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the series that defined the decade and reinvented the medium

the 00s best first seasons

-CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION-

created by anthony e ZUIKER

without any doubt this show was the biggest hit of the decade; it is an iconic pop culture bit and international phenomenon.

the premise is so simple; it is simply another police procedural focusing primarily on one case per episode and subtly developing the main cast characters.

the premise’s twist is perhaps the not-so-hidden science fiction elements clearly shown with every piece of gadgetry and other detective weaponry.

this show took detective story lines to a whole new level and it become both a franchise and the standard for other procedurals to follow.

it is undeniable its legacy and it has not been matched even by the most recent season of the series; even when i do agree that maybe a latter season came close to perfection.

the directing of this show is the true star; while the writing is fine [perhaps even very good; but let’s not debate that] it is the [then][somehow] avant-garde mise-en-scene and [then] never-before-seen [in tv] special effects that made this show what it is.

the directing also raise the bar for the [then] controversial violence, we should not take for granted the fact that this show pretty much introduced blood to network television and its appeal clearly come from satisfying the same morbid desire that made reality tv as popular as well.

unfortunately this show has not aged well; while ratings still hold very strong [specially for a twelve year long series] the formula and the routine make this show less interesting today.

one should not forget the insane amount of [most likely false] trivia this show made us memorize and the unaffordable amount of technology it made us wish we own.

one should not forget how for so long we loved [or at least liked very much] WARRICK BROWN, GIL GRISSOM, GREG SANDERS, SARA SIDLE, NICK STOKES and CATHERINE WILLOWS.

+++++

CBS hit the lottery with this show, the second season was moved to thursdays ending up NBC’s dominance [after years and years] on that time slot.

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the series that defined the decade and reinvented the medium

the 00s best first seasons

-ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT-

created by mitchell HURWITZ

the R E C A P

the best…

episode of the season: MY MOTHER, THE CAR

directed by: jay CHANDRASEKHAR / written by: chuck MARTIN

directing for a single episode: BEST MAN FOR THE GOB & MY MOTHER, THE CAR & PILOT

directed by: lee SHALLAT-CHEMEL / jay CHANDRASEKHAR ( anthony & joe RUSSO

writing for a single episode: JUSTICE IS BLIND

written by: abraham HIGGINBOTHAM

director of the season

anthony RUSSO [3 episodes]

writer(s) of the season

lilly COURTNEY [1 episode]

the worst…

episode of the season: MARTA COMPLEX

directed by: joe RUSSO / written by: john LEVENSTEIN & jim VALLELY

directing for a single episode: MARTA COMPLEX

directed by: joe RUSSO

writing for a single episode: NOT WITHOUT MY DAUGHTER & WHISTLER’S MOTHER

written by: mitchell HURWITZ & richard ROSENSTOCK / john LEVENSTEIN & jim VALLELY

director of the season

joe RUSSO [7 episodes]

writer(s) of the season

brad COPELAND [3 episodes]

the best of the rest…

acting in an episode: PUBLIC RELATIONS

cinematography in an episode: BRINGING UP BUSTER

editing in an episode: MY MOTHER, THE CAR

production design in an episode: LET THEM EAT CAKE

scoring in an episode: MY MOTHER, THE CAR

+++++

best five actors: (alphabetical)

will ARNETT [personal favorite]

david CROSS

liza MINELLI

jeffrey TAMBOR

jessica WALTERS

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-ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT-

LET THEM EAT CAKE

2004.paul FEIG

4.0/5.0

"FOOTAGE NOT FOUND" is another example of a simple thing that does make waves, another example of the genius of this show; this is what a season finale should be like, story lines coming to an end plus some more setting up for the next season, and in this case other who work both ways like the line "he is gone" near the end.

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-ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT-

NOT WITHOUT MY DAUGHTER

2004.lee SHALLAT-CHEMEL

2.5/5.0

kind of a mess, many many storylines and only the one involving the mysterious disappearance of KITTY is a worth watch, the writers did not do a great job mixing the family resulting in the most odd pairings ever, it is kind of amazing the fact that it somehow all works out in the end and delivers some hilarious moments.

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-ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT-

WHISTLER’S MOTHER

2004.paul FEIG

2.5/5.0

JEFFREY TAMBOR is genius and great as GEORGE SR but the fact that he also plays his twin brother OSCAR is even better, the writers will use the sibling rivalry in the most fantastic ways in the future and the episode does showcase some hint of this; however the episode fails to deliver the usual stuff therefore joining the shortlist of below average episodes.

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-ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT-

BEST MAN FOR THE GOB

2004.lee SHALLAT-CHEMEL

4.5/5.0

to be quite honest the best episodes from this show often involve lots of time spent together by the family, therefore this episode, centered around GOB’s bachelor party, is an outstanding story that quickly unravels becoming something crazier and stranger using the usual comedic cliches but in a fresh and completely new way.

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-ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT-

JUSTICE IS BLIND

2004.jay CHANDRASEKHAR

4.5/5.0

the blind lawyer returns after being revealed in the NEXT ON segment that she does see; TOBIAS delivers his very best scene ever [or at least yet], SURELY FUNKE and every other story line work together delivering a fantastic climax where the entire ensemble show off their very best skills; above all this show knows how to change the meaning of a phrase like “JUSTICE IS BLIND”.

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-ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT-

ALTAR EGOS

2004.jay CHANDRASEKHAR

3.5/5.0

a blind lawyer who happens to be the district attorney behind the BLUTHS criminal case ends up sleeping with MICHAEL, and while SURELY FUNKE’s storyline is charming and funny it does steal some time from the main and better story line; GOB and the [secret] MRS share some hilarious montages that will later develop into one of the most memorable scenes in the show history.

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-ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT-

MISSING KITTY

2004.john FORTENBERRY

3.5/5.0

JUDY GREER returns and ultimately steals the episode, her recurring gag [flashing her tits while saying she was showing them for the very last time] works every single time, GOB comes a very close second stripping as well [all part of one of his unfortunate magic tricks]; the fact that those gags were key in developing a bigger plot line is why this show is so great.

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-ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT-

STAFF INFECTION

2004.joe RUSSO

3.0/5.0

GOB gives us the “chicken dance”, MICHAEL calls his workers “sheep”, LINDSAY asks those same workers to lunch but ends up taking LUPE’s family for a ride while BUSTER enjoys a day out as a construction worker, however as great as the TOBIAS storyline becomes in the next episode, the time spent in jail with him and GEORGE SR killed the momentum the other storylines had.

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-ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT-

SHOCK AND AWW

2004.joe RUSSO

2.5/5.0

it is the first time ANNYONG and SURELY FUNKE [in a school poster] appear but everyone remembers it better for the guest stars, HEATHER GRAHAM, JANE LYNCH and IQBAL THEBA, truly no story line pops but the new character helps loads and makes waves for the other character to react in a charming and funny way.

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-ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT-

BEEF CONSOMME

2004.jay CHANDRASEKHAR

3.0/5.0

another average episode but at least the directing saved it from being worse, it is filled with tiny details in both directing and writing, the sibling rivalry [ending with a fight], GEORGE SR’s second attempt at escaping, LUCILLE spilling the beans about the fact MAEBY is a test-tube baby and TOBIAS finally overcoming his never-nude problem.

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-ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT-

MARTA COMPLEX

2004.joe RUSSO

2.0/5.0

it is over, after eleven pretty great [ok, just very good but still above every other show then] the streak comes to an end; the only good gag that the episode had [and set up for at least one more episode] was the HERMANO recurring joke which was simple and rather good but was drowned in a series of other story lines that did not quite worked.

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-ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT-

PUBLIC RELATIONS

2004.lee SHALLAT-CHEMEL

4.0/5.0

energetic and intense, another outstanding episode that with very good pace unravels a series of events that end up in an over-the-top great scene, however the very best scene of the episode was without any doubt the family meeting with their new PR to determine what they all should do to improve the family public image.

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-ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT-

PIER PRESSURE

2004.joe RUSSO

3.5/5.0

from “and that’s why you always leave a note” to “and that’s why you never teach lessons to your son” this is yet another iconic and memorable episode, the guy without one arm became yet another fantastic repertory character and the fact that the episode constantly underlined how everyone left notes was a feat in its own from GEORGE MICHAEL’s note asking for pot to MAEBY’s note signed as FATTY.

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-ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT-

STORMING THE CASTLE

2004.greg MOTTOLA

3.0/5.0

this is that time when the FINAL COUNTDOWN becomes the song used for every magic trick GOB makes, this is another time when TOBIAS stumbles into a compromising gay situation - the GOTHIC ARSEHOLE -; the episode might not be as heavy on ideas as others but it is still so much fun specially in the scenes where the whole ensemble got to hang around.

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-ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT-

IN GOD WE TRUST

2003.joe RUSSO

3.5/5.0

HENRY WINKLER’s BARRY ZUCKERKORN will become perhaps the most prominent character outside of the BLUTH family and even though this is not even close to his best episode it still showcases some of his talents; the most iconic thing about this episode is the LIVING CLASSICS pageant, everything from GEORGE MICHAEL’s ADAM suit to GEORGE SR’s first attempt at escaping is amazing.

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-ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT-

MY MOTHER, THE CAR

2003.jay CHANDRASEKHAR

4.5/5.0

one of the greatest episodes from this show ever; everything from the multiple false alarm surprise parties to the protein bars to the DANGEROUS COUSINS movie trailer to the giant rock in the backseat to the SLUT t-shirt works wonders, the fact that everything adds together in a cohesive plot is an achievement in its own.

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