Plot: What’s it about?
Stan Smith is a CIA agent and he loves freedom, democracy, and America in general. Well, at least the parts of America that agree with his ideals, the rest he would rather see carted off to a prison camp, or worse. He is married to the beautiful Francine, a loyal wife who does her best not to raise the household’s threat levels. The couple have two children, the rather uncool son named Steve and the rebellious Hayley, neither of whom are a source of pride for Stan. He is a conservative, Hayley is a liberal and while Stan is an athlete and ladies’ man, his son is a dork and hapless with the females. Also in the home is Klaus, a German fascist trapped in the body of a goldfish and Roger, an alien who escaped from Area 51. Stan would normally turn over an escaped alien, but Roger saved his life, so he hides and protects him in return. So as if Stan’s stressful job as protector of freedom wasn’t enough, his homelife is just as hectic. But Stan just wants to live free and be the best dad he can be, an American Dad.
American Dad is of course one of Seth MacFarlane’s animated shows, but unlike Family Guy, this series at least tries to do more than make pop culture references. I found American Dad to be rather dull for the first couple seasons, but it has slowly improved and while this isn’t high praise, it is the best of MacFarlane’s output. The show still shoehorns in random, lame pop culture gags, but there is usually some effective humor as well. And while it is beyond silly and wildly chaotic, American Dad still some decent characters that provide good laughs. I am by no means saying this series is hilarious, but it is often a decent watch and the family is vastly more interesting than the Family Guy brood. This collection of episodes is some of the show’s finest, but there are also some clunkers in here, such as the desperate Rapture’s Delight. When the show tries to entertain in simple ways, it tends to work, but when it forces the content like it does in Rapture’s Delight, it sinks and sinks fast. But on the whole, American Dad: Volume 6 is solid and MacFarlane fans should love it.
Video: How does it look?
The episodes are presented in either full frame or 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, as the show shifted aspect ratios at the mid-season point. The show looks great here, very clear and with no problems to mention. The colors are vivid and bold, with no bleeds, while contrast is deep and stark. These episodes look excellent.
Audio: How does it sound?
I didn’t expect much in this department, but the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks come through with some unexpected presence. Not presence as in raw power, but for an animated series like this, the soundtrack is more dynamic than I anticipated. There is frequent directional presence and very creative use of the surrounds, so the audio design wasn’t an afterthought for this series. The music has good life and sound effects are well handled, while dialogue is crisp and clean with no problems. This release also includes subtitles in English, French, and Spanish.
Supplements: What are the extras?
In addition to the uncensored versions of the episodes, we also have audio comments on select episodes. These tracks are passable, but don’t really entertain or inform enough to be worthwhile. This release also includes some deleted scenes, as well as several features that center on the Rapture’s Delight episode. I have no idea why so much emphasis is placed on the season’s weakest episode, however.