TITLE: AMERICAN DAD! - VOLUME 5
DVD Release Date: June 15, 2010 (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment)
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 14
Running Time: 306 minutes
Runtime of Special Features: approx 430 minutes
Languages and Subtitles: English audio, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and English SDH subtitles.
Packaging Type: Clear plastic case
Special Features: Uncensored commentaries on all 14 episodes, Deleted Scenes, The Power Hour drinking game, Bar Mitzvah-Hustle Fact-Up Trivia.
Good morning USA! (Regardless of your opinion of the show itself, you at least have to admit -- itís an amazingly memorable hook to start each episode) From the twisted mind of Seth MacFarlane -- also creator of Family Guy and The Cleveland Show -- comes this show, my favorite of his trilogy of works. The show follows the exploits of CIA agent Stan Smith and his dysfunctional family. His daughterís a hippie, his sonís a nerd, and his wife...well, his wife is Francine. OF course, you also canít forget about Roger, the effeminate talking alien who lives in the attic, or Klaus the talking goldfish (what IS it with Seth MacFarlane and talking animals, anyway?). Throw in the occasional random appearance by various supporting character (Steveís friends, whose names arenít relevant, or Stanís boss Deputy-Director Bullock (Patrick Stewart!) and you have an interesting ensemble show that while still amazingly insane at least has some degree of plot and cohesion, unlike another popular MacFarlane show nowadays...
Anyway, this DVD set concludes the 2008-09 TV season, beginning at the seasonís 7th episode (Phantom of the Telethon) and running through the season finale-proper. Hopefully this signals the end of the staggered-approach to DVD releases, but knowing the way Family Guy is presented on DVD I wouldnít bet on it.
One of my favorite recurring plot devices on the show is the old favorite where Stan (or another family member) takes credit for one of Rogerís ideas, leading Roger to scheme to ruin the idea as itís coming together. In the first episode of the set, such a thing occurs. In Phantom of the Telethon, the CIA faces cutbacks, and Roger suggests holding a telethon. Stan eventually takes credit for the idea, leading Roger to try to sabotage it. Itís a simple plot device, but it just *works*. Another favorite of mine? ďStan Time,Ē where Stan gets to try out pills that allow him to stay up all night while feeling completely rested afterward. Such a thing would be handy in the real world, but, even in the cartoon world things go awry. One other episode Iíd like to bring up? ďDeLorean Story-An.Ē Stan is excited about getting to finally build and work on his dream car...a DeLorean. As it happens to be my favorite car of all time, I can empathize wholeheartedly. Naturally, this being a Seth MacFarlane cartoon, things donít quite work out as intended, but itís a great episode nonetheless. Guest stars for this season include: Jon Cryer, Forest Whitaker, Will Forte, Seth Green, and Sandra Oh, among others.
For the purposes of this DVD set, two runtimes will be listed for each episode when applicable. Each DVD contains both the ďUncensoredĒ version and the broadcast version. The former may contain quite a bit of language, extra cut footage, or more. The original broadcast versions are separate tracks on the disc, so it is pulling a separate video source.
Phantom of the Telethon: 21:52/21:52
Stan Time: 21:52/21:52
Family Affair: 21:53/21:53
Live and Let Fry: 21:52/NA (Only one version presented)
Roy Rogers McFreely: 21:23/21:23
Jackís Back: 21:53/ NA (Only one version presented)
Bar Mitzvah Hustle: 21:54/ NA (Only one version presented)
Wife Insurance: 21:54/21:54
The DeLorean Story-an: 21:53/ NA (Only one version presented)
Every Which Way but Lose: 21:56/21:53
The Weiner of our Discontent. 21:52/ NA (Only one version presented)
Daddy Queerest: 21:53/21:53
Stanís Night Out: 21:45/21:45
Itís the clear plastic case of doom that Iíve ranted and railed about at least 20 times by now. Really, they all do about the same thing. If it breaks, it becomes a real pain in the rear, if it doesnít break then the packaging is relatively decent, if boring. Package art is quite interesting, with various images of characters, including at least several of Rogerís different personas. Rear artwork features the usual descriptive text, plus Steve and Roger on a motorcycle-wheelchair hybrid with guns! Disc art features a zoomed-in panel style similar to the front artwork, with a different character in the foreground on each disc and an outline of a Roger persona in the background. Disc 1 features Stan -- who looks like heís about to break into a building. Disc 2 features Steve with his arm in a sling. Disc 3, meanwhile, features Francine in a nightgown.
Menu Design and Navigation:
Fox-released cartoons always have the greatest menus. In this case you see video clips playing on a video screen in a box that likely belongs to Roger. An instrumental version of the theme, as well as various other sounds and effects, plays on loop in the background. Episode titles are selectable from the main menu. Selecting the episode title takes you to an episode-specific menu, where you can choose to play, select the scene, toggle language options, load up episode-specific extras, or return to the main menu. Episodic menus vary by episode, no two are the same.
Video and Audio Quality:
Youíd have to be pretty bad in your job doing video transfers to screw up a cartoon that just aired a year and a half ago. Seriously, the episodes havenít had time to age (nevermind the growing use of digital storage), and you have only a fraction of colors represented as compared to a live-action show so thereís less room for deterioration. Iím only babbling about all that to bump up the text count as I really donít have anything else to say about the video. Itís perfect. Colors are fine. No flaws. Audio is an amazing 5.1 Dolby Digital Stereo track. Chapter stops occur in sync with commercial breaks.
Commentary: Included on all 14 episodes are commentaries. Commentary participants and comments vary by episode. Each episodeís commentary runs the same length as its episode, ergo running time is 306 minutes.
Bar Mitzvah Hustle Fact-Up (21:54): Ever watch Pop Up Video on VH1? Itís the entire Bar Mitzvah hustle episode with similar trivia blurbs every few seconds about the show. Some of the facts are quite interesting, some are rather mundane.
The Power Hour Drinking Game (1:03:29): Thereís a full 10 second disclaimer to begin with. And several lines of dialogue to tell you not to do this with alcohol. Given that itís going to encourage you to drink SIXTY times, I TOO have to go with the recommendation DO NOT DRINK ALCOHOL. 60 shots of anything alcohol is going to have a noticeable effect. The entire point? Drink a shot before every clip..
Deleted Scenes: The stuff cut from the episodes. Would have been nice to include these in the episode itself but oh well. Approx. 30 minutes.
American Dad! is easily my favorite Seth MacFarlane series. Itís got the most interesting characters AND some semblance of a plot. Roger is good for random hijinks, while the supporting characters are actually useful. Itís the most balanced of the series, which is amazing for a show with an alien, a talking fish, and Patrick Stewart running the CIA.
Special features look kind of sparse, but whatís presented is quite good. Fox appears to have covered their behind on liability with regards to that drinking game, so that shouldnít be a problem. Overall, itís a great set, and itís a strong recommendation for me.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 5/5
Audio Quality: 5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4.5/5
Special Features: 2.5/5
Final Score: 4.5/5
-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 07/02/10
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