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Arrested Development: Season 3

DVD GEEK FACTOR 8 (out of 10)

I need to extend yet another apology to the cast, crew and producers of this, one of the funniest damn shows ever put on network television. As your program languished in many a time slot, and you were bounced around like a happy-green crazy ball in a 5-by-5 room during a 7.0 earthquake, I failed to watch during its last season. This was due in part to the way you were bounced around (TV-show loyalty is as much ritual as desire) and the fact that I'm a lazy ass. I wait for the DVD.

This show, now canceled, went out with a sinisterly funny bang. Charlize Theron did a guest shot as a British woman with a freaking hilarious and politically incorrect secret, and other guest spots were done by Dave Thomas, Judge Reinhold, Andy Richter and, most disturbingly, Justine Bateman (she played a hooker who shared a few suggestive scenes with brother and series star, Jason).

Some amusing subplots included Tobias (David Cross, aka God) being rejected by his hair-transplant plugs, resulting in paralysis and major skin disorders. George Michael and Maeby (Michael Cera and Alia Shawkat) get to second base while not being absolutely sure if they were related or not, and Michael (Jason Bateman) finding a love interest (the aforementioned Theron).

As the show got closer to the end of its abbreviated 13-episode season, it went crazier with plot points and narrator Ron Howard openly acknowledging the show's endangered status. After a whole bunch of press and possibilities (Showtime was rumored to be picking the series up), the show was killed. There's talk of a movie someday, but don't hold your breath.

The show got dusted at this year's Emmys, losing to the very funny The Office. (Hey, if it was going to lose, it needed to lose to that one.) Will Arnett, who plays coin-shooting magician Gob on the series, lost to Jeremy Piven of Entourage. Piven is great, but a win for Arnett would've been cool and just. So long, Arrested. I will deeply miss watching you on DVD.

SPECIAL FEATURES: Most of the cast (with the exception of Jeffrey Tambor) sits down for commentary on three episodes, including the series finale. They curse freely during the commentaries, something they also do on the blooper reel. (It's actually quite fun to hear them swear.) There's a final day feature called The Last Day on Location, and some deleted scenes.

The Tick vs. Season One

DVD GEEK FACTOR 6.5 (out of 10)

Offbeat and clever, this superhero spoof, based on the comic book by Ben Edlund, was damn strange and always enjoyable. Looking back 12 years after it was created, I was surprised to discover that the show actually got three seasons (I thought it had two at the most). The animation was decent enough (although not spectacular), and the villains were amusing (I liked Chairface, a criminal mastermind with a chair for a head).

The disc package has a flier on the inside boasting that season two is on the way, so Buena Vista plans to do this forgotten gem a little justice. It was actually also a short-lived, live-action, very funny series five years ago with Patrick Warburton in the title role.


The Comeback: The Complete Only Season

DVD GEEK FACTOR 6.75 (out of 10)

Well, here's another canceled show I missed when it aired. It failed to garner my interest during its original run because I had gotten a little tired of Lisa Kudrow. (I was actually kind of glad when Phoebe and the rest of the Friends went away.)

Color me a presumptuous bastard, because this show is damn good, and Kudrow is damn good in it. She plays a Valerie Cherish, a down-on-her-luck former sitcom star who scores two new shows: a sitcom (she plays the wacky aunt) and a reality show (cameras catch her return to glory). Kudrow does a beautiful job of making her character funny and terribly sad at the same time. The program is actually painful to watch, in a good sort of way. I know that doesn't sound enjoyable, but it is.

The show works as a spoof of both sitcoms and reality programming, and Kudrow makes it all work. While I got tired of her sitcom shtick, it's fun to see her slagging on the institution that made her rich.

Kudrow also got dissed at the Emmys (she lost to Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who acts in a show that, you guessed it, I've never seen). It's sad that the show is done, but also good that it once existed. (I'm trying to be a little more positive with my outlook. Is it working? You can be honest.)

SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio commentaries with show creator Michael Patrick King and Kudrow (who actually does some in character as Valerie), where they claim the monkey sitting on Kudrow's head in the Jay Leno picture is real (although Leno is in the photo through the magic of computers).

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