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Friday, October 4, 2013

Family Guy: Volume Eleven DVD Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
In this hysterical assortment of 23 uncensored “Family Guy” episodes, Peter has another painful encounter with the angry Giant Chicken, Quagmire tries to get giggity with Meg, and Brian and Stewie are beside themselves when they travel back in time to the show’s pilot episode. It’s a side-splitting blast to the past packed with celebrity guest voices, including Cate Blanchett, Ricky Gervais, Ellen Page and Ryan Reynolds!

Film (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
"Family Guy" is the story of the Griffin family.  Peter and Lois  are two dysfunctional and often inappropriate parents to three children.  They have two teenagers – Chris (Seth Green) and Meg (Mila Kunis) and a toddler Stewie (Seth MacFarlane).  Also part of the family is Brian, their talking Dog.  The Griffins live in the East Coast town Quahog.

In Volume Eleven, you will find more of the same "Family Guy" you've come to love over the first ten volumes.  If you've been watching "Family Guy" that long and you don't love it, I think it's safe to say this show isn't for you.  It's not necessary to watch every episode in order, but I do suggest watching all the "Family Guy" episodes if you have the time.

Second to "Firefly," this is my favorite cancelled show ("Family Guy" was cancelled after season three and then brought back to the air). Watching this show on DVD you will get a lot of language that was cut out when the episodes originally aired on television.  The DVD back cover warns that the show contains language not suitable for all ages and that parental discretion is advised. Despite that, every time I get a new volume, I forget about that and am taken aback by Stewie's first f-bomb.  I think most parents know that all things animated are not for children - especially "Family Guy".

My favorite episode of volume eleven is “Back to the Pilot” where "Family Guy" makes fun of itself. Stewie and Brian time travel and go back to the pilot episode repeatedly trying to stop catastrophes.  The special features related to this episode were also rather interesting. Because "Family Guy" isn't afraid to make fun of itself and everyone else, I am willing to forgive an occasional dig at Matthew McConaughey.

By far the strangest episode is “Killer Queen” where Brian torments Stewie with a scary Queen record image.  Another memorable episode is “Be Careful What You Fish For” where Ricky Gervais guest stars as a talking Dolphin with family problems.  Celebrity voices in volume eleven include Cate Blanchett, Ellen Page and Ryan Reynolds.

Video (3 out of 5 stars)
Although only on DVD, the video presentation on the episodes is pretty good.  Episodes are shown with a widescreen 1.78:1 ratio.  While the episodes look good, the quality on the interviews in the special features leave a lot to be desired with pixellated video that became a little distracting.  The colors are vivid and varied and I'm sure I'd complain more if I had a blu ray to compare it to but with no frame of reference, I didn't spend much time lamenting about DVD in this case.

Audio (3 out of 5 stars)
"Family Guy" Volume Eleven is presented in English Dolby Digital 5.1, optional Spanish or French Surround Dolby Digital 2.0.  Dialogue, sound effects and music are even and consistent but be warned, when you fall asleep watching the episodes with the play all feature the theme song on the menu can be a little loud and jarring to your slumber.

Extras (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
The special features are better than I remember on previous volumes.  I usually get bored with animatics but watched one animatic episode long enough to forget it was an animatic.  Each disc has related features and it's best if you can watch them after recently viewing the episodes.

Disc One:
  • Looking Back to the Pilot – Cast and other creative types discuss the time travel episode.  Creator Seth Mac Farlane admits to being willing to give anything regarding time travel a try...including the film The Lake House, which he saw in the theater.
  • Animatic from “Back to the Pilot” - A look at how the show begins with the full episode animatic.
  • Scene Animatic from “Seahorse Seashell Party” with side by side commentary – Episode Director Brian Iles and assistant Joe Vaux provide commentary as the animatic is seen side by side with the final footage.
  • Deleted Scenes – Seven deleted scenes are available individually or with a play all feature.

Disc Two:
  • Fishin' Around with Ricky Gervais – Steve Callaghan and Seth Mac Farlane discuss writing the character Billy Finn for Ricky Gervais.  Contains recording footage with Ricky and Seth.  Amazingly, Ricky came up with material too profane for "Family Guy" – that would have made a great special feature of its own.
  • Audio Outtakes with Ricky Gervais – Audio outtakes and deleted scenes from “Be Careful What You Fish For” with Ricky Gervais and Seth MacFarlane
  • Deleted Scenes – Seven deleted scenes are available individually or by playing all.

Disc Three:
  • Ron MacFarlane reads viewer mail – Seth's father reads and answers Family Guy fan mail.
  • Scene Animatic from “Family Guy Viewer Mail #2” with side by side commentary – Episode Director Greg Colton and story board artist Francis Dinglasan provide commentary for the episode.
  • Deleted Scenes – Five deleted scenes are available with play all feature or by individual selection.
Summary (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Ricky Gervais summed up the show perfectly saying “I love the cute stuff in Family Guy, in amongst all the hate and racism.”  Fans of the show enjoy political incorrectness, crude low brow humor and some really clever bits.  I don't think it's a bad thing to describe it as more of the same stuff if you loved the previous volumes.  I enjoyed, and recommend "Family Guy" Volume Eleven and I'm amazed that it hasn't gotten old for me yet. I'm already looking forward to volume twelve!

Order your copy today!

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