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Family Guy: Volume 1

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

Directed by: Peter Shin, Michael Dante DiMartino, Dominic Polcino, Roy Allen Smith, Monte Young, Neil Affleck, etc.
Written by: Seth MacFarlane, Chris Sheridan, Danny Smith, Garrett Donovan, Neil Goldman, 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

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 God to the Kood-Aid Man to French people. 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 "Death is a Bitch" and "Wasted Talent." The former introduces a recurring in Death (played wonderfully by Norm MacDonald) who comes to take Peter away after he writes down that he is dead on his doctor's bill. When Death sprains his ankle and everyone thinks that the rules of death don't apply anymore, Peter is forced to kill the cast of Dawson's Creek. The latter involves Peter getting drunk and becoming like "the idiot from Shine." Wonderful hilarity insues in both episodes. The worst episode here and the one that you shouldn't see is "There's Something About Paulie", which unsuccessfully tries to lampoon The Godfather. Other than that, the first two seasons of Family Guy are gems.

Moving on to the technical aspects of this four-disc set, I must say that Fox Home Entertainment has done a terrible job with the transfer. The image is jerky and sometimes the sound sounds very unnatural. I know that this is a low-budget cartoon, but still. Of course, Fox would later learn its lesson and the quality of the later box sets have been almost perfect. Fox also hasn't packed this DVDs with many extras, but we're still treated with some great stuff. 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. In terms of visual extras, we get most promotional material. On Disc One are some funny internet promos for the show and its to see that Fox did care about Family Guy before they muddled with the schedule.

The final extra is on Disc Four. We get a documentary on how they make the show as well as the cast's positive reactions. It's mostly promotional, but its better than nothng. This is a rather good set on a brilliant adult cartoon. I wish that Fox had put in more extras, but the funny commentaries make up for it. I recommend that fans buy this, but those new to the series should borrow them from a friend.

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