DVD Review: New Volumes of ‘American Dad,’ ‘Family Guy’

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CHICAGO – Nearly thirty episodes of Sunday night FOX animated hits “American Dad!” and “Family Guy” were recently released on DVD in extras-packed volumes and we couldn’t let these excellent releases fly by without a brief review. It’s unlikely that anyone is jumping into their collections of either show this late in the game, so the question is will they satisfy fans who already purchased the first four volumes of “American Dad!” or the first seven of “Family Guy.” Fans won’t be disappointed.

HollywoodChicago.com DVD Rating: 3.5/5.0
DVD Rating: 3.5/5.0

To be honest, they won’t be disappointed with the notable and entertaining special features but there may be a bit of a letdown if fans haven’t kept up with the actual programs on Sunday nights as both have dipped a little bit in terms of quality in the last year or so. The shows created by Seth MacFarlane don’t follow traditional season-set release patterns, so we need to make clear what’s in each volume.

Family Guy: Volume Eight was released on DVD on June 15th, 2010
Family Guy: Volume Eight was released on DVD on June 15th, 2010
Photo credit: Fox

The fifth volume of “American Dad!” includes episode 5.7 (“Phantom of the Telethon”) through episode 5.20 (“Stan’s Night Out”), all of which aired in the first half of 2009. The eighth volume of “Family Guy” includes episode 7.10 (“Fox-y Lady”) through episode 8.8 (“Dog Gone”) — episodes that aired from March to November of 2009. It feels a little bit like Fox is trying to milk fans for a little more cash by keeping these volumes off a standard season pattern in that the volumes contain 14 or 15 episodes where a season is usually around 20. More volumes will be released than seasons. But it’s a minor complaint.

American Dad: Volume Five was released on DVD on June 15th, 2010
American Dad: Volume Five was released on DVD on June 15th, 2010
Photo credit: Fox

As for the quality of the shows, both are in need of a creative infusion. “Family Guy” still has moments of greatness but there are too many episodes in this volume that fall as flat as the show has ever fallen. The eighth volume of “Family Guy” doesn’t compare to the first four volumes overall but still features enough laugh-out-loud moments and great special features to keep fans on the hook.

It’s pretty much the same story for “American Dad!,” a show that has never quite lived up to the saga of the Griffin family in terms of popularity but has a loyal fan base itself. Those fans may notice a few more duds than previous volumes but not enough to conceivably dissuade buyers who enjoyed the first four volumes from picking it up.

Fox has always excelled in the special features department and these releases are no exception. “Family Guy” features a commentary on nearly every episode from series creator Seth MacFarlane, writers, directors, producers, and cast members, deleted scenes, “Family Guy Karaoke,” and “The Road to The Road to the Multiverse.” “American Dad!” features a commentary on every single episode, deleted scenes, and “The Power Hour Drinking Game.” Perhaps most notably for some fans, all of the episodes in both volumes are uncensored. So, if you’ve always wanted to hear Stewie Griffin drop an f-bomb, now’s your chance.

‘Family Guy: Volume Eight’ is released by Fox Home Video and features voice work by Seth MacFarlane, Seth Green, Alex Borstein, and Mila Kunis. It was released on DVD on June 15th, 2010.

‘American Dad: Volume Five’ is released by Fox Home Video and features voice work by Seth MacFarlane, Wendy Schaal, Dee Bradley Baker, Scott Grimes, and Rachael MacFarlane. It was released on DVD on June 15th, 2010.

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HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

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