Volume Ten of FOX’s Family Guy has now been released on DVD. The three-disc set picks up from where Volume 9 left off. The 14 installments begin with the fourth episode of season nine, which aired during the 2010-2011 season, and end just before the season nine finale, which happens to be the show’s third Star Wars parody, already available on a separate DVD release.
Family Guy‘s quality has been going down for a couple of years now, so fans might find Volume Ten a bit inferior to other sets. Overall, it just doesn’t feel as fresh or original anymore, and other series have taken the edgy humor, a hallmark of early Family Guy, further than this show can on a network station. But it still is pretty entertaining, and this DVD contains a number of enjoyable episodes. Among the highlights:
- “Halloween on Spooner Street” Peter (Seth MacFarlane) and Joe (Patrick Warburton) plays trick on the neighbors. Needless to say, it does not go well.
- “Brian Writes a Bestseller” Brian (also MacFarlane) writes a book that winds up on the bestseller list. This goes to his head, until Bill Maher (himself) lies the smack down. Back in Quahog, Lois (Alex Borstein) banishes Peter to a separate bed. Unable to sleep alone, Peter looks for a new buddy to cuddle with at night.
- “Road to the North Pole” The latest of the periodic Bing Crosby-Bob Hope tribute episodes, Brian and Stewie (also MacFarlane) travel to the North Pole so that Stewie can teach the infamous fat man a lesson.
- “Friends of Peter G.” Peter and Brian are sentenced to join Alcoholics Anonymous, which they manages to turn into a big, drunken party. After Joe busts the celebration, Peter turns against booze in a big, long musical number.
- “The Hand that Rocks the Wheelchair” Meg (Mila Kunis) falls for Joe when taking care of him while his wife, Bonnie (Jennifer Tilly), is out of town. Stewie creates a clone that escapes and wrecks havoc.
- “Brothers & Sisters” Lois’s sister, Carol (Julie Hagerty, Airplane!), comes to town and falls for Mayor West (Adam West).
- “The Big Bang Theory” Betram (Wallace Shawn) returns and leads Stewie and Brian on a chase through time, as Betram plans on murdering Leonardo da Vinci. The cover art for Volume Ten comes from this episode.
Now, those are all pretty decent episodes, but none of them stand out as making a Top Episodes of Family Guy list. Rather than breaking new ground, they parody familiar sitcom concepts and revisit already established Family Guy formulas. Are they worth a half hour of your time? Sure. But would you cancel your plans to make a viewing appointment? Nope.
The nice part about Volume Ten is that it contains enough extras to satisfy fans, making up somewhat for the lackluster installments. Many of the episodes are extended and uncensored, providing a bit more than what airs on television. Six of the fourteen episodes have audio commentary. There are deleted scenes, and the “German Guy” fight sequence gets a featurette. Three scene animatics break down interesting sequences in the show. The music of “Road to the North Pole” is singled out. Finally, footage from Adam West’s star ceremony is included.
Would I recommend this DVD set? Well, for fans of Family Guy who can’t get enough, or those who are completionists in collecting all of the DVDs in the set, absolutely. But if you’re looking for a handful of episodes to play at parties or while hanging out with your friends, I’d recommend selecting an earlier volume.
Family Guy Volume Ten is available now on DVD.