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Family Guy: Volume 2

Review Written by: Estefan Ellison
Film: A+
Video/Audio/Extras: B/B+/A-

Directed by: Glen Hill, Gavin Dell, Brian Hogan, Dan Povenmire, Bert Ring, Rob Renzetti, Pete Michels, etc.
Written by: Steve Callaghan, Gary Janetti, Ricky Blitt, Jim Bernstein, Michael Shipley, Mike Barker, Matt Weitzman, etc.
Produced by: Gregory Thomas Garcia
Starring: Seth MacFarlane, Alex Borstein, Mila Kunis, Seth Green, Mike Henry, Patrick Warburton, Adam West, Lori Alan
Buy it!, Buy it, rent it or skip it: Buy it!

Note: If the beginning of this review sounds familiar, it's because it's copied from my Family Guy: Volume 1 review. Hey, it's not plagiarising if I'm copying my own work. Or maybe it is. I will be right back.

Animated shows were once considered entertainment for the children to watch a Saturday morning. Then in 1960, The Flintstones premiered on primetime and became a huge hit. People still said that cartoons were children's fare, though. That was until Fox unveiled The Simpsons in 1989 and the rest is history. Since then, adult cartoons have been popping up everywhere. Some of my favourite have been Futurama, South Park and Dilbert. However, none of those shows can match the brilliance and hilarity of Seth MacFarlane's Family Guy. Often considered a rip-off of The Simpsons, while simalarities are noticable, Family Guy is still in a league of its own.

The Griffin family is a strange Irish-American family who goes through many crazy antics on their home of Quaqog, Rhode Island. Peter (Seth MacFarlane) is the drunken father who always says what's on his mind which usually contains curse words. Lois (Alex Borstein) is the wife who is always trying to keep everything normal. Brian (Seth MacFarlane) is the family dog who always has some words of wisdom and a dry martini. Chris (Seth Green) is the not very smart boy and Meg (Mila Kunis) is his sister who is always embarrassed by her family. And finally, Stewie (Seth MacFarlane) the baby, the funniest and most original cartoon character to ever hit the air waves, is always attempting to take over the world or at least destroy broccoli. They are joined by the wacky sex-obsessed neighbour (Seth MacFarlane) and their wheelchair-bound policeman friend (Patrick Warburton). Adding to the fun are the quibbling anchor-people (Seth MacFarlane, Lori Alan) and their always peculiar mayor (Adam West).

What do I have to say about Family Guy that hasn't been said before? This is a very funny show with humour that will appeal to everyone (although some very religious types will most likely get offended). Like South Park, everyone is ripe for a ripping from Michael Eisner to Ally McBeal to BBC children's programmes. Creator Seth MacFarlane also proves to be a very good voice artist, doing most of the male characters on the show, his best work being Peter and Stewie. Alex Borstein's work as Lois is especially funny and she gets into the character more and more. Seth Green completely and successfully disguises his voice when playing Chris.

If you were to ask me what my favourite episodes on this set are, I would have to say "Road to Europe" and "Peter Griffin, Husband, Father...Brother?." The former is the second Stewie and Brian "Road" adventure. Their encounters with the Pope and a German tour guide are just too funny and it's even more hilarious if you've been to Europe. The latter involves Peter finding out that he has a black ancester and decides that he wants to become more black, but this soon angers everyone in the neighbourhood. Stewie's subplot where he befriends a group of cheerleaders is very funny, especially when he sneaks into their locker room. Wonderful hilarity insues in both episodes. The only episode that isn't any good on this set is "Death Lives", which looks at the history of Peter and Lois. It still provides some laughs, though.

Moving on to the technical aspects of this four-disc set, I must say that Fox Home Entertainment has greatly improved on that really bad transfer that Volume 1 had. The image is much cleaner and the sound is more clear and audible than before. Fox has also improved in terms of extras. The major extras are the audio commentaries spread throughout the discs, which feature conversations with Seth MacFarlane as well as the writers and actors who have worked on the show. They obviously loved working on it and seemed to be very upset with its cancellation, but they still seem like a fun bunch and these commentaries are great to listen to. All the remaining extras are on Disc Three. First are some deleted scenes, all of which are shown in rough storyboard sketches. They are actually very funny scenes, all of which made me laugh out loud. The original pilot also makes an appearance here and shows how the characters changed since MacFarlane first invisioned them. It's a terrific piece of work that fans will enjoy very much.

The final extras are two featurettes that center on how the writers went around the censors and the creation of the show. There are great looks at the show and the troubles they had with Fox. Yet, they seem very calm about it. They're a good bunch. Fans will enjoy watching these episodes over and over again as well as the wonderful extras. This is a great set on a brilliant adult cartoon.

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