Text Box: DVDsleuth.com

Text Box:   


DVDSleuth.com is your source for daily DVD news and reviews.


Family Guy: Volume 6 (2007-2008)

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
DVD Released: 10/21/2008

All Ratings out of

Review by Mike Long, Posted on 10/26/2008

Any long-running live-action television show must eventually evolve. This is caused by factors both inside and outside of the show. On the outside, actors may come and go, and therefore, the storylines must change. On the inside, the actors also age, and adjustments must be made for this. We also have shows which try gimmicks to shake things up, with the old "bring in a new kid" idea, as seen on Family Ties, Growing Pains, and Diff'rent Strokes, being one of the most popular. These rules do not necessarily apply to animated shows. Just look at The Simpsons, where all of the characters have been the same age for 20 years. And yet, Family Guy did evolve...or devolve depending on how you look at it. By examining the recently released Family Guy: Volume 6 DVD, we can see how the show has changed.

Family Guy is set in Quahog, Rhode Island, and focuses on the Griffin family. Peter (voiced by Seth MacFarlane) is an overweight loudmouth his whose laziness is only outdone by his ignorance. His wife, Lois (voiced by Alex Borstein), attempts to keep Peter in line, but she's often distracted by her own wild-streak. Their oldest son, Chris (voiced by Seth Green), is an insecure dullard. Their daughter, Meg (voiced by Mila Kunis), is renowned for being unattractive, and their baby, Stewie (voiced by MacFarlane), is an evil child who only wants to kill Lois. The voice of reason is the dog, Brian (voiced by MacFarlane), but he's often side-tracked by his love of Lois and alcohol.

The Family Guy: Volume 6 DVD contains 12 episodes from the show's fifth and sixth seasons. The episodes are:

"No Meals on Wheels" (Original airdate: 3/25/07) -- When a rare coin is discovered under the carpet in the Griffin household, Peter decides to open a restaurant. But, when one of his good buddies attempts to help Peter with business, Peter takes it the wrong way.

"Boys Do Cry" (Original airdate: 4/29/07) -- After a mishap at church, the town becomes convinced that Stewie is possessed, so the Griffin's flee to Texas, where they discover a totally different way of life.

"No Chris Left Behind" (Original airdate: 5/6/07) -- When Lois insists that the high school make improvements, they decide to raise test scores by expelling the lowest student -- which just happens to be Chris. Chris is then sent to a snooty private school.

"It Takes a Village Idiot, and I Married One" (Original airdate: 6/13/07) -- After experiencing a polluted lake, Lois decides to run for mayor. But she soon learns that politics is very corrupting.

"Meet the Quagmires" (Original airdate: 5/20/07) -- Peter regrets not having dated much as a teenager, so he convinces Death (voiced by Adam Corolla) to take him back in time so that he can see girls other than Lois.

"Movin' Out (Brian's Song)" (Original airdate: 9/30/07) -- Brian moves in with his girlfriend, Jillian (voiced by Drew Barrymore), but when he can't afford the rent, Stewie moves in as well.

"Believe it or Not, Joe's Walking on Air" (Original airdate: 10/7/07) -- Tired of being in his wheelchair, Joe (voiced by Patrick Warburton) gets a leg transplant. But, his ability to walk again has an effect on his personality.

"Stewie Kills Lois" (Original airdate: 11/4/07) -- Disgusted that Peter and Lois go on a cruise without him, Stewie sets out to finally achieve his goal of matricide.

"Lois Kills Stewie" (Original airdate: 11/4/07) -- Peter is framed for Lois' murder and only a surprise witness can save him.

"Padre de Familia" (Original airdate: 11/18/07) -- Peter's drive to rid Quahog of immigrants backfires when he learns that he wasn't born in the United States.

"Peter's Daughter" (Original airdate: 11/25/07) -- When Meg almost drowns, Peter decides that he's neglected her and begins to smother her.

"McStroke" (Original airdate: 1/13/08) -- Peter grows a moustache, loses the moustache, has a stroke, and sings R.E.M.

When Family Guy first aired in 1998, the show attempted to have a continuity surrounding the family and their adventures. Today, that continuity has flown out the door. There is never a mention of Peter's job anymore (save for "Padre de Familia" when it was conducive to the plot) and the fact that he was able to suddenly open a restaurant in "No Meals on Wheels" only reinforces this. The only continuity in these episodes is Brian's girlfriend, Jillian.

No, the show's only goal today is to focus on the jokes, whether they make sense or not. And the show is often very funny. I know that many people hate the show's style, especially the "This is worse than the time that..." segues into jokes that have nothing to do with the plot, but it would be hard to argue that the show isn't funny or creative. Family Guy often walks a fine line between shocking and clever, and it often strays too far into the former. But, when it can be clever, and pokes fun at real-life or pop-culture, the show really hits the mark. Some of the best jokes are spoofs of famous movies or TV shows, and at these times, the show feels as if it's aimed squarely at Generation X. And, unlike many shows, Family Guy seems to get better with age, as there are some gems in this most recent collection.

Family Guy: Volume 6 fights a chicken for no apparent reason on DVD courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. This three-disc set contains 12 episodes of the show. The episodes are presented in their original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. The image is sharp and clear, showing no grain. The colors look very good and the crispness of the image is impressive. However, there were many jagged lines in the animation and some video noise. Please keep in mind that this may be due to the fact that I was watching a special screener copy. The DVDs carry a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which provides clear dialogue and sound effects. While TV shows rarely bowl you over with audio effects, Family Guy makes great use of stereo effects. Simply see the "Brian, I spilled something!" scene in "Movin' Out" for great stereo effects. In fact, this is one of those moments where I can't imagine what it would be like to watch this on a mono TV. The surround sound effects aren't as impressive, as they mainly consist of musical cues.

This Family Guy set contains two versions of each episodes. One can choose to watch the episode as it originally aired on Fox, or the uncensored version, which is often longer (but by no more than a minute in most cases). These longer versions have aired on Adult Swim, but never like this, with all of the profanity intact. Dolphins should not say those words. It should also be noted that this set does not contain the "Blue Harvest" episode, which aired during this run, but was released separately.

The Family Guy: Volume 6 DVD set contains several extras. There are AUDIO COMMENTARIES for every episode. These include Seth MacFarlane and various producers, writers, directors, and actors. Some of these are quite funny, as the speakers talk about the jokes and even ridicule them at times. But, there are also quite passages, as if they've run out of things to say. The remainder of the extras are found on Disc 3. The DVD contains 49 (!) DELETED SCENES from various episodes which run about 19 minutes. All of these are fully animated and there's some good stuff here. For once, I wish that there had been commentary so that we could know if some of these were cut to appease the censors, as a few are quite rough. "Animatic Episodes" features three episodes on animated storyboard form. These can be viewed with optional commentary. The "Family Guy 100th Episode Special" (22 minutes) is the same piece which aired on Fox. It's comprised mostly of clips from the show, but there are comments from MacFarlane and scenes of (supposedly) real people giving their opinions on the show. "Family Guy Live! - "Just for Laughs" (71 minutes) was taped at the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal on July 21, 2007. Here, the cast of the show perform an episode (a la a table read) in front of a live audience. This is actually a great extra, as we get to witness MacFarlane playing Peter, Stewie, and Brian in a single scene. In "Peter Shin Draws Lois" (4 minutes), the animator demonstrates how to draw the character. "The Making of the 100th Episode" (25 minutes) explores the creation of the show, beginning with the writing of the episode. We then see the table read, the recording of the dialogue, the animation process, and post production. We get many comments from the cast and crew here. The makers of the show tell us what they like best in "Favorite Scenes" (11 minutes). Finally, we have the MUSIC VIDEO for the song "I'm Huge (and the babes go wild" (3 minutes) by Steve Smith and the Nakeds.

Review Copyright 2008 by Mike Long