The family-run Bluth Co. has been in big trouble since the first episode of "Arrested Development" three seasons ago, when patriarch George Sr. was busted for cooking the books of the company he ran.
Now this zany Fox comedy is coming to an end with a two-hour series finale - just days after the start of the real-life corruption trial of two former Enron bosses charged with the sort of corporate shenanigans the show took such glee in spoofing.
More than coincidence? Hard to say.
But on the finale, George Sr. hires an attorney who asks the Bluths to take part in a mock trial to help prepare them for the real thing. Then, for this mock trial, the attorney gets actor Judge Reinhold to sit in as judge.
And the madness and hilarity just goes on from there.
The splendid ensemble includes Jeffrey Tambor as George Sr., along with Jason Bateman, Portia de Rossi, Jessica Walter, Michael Cera, Alia Shawkat, Will Arnett, Tony Hale and David Cross. Guest stars include Jason's sister, Justine Bateman, "American Idol" washout William Hung and Jamie Kennedy, as well as Reinhold playing himself.
Beginning at 8 p.m. Friday, the four back-to-back episodes should do justice to a series that has won acclaim and a rabid following, but never managed to break out into a ratings hit.
Too bad. A show this shrewd, why couldn't it figure out a way to cook the Nielsen books and pump up the ratings?
Other shows to look out for:
- An 11-year-old Indonesian girl named Yulce Dailongi was severely disfigured when, in 2002, a lit kerosene lamp exploded as she filled it with oil. She suffered third-degree burns. Then, lacking medical treatment, she lay in bed in excruciating pain for eight months while scar tissue melted her face into her chest and fused her arms to her sides. There seemed to be no hope for her until a humanitarian agency discovered her and arranged for treatment at a burn center in Los Angeles. "A Face for Yulce" follows the young girl through her grueling, yearlong restoration. The one-hour documentary airs 8 p.m. Monday on TLC.
- "For One Night" is inspired by the true story of a modern-day integrated Southern high school where black and white students mix socially, yet its tradition of segregated proms remains unchallenged after decades. Then Brianna McCallister (a 12th grader who chairs the black prom committee) suggests the black and white seniors join forces to put on a single dance for everyone. The idea sparks controversy among the school's parents and administration. Only Brianna's courage, and the help of a reporter who takes up her cause, brings the issue into the spotlight and leads to change. The Lifetime film stars Raven-Symone ("That's So Raven") as Brianna and Aisha Tyler ("Ghost Whisperer") as the journalist who comes to Desiree's aid. It premieres 9 p.m. Monday.
- Two mysterious murder cases. Evidence of ritualistic killings. With the corpses, found by accident in waterlogged Irish peat bogs, almost perfectly preserved. But these apparent crimes are beyond the jurisdiction of police today. When scientists step in, they soon find clues that place these violent deaths in the prehistoric Iron Age, more than 2,000 years ago. This week's "NOVA" edition, "The Perfect Corpse" pushes archaeological forensics to its limits in an 18-month, much-belated investigation into how two men came to such brutal ends. An unexpected glimpse into a distant, vanished era, the documentary airs 8 p.m. Tuesday on PBS (check local listings).
- After losing nearly everything in Hurricane Katrina, sisters Arin and Alexis Jones, both New Orleans residents and LSU students, have devoted themselves to supporting their family and rebuilding their lives, while they put their own plans on hold - including Alexis' 21st birthday celebration. Cue co-hosts Kristin Cavallari and Ethan Erickson of "Get This Party Started," who step in and work with Arin (plus an elite team of party planners) to throw the ultimate surprise bash for Alexis in Las Vegas. Each week, this new feel-good reality series will dispatch a party rescue squad to reward selected ordinary folks who have suffered a tragedy or sacrificed for their loved ones. You're invited to the premiere, airing 9 p.m. Tuesday on UPN.