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Currentfilm.com Review:

The Movie:

For those unfamiliar with the show, it focuses on the Griffin family, residents of Quahog, Rhode Island. Peter (creator Seth MacFarlane) is the heavy-drinking father who works in a toy factory, Lois (Alex Borstein of "Mad TV") is the mother and general voice of reason, Meg (Mila Kunis of "That 70's Show", replacing Lacey Chabert) is the insecure daughter, Chris (Seth Green) the chubby and dim-witted son, Brian (MacFarlane) is the alcoholic dog who talks and Stewie (creator Seth MacFarlane earned an Emmy for his voice work on the character) is the diabolical baby who is bent on world domination.

"Family Guy" may not have won in the ratings each week, but the series gained a devoted cult audience. Every week, the show turned pop culture on its head, offering twisted and laugh-out-loud spoofs of "Tron", "The Truman Show", "The Brady Bunch", "Willy Wonka" and "Dawson's Creek", among many others. Most episodes smoothly tied in as many of several of these hits at the entertainment industry. Still, despite a growing number of fans, the show went off the air after several time slot changes and long breaks eventually resulted in the show being cancelled.

When the series became an enormous hit on DVD (the first sets were the biggest TV-on-DVD hits the year of their release), "Family Guy" was resurrected, to the delight of fans. Is the reborn "Family Guy" the same as it always was? Maybe not, as the first season of the show's return seems somewhat less envelope-pushing in comparison to the first run of the series. Still, while stricter regulations appear to have kept a bit of a lid on the show's language and humor, the series continues to entertain and capture a sizable audience.

Although there are a few bumps during this set of episodes (which are the last half of the 7th season and the first half of the 8th season), a number of episodes still see the series firing on all cylinders, such as "We Love You, Conrad", which sees Brian falling in love with former "Hills" star Lauren Conrad. The episode manages some gentle pokes at "The Hills", but accomplishes something more amusing by providing a rather sweet portrayal of Conrad as a secret genius capable of creating a new universe under her house.

The group's "road" episode, "Road to the Multiverse", sees Brian and Stewie finding themselves zapped between multiple alternate realities, some of which are funny (a "Robot Chicken"-verse, as well as a superbly done "Disney"-verse) and some of which aren't (a world where humans are pets.) However, there's not a strong thread tying it together and the result is more a series of inconsistent, quick skits instead of a satisfying episode.

The other disappointment is "Spies Reminiscent of Us", a parody of the Ackroyd/Chase '80's comedy that's an inspired choice for the series. Unfortunately, the result is an episode that coasts on references rather than really crafting any clever riffs on the source material. Stewie does get a couple of good Stewie-centric episodes - "Stew-Roids" and "Hannah Banana" - the former an episode where Peter sees no problem with giving Stewie steroids after he gets beaten up by a girl baby, while "Hannah" sees Stewie and Brian learning the truth behind the star.

This Vol. includes part of season 7 and part of season 8. The episodes are uncensored and in some cases show additional material. The original version of the episodes is also available.

Season 7:

120 7-10 6ACX14 22/Mar/09 FOX-y Lady
121 7-11 6ACX17 29/Mar/09 Not All Dogs Go to Heaven
122 7-12 6ACX16 19/Apr/09 420
123 7-13 6ACX18 26/Apr/09 Stew-roids
124 7-14 6ACX19 03/May/09 We Love You Conrad
125 7-15 6ACX15 10/May/09 Three Kings
126 7-16 6ACX20 17/May/09 Peter's Progress

Season 8

127 8-01 7ACX06 27/Sep/09 Road to the Multiverse
128 8-02 7ACX01 04/Oct/09 Family Goy
129 8-03 7ACX03 11/Oct/09 Spies Reminiscent of Us
130 8-04 7ACX02 08/Nov/09 Brian's Got a Brand New Bag
131 8-05 7ACX05 08/Nov/09 Hannah Banana
132 8-06 7ACX04 15/Nov/09 Quagmire's Baby
133 8-07 7ACX08 22/Nov/09 Jerome Is the New Black
134 8-08 7ACX07 29/Nov/09 Dog Gone


VIDEO: "Family Guy" is presented in the show's original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio. The picture quality is good, although there's the occasional issue. Sharpness and detail remained satisfactory, as the rather low-tech animation appeared about as good as it can likely look here. The picture does offer the show's bright color palette well, as colors remained vivid and well-saturated throughout. No instances of edge enhancement appeared, but a couple of slight instances of artifacting were seen. The jagged line issue that was seen in some of the earlier seasons is not spotted here.

SOUND: The show's Dolby 2.0 soundtrack is included here in English, French and Spanish. The show's dialogue remains crisp and forward throughout, with the surrounds providing some reinforcement for music and occasional sound effects. Audio quality is superb, as sound effects remained clear (and occasionally punchy) throughout.

EXTRAS: Once again, creator Seth MacFarlane and many different members of the cast/crew provide commentary - although for some episodes, not all. Once again, MacFarlane and the other participants have a lot of fun chatting about the creation of each episode. Freqeuent topics include bits that were changed or didn't make it to the final episode, inspirations for jokes, scoring the show, stories from the writing room, fights with network censors and more.

We also get "Family Guy Karaoke", "Road to the Multiverse" featurette and deleted scenes.

Final Thoughts: "Family Guy" has become a bit inconsistent at times, but the series still provides plenty of laughs and there are some definite highlights in this group of episodes. The DVD presentation offers fine audio/video quality, as well as a nice set of extras. Recommended.

DVD Information

Family Guy: V. 8
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Dolby Digital 5.1
343 minutes
Subtitles: English SDH/French/Spanish
Rated NR
Dual Layer:Yes
Available At Amazon.com: Family Guy: Vol. 8