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Family Guy: Volume 3

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

Directed by: Peter Shin, Pete Michels, Chuck Klein, Alex Frost, James Purdum, Seth Kearsley, etc.
Written by: Seth MacFarlane, Ken Goin, Steve Callaghan, Gene Laufenberg, Patrick Henry, Mike Henry, etc.
Produced by: Kara Vallow
Voices of: Seth MacFarlane, Alex Borstein, Mila Kunis, Seth Green, Mike Henry, Patrick Warburton, Adam West
Buy it!, Buy it, rent it or skip it: Buy it!

Usually when a television show gets cancelled due to terrible ratings, the chances of it coming back are rather slim. However, Seth MacFarlane's animated creation, Family Guy defied the odds of it coming back with remarkable DVD sales and is now one of the top-rated shows on Fox Sunday. The show was cancelled in 2002, because the reality show-obsessed network decided to put it up against Friends and Survivor. Great idea, Fox! The fans were upset and some even boycotted Fox and stopped watching it (even going so far as to stop buying products advertised on Fox). They then realized they made a stupid mistake and put it back on the air. Now, here is a new box-set for the fans to buy and support the show.

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-bond policeman friend (Patrick Warburton). Adding to the fun are the quibbling anchor-people (Seth MacFarlane, Lori Alan) and their always peculiar mayor (Adam West).

There were many worries that the show would not be as good in its return. Luckily, that's not the case and Family Guy is just as brilliant and funny as it was in its first three seasons. This fourth season proves to be even more raunchier and offensive than before. From Peter's barbershop quartet song about AIDS to Jodie Foster finally apologizing to John Hinkley, the show attempts to push the envelope as far as it can go. Now imagine if Family Guy was on HBO. The writing team do superb jobs at making obscure pop culture references (What's Jake and the Fat Man?) and even taboo subjects like diet pills and cocaine funny. All the episodes on these three discs are hilarious, except for the completely un-funny "Blind Ambition" which involves Peter becoming blind from nickel poisoning. The best episode on this disc is "The Cleveland-Loretta Quagmire" in which Cleveland's wife cheats on him with Quagmire. The laughs are endless in that episode. Kudos also go to the cast for returning, especially Alex Borstein who is the only person who can voice Lois. The only bad episode in this set is the before-mentioned "Blind Ambition" which the grade down to an "A-" which is still an amazing score nonetheless. Colour is sharp and clear on the episode and receive a huge "A+" which I will also give the excellent audio.

Now onto the special features, the first disc starts with previews for Office Space and Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story that can be easily skipped. On the three DVDs are multiple audio options. First are the usual excellent Family Guy commentaries which appear on ten episodes. They're all great and funny, although the absense of Alex Borstein is upsetting, the participation of James Woods in one of the commentaries makes up for it. The man is incredibly witty and I hope he returns to guest star many more times. You can also choose to watch four of the episodes, either censored of uncensored. This is a great option that started on the Stewie Griffin DVD and will probably continue in the others as well. The episode, "Petarded" also has a new scene added in, which involved everyone in town singing about Peter's new-found retardness. It's an hilarious song and it's great that they placed it in the episode and not as a special feature.

The rest of the special features are on Disc Three. First is a thirty minute documentary called "World Domination: The Family Guy Phenomenon" which takes a look at the reactions of the writers and actors on the show and what they thought about the show coming back. It's a very interesting piece. Next is a deleted scene from the episode, "Fast Times at Buddy Cianci Junior High" and involves a fun song with Brian singing about the great things about low-level jobs. There is another documentary entitled "Score! The Music of "Family Guy" which takes a look at the music used in the show and is very informative. That is followed by footage of episode table reads which shows the actors reading their parts. It is a really good feature that shows them reading scenes that weren't even animated and Alex Borstein's Jennifer Tilly impression is priceless. The main flaw is that it's terribly filmed and we don't have a great angle of the actors saying the lines. The extras end off with storyboard camparisons and an advertisement for American Dad. The extras provide a lot of behind the scenes looks at the making of the show and receive an "A" grade.

Family Guy is one of the best shows out there and it's great to see back and a nice looking box-set for the fans (and even new-comers) to enjoy. This is very worth buying.

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