Fans of the excellent animated comedy series Simpsons, or similar shows like Futurama, are likely to have heard about - or already become addicted to - Family Guy. Created by Seth MacFarlane, who provides vocal input as well, this amusing show aired for several seasons before being pulled, seemingly inexplicably, by 20th Century Fox. Whilst trying to convince them to change their minds, MacFarlane put together a proposal for a feature-length production. DVD sales and fan fury warranted the reinstatement of the series for at least another season.
The series itself is yet another satirical, sarcastic, irreverent look at life based around a purportedly normal family. Comprised of the Homer-esque father-figure, Peter, his loud wife Lois and their kids, Chris, Meg and baby Stewie. Both Stewie and the family dog, Brian are rather unique in that they carry a rather superior intellect and an ability to talk (well, at least more than you would ever expect from a baby). This particular release sees the focus mainly on Stewie, as always, who spots an individual who he feels better resembles his father than Peter ever could. Needless to say, we soon find Stewie and the pragmatic Brian adventuring across the country in search of the mysterious father figure.
Fans of the series are likely to get a great deal of pleasure out of watching three superior episodes moulded together into a reasonably coherent feature-length adventure, not least because this edition comes with added opening and closing scenes from a mock-premiere of the main feature itself. The story itself is also much broader than just Stewie's adventure, setting up the antics with Peter taking a job as a TV host, Stewie having a near-death experience and trying (in his own special way) to stop being so conniving, before the road-trip allows for some interesting dating tips from mom and pop back home (including a great Lethal Weapon reference) whilst Stewie and Brian make their eventful journey, all culminating in a superb glimpse of the future of this particular family. This release also boasts the voice talents of not only the standard crew (MacFarlane, Alex Borstein, Mila Kunis and Seth Green) but also bigger names like Drew Barrymore, the cast of Beverly Hills 90210 and Michael Clarke Duncan.
Overall, Family Guy is amusing and entertaining but slightly inferior to its companion shows, The Simpsons and Futurama, mainly because the former has originality on its side and the latter had innovation. It employs the same tactics of referencing (sometimes notably, sometimes covertly) aspects of news and media that we are normally familiar with - here we get everything from films like Indiana Jones and Star Trek, to shows like Roseanne and headlining news items like the fall of Saddam - which is always quite funny, but not particularly original. However, many followers out there simply cannot get enough of comedies like this, particularly in animated form - and are only going to be pleased by this release. Fans are likely to know the format well, but still be tempted by the pre-season package and newcomers will get a great taster of the best that this series has to offer by checking out this special feature-length production.
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