PictureColour is clear and vibrant as you would expect. The picture is also very sharp, though I could see some haloing in places. Depending on your player - I changed mine half way through reviewing this disc - you will experience some herringbone effects where some colours meet. My older player displayed this distortion, but my newer one does not. Otherwise The Freakin' Sweet Collection offers a very consistent picture, despite the episodes originating from different seasons. Comparing the R1 and R2 versions, I could see no difference in picture quality.
SoundSound is disappointing, mainly because of the stereo only track. There is a flat quality to some things that fail to engage the listener. Take the opening titles. These should be ear catching with formidable attack and attention grabbing dynamism. As it stands, the opening is somewhat without merit, coming across as a unremarkable sequence of dulled notes. It is almost like someone has applied a strong dose of THX post processing (which wasn't on, by the way...) to the titles. Dialogue to is sometimes a bit muffled and not too clear, though the in episode music is unusually good. What Family Guy needs is a thumping 5.1 track to spice things up. Again, there is little to tell the R1 and R2 versions apart, unless you are susceptible to PAL speedup.
ExtrasSometimes one extra is so good you can forget the mediocrity of the others. With The Freakin' Sweet Collection, this killer extra is undoubtedly the Stewie and Brian commentary. It is not long before the language is bluer than Bernard Manning, Cubby Brown and Jo brand rolled together, and I might add, considerably funnier to boot. There really is some dialogue that is eye opening to all but the most hardened foul mouthed pub crawlers. Also, it appears that Seth has a few things to get off his chest, about DVD commentaries and TV in general, which reveal themselves during the banter between Stewie and Brian. I think everyone has heard a “hilarious” anecdote that is anything but on a DVD commentary, and this, amongst others, is spoofed with aplomb. The fact that Seth McFarlane does both voices and yet the commentary always seems like there are two people in the room is a fine tribute to the editor. There are other commentaries, too, with rather open discussions on what scenes were missed, why the studio didn't like some episodes. This is partly to do with the commentaries being recorded between Family Guy's cancellation and subsequent revival. Therefore there is more than an air of care “what the hell!” free attitude to proceedings. Very refreshing. American Dad is also a breath of fresh air, a preview of which is included as an extra. Funny and irreverent, the show is clearly aimed at the non Bush supporters in America, and pokes fun at some of America's institutions.
The extras on both discs are identical, and the R2 offers no discernable incentive to go for it rather than the R1 version.
VerdictDespite the disparate nature of the episodes, timing wise, Family Guy the Freakin' Sweet Collection is almost like a litmus test. If you find these episodes funny, then you most certainly will like the rest of Family Guy. I would urge you to give it a try. Clearly the only difference between this and the R1 version is going to be price. Basically, just get the cheaper option, unless you prefer a particular standard between PAL and NTSC.
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