have aged a few years, but the show also includes this time gap as part of its overall story. George Michael is now almost done with college, Michael has built a failing housing community, Gob has… uh… been Gob, Tobias is finally called on his homoerotic tendencies, etc, etc. Once you get over how strange it is too finally see new Arrested Development episodes I think you are in for a treat. The humor is still intact and it feels that the show has a direction it is aiming for, although I’m not 100% exactly what it is yet.
Also the cameos are back. From Seth Rogan, Terry Crews, and the entire cast of Workaholics it is pretty funny to watch them interact as characters within the Arrested Development universe. Also Ron Howard is no longer just the narrator. He plays himself in the show (continuing the very end of season 3). The self parody is fun, with a few jokes about how delayed the Arrested Development movie has been.
Also there are secrets hinted at. At one point Gob is seen with an anonymous somebody whom Michael recognizes only to have Gob shove a “forget-me-not” pill (a rufie -_-) down Michael’s throat before we learn who it is.
I laughed out loud several times over the course of the episode and it was great to have the show back. I’ve only been watching two episodes at a time so I can savor the season and not wear myself out on the jokes. I definitely recommend watching season 4 (only available on Netflix Instant), especially if you are a former fan. If you’ve never watched the show before you can give it a watch, but you’ll definitely be lost.