Plot: What’s it about?
I’m sure I mentioned this in my review of a previous “Family Guy” set, but in case I didn’t let me do that now. I love “Family Guy!” While it’s true that “The Simpson’s” is and has been my favorite television show for over two decades now, “Family Guy” is rapidly gaining some headway. For those that aren’t familiar with the show, and I assume you are if you’re reading this review, it’s a bit like “The Simpson’s” in that it’s animated. However there are some differences between the two shows, namely that “Family Guy” is far more irreverent. They actually identify where they live, Quahog, Rhode Island and while they don’t have as many characters, they’re nonetheless funny. The show was actually cancelled, but was brought back due to the fans’ demand and is now the anchor of Fox’s Sunday animated lineup. Go figure. Unlike Simpson’s creator, Matt Groening, Seth MacFarlane provides voices for several of the main characters of the show as well as being actively involved in the production of the show.
In this ninth season (or “Volume” as they put it) we once again find the Griffin’s in a series of adventures that start off with a murder mystery dinner party. The season had some of the most memorable episodes in recent memory with such controversial episodes like “And I’m Joyce Kinney”, “Friends of Peter G” and “The Hand that Rocks the Wheelchair.” It’s actually hard to summarize an entire season of stand-alone episodes as they have no linear, coherent plot. But if you’ve become a fan of the Griffins and they’re antics over the years then I can safely say that this season delivers more of the goods. We do say goodbye to a character, news anchor Diane Simmons, is replaced by Joyce Kinney. And though Cleveland Brown has moved onto his new show (there’s an episode of it on this set) we do get a glimpse of him. “Family Guy” will offend and polarize viewers – that’s why it’s so loved.
Video: How does it look?
Well it’s taken nine seasons, but “Family Guy” is finally in widescreen! To be fair, it took “The Simpson’s” over twenty seasons so by comparison, this isn’t that bad. Seeing the episodes in their 1.78:1 aspect ratio really brings a new level of clarity to how they look. Colors are bold and strong and every inch of your HDTV will be used. This is actually not being offered on Blu-ray, but this is where the line between Blu-ray and DVD is still somewhat blurred. Animation looks so good on standard DVD that I really don’t think having this in Blu-ray would look that much better. Sure, maybe a bit sharper, but even as spoiled as I am by Blu-ray, I was more than pleased with how this season looked on standard DVD.
Audio: How does it sound?
As is the case with most standard DVD’s the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack varies from episode to episode. The opening theme song always sounds great and vocals and dialogue are generally very strong. There are a few instances of the surrounds kicking in, but mostly the front stage handles the meat of the sound. Again, the line is blurred between a standard 5.1 track and what a DTS HD Master Audio track (providing this was available on Blu-ray) and what it could really offer.
Supplements: What are the extras?
While not as loaded with extras as a season of “The Simpson’s”, this ninth installment of “Family Guy” does have some things worth mentioning. We get some deleted scenes and a very interesting side-by-side comparison of some rough footage and the final product. There are some brief featurettes as well as an episode of “The Cleveland Show” with an introduction by Mike Henry, who provides some voices for the show. Audio commentaries are also included.