|Family Guy: The Freakin' Sweet Collection (2004)
Starring: Seth MacFarlane, Alex Borstein, Seth Green, Mila Kunis
Seth MacFarlane’s controversial animated television series, “Family Guy,” has been making millions of fans roll on the ground with laughter since 1999 when it first aired on FOX. From its disastrous cancellation after three short seasons, to its glorious DVD revival in 2003, “Family Guy” has quickly gone from network dud to marketing stud with the help of late night reruns on Adult Swim and an ever-growing legion of devoted fans. Now that the network has finally acknowledged their hard-learned mistake and reincarnated the series for a 2005 comeback, FOX has released a cool, one-disc DVD that offers up enough rehashed fun to keep eager viewers busy until the season premiere early next year.
Compiling the creator’s top-five favorite episodes and a few hours of bonus material, “Family Guy: The Freakin’ Sweet Collection” is freakin’ sweet indeed. Presented in a full screen video format, the “best of” disc features the previously unaired “When You Wish Upon A Weinstein,” the originally restored and uncensored “Road to Rhode Island,” as well as three other episodes: “To Love and Die in Dixie,” “I Am Peter, Hear Me Roar” and “Lethal Weapons.” The cut Bin Laden scene in “Road to Rhode Island” isn’t as offensive as most would think, but it is also a dangerously close prediction to what actually occurred after the events of 9/11. My personal favorite of the collection, and probably a fan favorite in general, is “I Am Peter, Hear Me Roar,” which has head-of-the-family Peter Griffin attending feminist classes after making sexist comments in the workplace.
The topic of shady marketing strategies has become the hot debate surrounding the release of five already-seen episodes, but the rich special features included are well worth the few bucks you’re going to shell out for this disc. Four brand new audio commentaries appear on each episode (with the exception of “When You Wish Upon a Weinstein”) and MacFarlane has also included a five-minute preview of his new series, “American Dad,” along with an interview that reviews the new characters and measures taken to create a show that is different from his Holy Grail. While “American Dad” doesn’t look to be as solid of a contender as “Family Guy,” it does seem to be a suitable companion for a possible back-to-back Seth MacFarlane hour. He has also included another interview that assesses his reasoning for the top-five picks and hints at storylines to look for in the upcoming fourth season. The audio commentaries are funny as usual and the sneak peeks are a satisfying treat for die hard fans, but if you’re not a DVD nerd like one reviewer I know, you might want to save your cash for something that offers a better ratio of new material.