The season has a slightly different format from the previous three, consisting of 15 episodes with each episode predominantly focusing on one member of the Bluth family and what they have been doing since 2006. The first episode revolves around Michael who is the only character who appears in all 15 episodes.
Jason Bateman and Mitch Hurwitz prefer to call the group of episodes Act 1 of a three act story. At the end of the fifteen episodes, each character is in a predicament that will be solved in Season Five, airing on Netflix in 2018.
- Main article: 2011 New Yorker Festival Reunion
Jason Bateman: It's true. We will do 10 episodes and the movie. Probably shoot them all together next summer for a release in early '13. Very excited!
- → See and learn more information about Season Four at Season Four production.
Season Four was in pre-production and production through most of 2012 and post-production in 2013 before its May 26, 2013 release. Production worked differently than on previous seasons because they did not have exclusive access to the entire cast, so all episodes were written in advance and production worked around each actor's schedule. Re-writing happened on the fly due to the complexity of the story and demanding shooting schedule.
Green screens and body doubles were used to simulate conversations between characters whose actors were not available at the same time.
- Main article: Season Four Marketing
Starting with the announcement of the May 26, 2013 premiere date on April 4 Netflix began their Season Four marketing campaigns. They utilized both traditional marketing techniques (billboards and posters) as well as modern and viral marketing such as YouTube fan made videos and engagement via their official Facebook page and @ArrestedDev Twitter account. The social media accounts encouraged fans to participate in "Bananathon", a marathon re-watch of the first three seasons over three weeks.
The social media accounts and Entertainment Weekly revealed posters and images over the month of April, and the first public footage of the new season was released on April 26, 2013. The first trailer was released on May 12, 2013 revealing some minor spoilers about the new batch of episodes. Teaser posters were released on April 10, 2013, and the character posters were revealed on April 24. Character portraits were released on May 1.
- → Read the in-depth Season Four timeline at Season Four timeline.
Season Four follows each member of the Bluth family from February 2006 to May 2012. Michael tries to form his own Michael B. Company but the real estate market collapse forces him to abandon Sudden Valley and move in with his son at UC Irvine. (4x1 — "Flight of the Phoenix") George begins work on a US/Mexico wall but when the economy collapses he starts Father B.'s Colony instead. (4x2 — "Borderline Personalities") Lindsay visits India on a journey of spiritual enlightenment before buying a mansion with Tobias, whom she leaves to live a life of freedom with Marky Bark. (4x3 — "Indian Takers")
Michael, kicked out of the dorm room, works with Ron Howard to begin pre-production on the Untitled Michael B. Project film about his life. (4x4 — "The B. Team") Tobias shocked by allegations that he is gay decides to double-down on his acting career with the help of his new love DeBrie Bardeaux but ends up getting arrested instead. (4x5 — "A New Start") George bribes right-wing politician Herbert Love to start the wall project back up but begins to face identity issues of his own. (4x6 — "Double Crossers")
G.O.B. becomes engaged to Ann Veal before his Amazing Jesus illusion goes awry, leading him to join Mark Cherry's entourage. (4x7 — "Colony Collapse") Lindsay and Marky try to destroy Herbert Love's campaign but Lindsay falls into relationship with him. (4x8 — "Red Hairing") Tobias works at Austerity and directs Fantastic 4: An Action Musical to stay close to DeBrie. (4x9 — "Smashed")
Lucille is tried and sentenced for her maritime crimes and serves time at Orange County Correctional Facility L.I.T.E. and Austerity. (4x10 — "Queen B.") G.O.B. tries to sabotage Tony Wonder's career as the 'gay magician' by posing to be gay himself. (4x11 — "A New Attitude") Maeby juggles several jobs, including being a high school senior for nearly 5 years. (4x12 — "Señoritis")
George Michael goes off to college where his journey of self-discovery begins as he starts the software company Fakeblock. (4x13 — "It Gets Better") Buster struggles to find someone to take care of him and rejoins Army for a period of time, before he suffers from another accident. (4x14 — "Off the Hook") George Michael must come to terms that his company is based on lies, as is his relationship with Rebel Alley. (4x15 — "Blockheads")
Key: F: Focal character Character appeared (x: with lines | s: without lines) a: Archive footage
|401: "Flight of the Phoenix"||F||x||a||x||x||x||x||x|
|402: "Borderline Personalities"||x||F||a||s||x||x||a||x|
|403: "Indian Takers"||x||F||x||x||x||x||s|
|404: "The B. Team"||F||x||x||x|
|405: "A New Start"||x||x||x||F||x||x||s||s|
|406: "Double Crossers"||x||F||x||x||x||x|
|407: "Colony Collapse"||x||s||a||x||F||s||a||x||a|
|408: "Red Hairing"||x||x||F||x||a||x||x||x|
|410: "Queen B."||x||x||x||x||x||F||x|
|411: "A New Attitude"||x||x||F||x||x|
|413: "It Gets Better"||x||x||s||x||x||x||x||F|
|414: "Off the Hook"||x||x||s||x||s||x||F|
- Jason Bateman as Michael Bluth (15 episodes)
- Portia de Rossi as Lindsay Bluth Fünke (8)
- Will Arnett as G.O.B. (13)
- Michael Cera as George Michael Bluth (8)
- Alia Shawkat as Maeby Fünke (9)
- Tony Hale as Buster Bluth (10)
- David Cross as Tobias Fünke (11)
- Jeffrey Tambor as Oscar (6) and George Bluth (11)
- Jessica Walter as Lucille Bluth (13)
- Ron Howard as Narrator (15)
- Returning Guest Cast
- Henry Winkler as Barry Zuckerkorn (11 episodes)
- Liza Minnelli as Lucille Austero (11)
- John Beard as Himself (9)
- Ron Howard as Himself (6)
- Jay Johnston as Officer Taylor (5)
- Andy Richter as Rocky Richter-Wang (4), Himself (3), and Emmett Richter (2)
- Jeff Garlin as Mort Meyers (4)
- Mae Whitman as Ann Veal (3)
- Ben Stiller as Tony Wonder (3)
- Martin Mull as Gene Parmesan (3)
- Justin Grant Wade as Steve Holt (3)
- Judy Greer as Kitty Sanchez (2)
- Jerry Minor as Officer David Carter (2)
- Alan Tudyk as Terry Veal (2)
- Ed Helms as James Carr (2)
- Ed Begley, Jr. as Stan Sitwell (2)
- Christine Taylor as Sally Sitwell (4)
- Scott Baio as Bob Loblaw (1)
- Carl Weathers as Himself (1)
- James Lipton as Stefan Gentles (1)
- Justin Lee as Annyong Bluth (1)
- Clint Howard as Johnny Bark (1)
- B.W. Gonzalez as Lupe (1)
- New Guest Cast
- Isla Fisher as Rebel Alley (9 episodes)
- Kristen Wiig as a Young Lucille Bluth (7)
- Chris Diamantopoulos as Marky Bark (7)
- Maria Bamford as DeBrie Bardeaux (6)
- Terry Crews as Herbert Love (5)
- Seth Rogen as Young George Bluth (4)
- Richard Jin Namkung as Paul 'P-Hound' Huan (4)
- Daniel Amerman as Mark Cherry (3)
- John Slattery as Dr. Norman (3)
- Bob Glouberman as David (3)
- Max Winkler as Young Barry Zuckerkorn (3)
- Bernie Kopell as Judge Kornzucker (3)
- Mary Lynn Rajskub as Heartfire (2)
- Debra Mooney as Joan Bark (2)
- Brian Grazer as Himself (2)
- Tommy Tune as Argyle Austero
- Conan O'Brien as Himself (1)
- Garcelle Beauvais as Ophelia Love (1)
- Blake Anderson, Adam DeVine, Anders Holm, and Erik Griffin (of Workaholics)
- Ben Schwartz (of Parks and Recreation)
- John Krasinski (of The Office)
- Natasha Leggero, Busy Philipps, Dan Harmon, and others make cameo appearances in single episodes.
- Main article: Awards & Nominations
On July 18, 2013 nominations for the Emmy awards were announced and Arrested Development's fourth season received three nominations: Jason Bateman for best lead comedic actor, best comedic editing for "Flight of the Phoenix" and best original score for "Flight of the Phoenix". Along with Netflix's other original series House of Cards and Hemlock Grove, Arrested had the distinction of being the first nominated program to premiere and be distributed online rather than on broadcast of cable TV. Arrested Development did not claim any of the awards.
- People's Choice Awards - Nominated: Favorite Streaming Series
- SAG Awards - Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series - Jason Bateman (lost to Ty Burrell)
- SAG Awards - Nominated: Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series - Full Cast (lost to Modern Family)
Unlike the previous three seasons, and in part to the technological opportunities Netflix brings to the table, Mitch Hurwitz and producers wrote, filmed, and edited all 15 episodes in a way that they could be watched in any order. Says David Cross of the new style:
David Cross: [It's] like if you could mash up a Venn diagram with a nautilus shell. And then put that inside a Möbius strip.
Main theme and intro changes
Featuring new images and narration, the introduction to each episode of Season Four varies depending on which character the episode focuses on. The narration and captions depict the relationships to the episode's focal character (see Michael's intro below).
Narrator: Now the story of a family who's future was abruptly cancelled and the one son-in-law who had no choice but to keep himself together. It's Tobias' Arrested Development.From "A New Start"
Each character has a specific instrument that plays along with the title music: Michael has a trumpet, George has a guitar, Lindsay has a sitar and guitar, Tobias has a saxophone and harp, G.O.B. has an electric guitar, Lucille has a violin, Maeby has scat vocals, George Michael has a wood block, and Buster has an accordion. Although "Blockheads" is a George Michael centric episode, all musical instruments are present.
- Main article: Season Four chronological re-edit
In May 2013, Mitch Hurwitz encouraged everyone to watch the 15 episodes in order. In October 2014 Hurwitz announced he was re-editing Season Four to be in chronological order. No further information on how it would be released or the scope of the re-edit was revealed, but he suggested it was primarily for Fox executives.
Arrested Development Soundtrack
At Long Last... Music and Songs from Arrested Development is the official soundtrack for Arrested Development and was released in the UK on November 8, 2013 and in the US on November 19, 2013. The album contains 42 songs composed by David Schwartz featured over all four seasons of the series.
Several cast members assisted in the album. Will Arnett's vocals appear on "It Ain't Easy Being White". Jeffrey Tambor's vocals appear on "All You Need Is Smiles". David Cross and Portia de Rossi's vocals appear on "Teamocil".
The complete fourth season DVD was made available for Region 2 on June 9, 2014, Region 4 on August 23, 2014, and Region 1 on December 16, 2014. A fan art contest hosted at arrestedfanart.com (won by Tennessee graphic designer Chad Malone) produced the Region 1 DVD artwork.
DVD special features include:
- History of Arrested Development
- Being Back on Arrested Development
- The Writing and The Scripts
- Working with Mitch
- Working with Two Directors
- Buster Smoking
- Production Design – Get an inside look at how the sets were recreated for Season Four
- Script Department – One-on-one interview with the script supervisor on how all the stories came together
- Fantastic 4 – A behind-the-scenes look at Tobias’ one of a kind “stage production”
- In Character features on Tobias, Barry, Herbert Love, Rebel, Buster, George and Oscar, and Michael
Character Promotional Photos
- → See 77 pictures of Season 4 Character Posters at Images of Season 4 Character Posters.
- → For more images from Season Four, see the Category:Season Four Images page
Behind the Scenes
- → See 72 pictures from Season 4 BTS at Images from Season 4 BTS.
The cast and crew of Arrested Development often posted numerous selfies with other cast members, behind the scenes pictures and episode sneak peeks.
Cast and Crew Behind The Scenes Photos
- Main article: Arrested Development on Social Media
- → See 103 pictures from Social Media at Images from Social Media.
On April 4, 2013 Netflix revealed the official Arrested Development Twitter and Facebook accounts were revealed. The accounts have been sharing highlights from the first three seasons and season four.
Official Facebook Posts
- → See 56 pictures from AD Facebook Posts at Images from AD Facebook Posts.
Season 4 Arrested Development Q&A Sessions
- Main article: 2013 Arrested Development Q&A Sessions
- → See 19 pictures from 2013 Netflix Ask AD at Images from 2013 Netflix Ask AD.
As part of the Season Four marketing strategy, the cast of Arrested Development answered questions that were sent in by Arrested Development fans using the #AskAD Hashtag.
Season 4 Trailer
- → Watch more videos of Michael Bluth at Category:Season Four Episode Clips
Behind the Scenes
- → See and enjoy more Behind the Scenes videos at Behind the Scenes.