The Bottom Line
- Lots and lots of extras.
- Includes episodes that will become classic.
- Becoming formulaic.
- Relying too heavily on Peter and Stewie as punchlines.
- Two discs hold thirteen episodes.
- Bonuses include 38 deleted scenes, animatics and how-to-draw featurettes.
- Commentary on every episode.
Guide Review - 'Family Guy' Vol. 5
First of all, I imagine after five years of producing any show, it's hard to be unpredictable. The very formula that made Family Guy so funny and different than other shows is becoming too familiar. We know the crazy flashbacks are coming. We know some pop culture reference is about to be made. I still chuckle at these scenes, but not with the gusto I used to.
Secondly, Family Guy is falling into the same trap that The Simpsons has fallen into. The show is beginning to focus too heavily on Peter's mishaps, much like The Simpsons mostly focuses on Homer. Peter is becoming dumber and nastier, without the good intentions that used to temper his failed schemes.
The other go-to characters are Stewie and Brian. Brian remains multi-faceted, but Stewie is becoming pigeon-holed. His hint of homosexuality the writers used to play with is now waved around like a flag, becoming less funny and more grating. It's much more fun to think you're figuring out a character's subtext than to have it become obvious. The Simpsons still does a pretty good job of playing with Smithers' sexuality that way. We've seen plenty of awkward scenes with Mr. Burns, and even scenes of his vacations, that confirm what has been long been known, but the writers never beats us about the head with it. It's not a focus of the jokes, just gravy. Whereas on Family Guy, Stewie's sexuality is becoming the punchline in itself.
That said, episodes like "Prick Up Your Ears," "Barely Legal" and "Airport '07" are gems. And the featurettes, animatics and other bonus features are very much worth watching. Just be sure to check your fan cynicism before you turn on the TV.