It seems today that all you see is violence in movies and sex on TV. Now, you can see sex and violence on DVD! Lucky for us, there’s a Family Guy. The newest Family Guy DVD set, released on Dec. 13, 2011, has plenty of both, and fans wouldn’t have it any other way.
[amazon_link id=”B003L77G9W” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Family Guy Volume Nine[/amazon_link] includes the last 11 episodes of season 8 and the first three episodes of season 9. Family Guy hasn’t had more than 15 episodes on a DVD since it was “uncanceled,” and this has led to the confusing nomenclature of the DVD sets. Volume Nine doesn’t mean season 9, for example. Anyway, this particular set hits both ends of the DVD quality scale, with the episodes themselves being good and the extras ranging from average to a waste of time.
The episode selection available here is quite good overall. Disc One contains some memorable episodes, including “Dial Meg for Murder” where Meg fans finally get to see her literally hit back. The Disc One episodes also introduce a trend that becomes hard to ignore as you watch the rest of the DVD. These DVD episodes have a ton of content that was cut from the original airings on TV. For those unfamiliar with Family Guy and the censorship process, it is a fascinating journey.
Essentially, there are three versions of any given Family Guy episode. First, an episode premieres on FOX, as it has done for years. Then, about a month later, that same episode airs on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim with a bit of censored content put back in. Finally, the DVD episodes are the full, uncut versions of the episodes that were originally sent to FOX. The short version is that most of the time, it’s worth investing in the DVDs simply because there is no other way to see the “true” version of the episodes.
My main problem with this set is the same one I have with most of the Family Guy DVDs: the extra features are disappointing. Disc One only has a few deleted scenes (usually a sentence or two or a short joke that was cut from an episode for time constraints) and an episode of The Cleveland Show, the third show Seth MacFarlane has on FOX after Family Guy and American Dad.
On the one hand, it’s nice to get a free episode of a show that is remarkable similar to Family Guy. On the other, this is clearly a lazy attempt to get me to buy Cleveland Show DVDs, and they could have fit more interesting special features on the disc instead of this episode.
The other two discs range from my favorite episode of the volume, “Quagmire’s Dad,” to one of my least favorite of the whole series, “Brian Griffin’s House of Payne.” Disc Three also features the murder mystery episode, “And Then There Were Fewer,” which is almost twice as long as its TV version and is plastered all over the DVD box. The final two discs have episode commentaries, footage of Family Guy at Comic-Con 2010, and sketch animation “first drafts” of some of the episodes.
To sum it all up, whether or not you buy this DVD rather than simply watching the episodes for free on Hulu depends on your interest in seeing untouched versions of the episodes with more dirty jokes and strong language. The extra features are great when they involve animators talking about actually working on the episodes or the directors giving some insight into the special guest voice actors, like Elijah Wood or James Woods.
The features are much less great when they’re basically ads for another show or the boring commentaries when the staff complains about the food in the recording booth or compliment show creator Seth MacFarlane for the tenth time. If you love the episodes themselves, then you should buy Family Guy Volume 9. At the same time, remember that the extra stuff probably won’t set your world on fire.