Fox, Sundays at 9:30 p.m.
It was only a matter of time before the sensibilities that make Wes Anderson’s films (Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums) so enjoyable spilled over into television. Fortunately, the first series to wear this influence on its sleeve is a winner. Arrested Development follows the Bluths, a hopelessly amoral tribe of buffoons who have just lost their considerable family fortune, as they try to find some sort of center on which to rebuild their family. That center might be Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman), the only competent member of a line of stunted brothers. Sound like heady stuff? It can be, but the show is not afraid to use sight gags and farcical jokes (“So tell me what your strengths are.” “Well, I’m an arsonist—so I’d say problem solving.”) to pull itself back into the land of the average television watcher. Knowing Fox’s history, Arrested Development will probably be yanked before the end of the year. They will be canceling the funniest show on television.