Better to consider it "one giant, 700-minute 'Arrested Development,' " said actor Jason Bateman, whose character, Michael Bluth, represents the closest thing to normal in the Bluth family, whose members include characters played by Jeffrey Tambor, Michael Cera and Will Arnett.
Bateman and creator Mitch Hurwitz continue to see the new episodes, which will catch fans up with what's happened to the Bluths since 2006, as a forerunner of the "Arrested Development" movie they still hope to make.
Trying to reassemble cast members whose careers have moved on forced Hurwitz to find a structure that would allow each episode to focus on one major character, with the rest of the cast making small appearances and all the stories intersecting.
And though there will be a recommended order for viewing, Bateman seems to think viewers might jump back and forth among the episodes to follow a character's story line from different angles.
"It's not how we came up watching TV . . . But you gotta follow the audience," said Hurwitz.
In last week's roundup of some of the winter's highlights, I somehow managed to leave out Showtime's "Shameless," which returns at 9 p.m. Sunday for a third season.
Few things this month have made me happier than having the Gallaghers back, in all their gritty glory.
Sunday's premiere finds Frank (William H. Macy) missing, and his children coping on their own, much as they always have.
The usually responsible Fiona (Emmy Rossum), looking for a way to move past the kind of jobs that rely on looks alone, takes a risky swing at something bigger early in the season, leaving Lip (Jeremy Allen White) to assume a bit more responsibility.
And that's how it works in truly functional families, even the ones with better-off-missing parents and circumstances that resemble those of "The Waltons" only in that money's tight.
For all their sexual adventures - and at this point in the season I'd rather look at naked bodies than mutilated ones - there's a cockeyed innocence about the Gallaghers and their ever-extending family that makes "Shameless" one of my least-guilty pleasures.
'Banshee's' Amish Mafia
Stop me if you've heard this one before: An ex-con (Anthony Starr) walks into a bar and the next thing you know he's pretending to be the local sheriff.
Set, somewhat vaguely, in Pennsylvania Amish country, "Banshee" (10 p.m. Friday, Cinemax) comes from Alan Ball ("Six Feet Under," "True Blood"), whose work is usually more slickly shot - the show's first episode was hard to watch for the camera work alone.
I stuck with it for a second, hoping to see more of Ben Cross ("Chariots of Fire") playing a major baddie known as Rabbit whom Starr's unnamed character is bound to encounter sooner or later.
Ivana Milicevic plays the fake sheriff's ex-lover, now living in Banshee under a new name and with a husband and family, and Ulrich Thomsen is the local crime lord, who has ties to the Amish. And as much as I've made fun of Discovery's silly "Amish Mafia," Thomsen's is at least a halfway interesting story in a Lancaster County town I recommend avoiding.
On Twitter: @elgray