Out of "Family Guy"'s many pop-culture references, few things have been mentioned more than "Star Wars", including a hysterical reference to the ceremony at the end of the first film. It was only natural that the series would eventually start parodying the entire films, and with the blessing of Lucasfilm, we get "Blue Harvest" (which was the title used during the production of "Return of the Jedi" to throw off potential onlookers), "Family Guy"'s mostly successful attempt to parody the first "Star Wars" film (apparently, the show plans to parody the other films, as well.)
The episode obviously follows the story of the first film closely, with the family sitting down to listen to Peter telling the story of "Star Wars", with Peter as Hans Solo, Chris as Luke, Quagmire as C-3PO, Cleveland as R2, Stewie as Vader, Herbert as Obi-Wan and Adam West as Grand Moff Tarkin. What Meg plays is only seen for a moment, and it's best left as a surprise.
The long episode does have a few issues (Quagmire and Cleveland as 3PO and R2 don't have enough to do, some scenes seem a little too close to just replicating the original scene), there are some huge laughs, especially one particular line in the garbage chute. Some other laughs include elevator music in the Death Star, a priceless scene with Chris/Luke rescuing Lois/Leia and a discussion of what was really responsible for the one vulnerable point on the Death Star. Additionally, Seth Green manages to nail some of the Mark Hamill line readings as Luke in his Chris voice.
Overall, the episode is really very funny at times, although it will likely not please fans of the series that it is being made available for purchase separate from the next full volume of the series. Note: the DVD release does include some additional footage not seen on TV.
VIDEO: "Family Guy: Blue Harvest" is presented by Fox in 1.33:1 full-frame, the show's original aspect ratio. The picture quality (and animation) is about the same as a regular episode. Sharpness and detail are perfectly fine, as the animation appeared crisp and well-defined throughout.
Some minor shimmer appeared, but the presentation was otherwise fine, with no print flaws, edge enhancement or other concerns. Colors appeared bright and well-defined, with no smearing or other issues.
SOUND: The show's Dolby 5.1 soundtrack isn't anything too remarkable, but there are some nice instances of mild surround use for effects during some of the action sequences. Audio quality was fine, with clear dialogue and crisp effects.
EXTRAS: A commentary with creator Seth McFarlane and members of the crew is included. MacFarlane and the other participants have a lot of fun chatting the creation of the episode, as well as discussion of the inspiration behind some of the gags and other behind-the-scenes tidbits. An animatic version of the entire episode is also included, as well.
As for the featurettes, "A Conservation With George" is a particularly entertaining piece, as Lucas seems unusually relaxed and amused, especially when McFarlane tries to quiz him on pieces of the music from the films. "Once in a Lifetime" is a 20-minute "making of" documentary that discusses how the episode came about, as well as how roles were chosen for the "Family Guy" characters and some animation being worked on. The documentary is a little fluffy, but does provide a decent overview of the making of this special.
Finally, we get a set of all the "Star Wars" gags from the series. and a "Family Guy" promo. There is also a "Limited Edition" version available, with additional collectibles included.
Final Thoughts: "Blue Harvest" does sometimes seem a little too close to the original film, but when the episode works, it does get some good laughs. The DVD offers some enjoyable supplemental features and fine audio/video quality, but the price tag seems high for one long episode of the series. Fans should either rent or look for the title on sale.