Monarch of the Banana Stand

Well, no sooner did I get my first disc of Arrested Development from Netflix than Fox announced they planned to cancel the series

Arrested Development - Season One

Arrested Development: Season One on DVD or at Netflix.

Well, no sooner did I get my first disc of Arrested Development from Netflix than Fox announced they planned to cancel the series. I suppose it’s been hanging by a thin thread all along anyhow, but I feel a little disappointed after I figured out what so many people had already said: it is really a great show.

After watching the first six episodes, I can’t help but think of it as a sort of Americanized version of another one of my favorite series, the BBC’s Monarch of the Glen (which, in turn, seemed a bit like a Scottish Northern Exporsure). Monarch is the story of a unwilling second son who comes to save his boyhood home and family estate upon returning as a grown man. He comes to terms with his eccentric family, proves to be a savvy business man and community leader, and even finds love (in the character of Lexy, played by the remarkably hot Dawn Steele).

Arrested development is the somewhat similar story of unwilling second son who steps in to run the family business after Dad is taken away to jail and they lose everything. Jason Bateman plays a wonderful heavy named Michael Bluthe in a cast of completely absurd American aristocrats. It seems that even well-meaning Michael can’t save this family from their own ineptitude. Sure, some of the jokes are a little crude, but there’s something of a charming innocence about it that comes from the character’s complete cluelessness about just how bad their situation is. That, and the fact that Ron Howard (executive producer) narrates the show (Lil’ Oppie Cunningham can add instant innocence to anything).

I do find the show somewhat poorly edited, though. The jumps in plot lines seem really confusing, albeit forgivable since it’s the humor your in for, not intricate drama. Watching some of the deleted scenes really made me realize this, as in when I finally figured out why Michael actually wanted to find the records for the company jet in the first place. I guess the editors just assumed we really wouldn’t care, since it’s not as thought Michael was ever going to get them anyway. I just chalk it up to more of the show’s quirkiness.

Sadly, the show’s quirkiness and charm couldn’t save it from getting the ax at Fox. I suppose it is all about the ratings, but shows like Arrested Development, Firefly, and Monarch of the Glen all make me wish that studios would just create direct to DVD production of hastily canceled series.

Calling Mark Cuban… I see a business plan, here.

Update: Well, apparently LostRemote has some very interesting ideas, although they still might need some guy like Cuban to put up some cash (via The Long Tail).