TITLE: FAMILY GUY - VOLUME TEN
Release Date: September 25, 2012 (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment)
Color / 2010-2011
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 14
Running Time: 348 minutes
Running Time of Features: approx. 85 minutes
Audio: Dolby Digital English, Spanish, and French
Subtitles and Captioning: English, Spanish, and French Subtitles; Closed-Captioned
Special Features: Deleted Scenes; Commentaries (five episodes); Animatics (three episodes); "All I Want For Christmas: The Music of Road to the North Pole" featurette; "Herbert & Franz: The Making of an Epic Fight Sequence" featurette; Adam West Star Ceremony
Holy crap, they're back! That would be the Griffin family, of TV's Family Guy, are back with fourteen more episodes of hilarity on DVD in Family Guy - Volume Ten! The three-disc set finishes up the ninth season on DVD with more of your favorite episodes and plenty of special features. We get to see Peter getting a new kidney, Lois becoming a boxing champ, Chris finding a new hobby, Brian and Stewie unraveling the space-time continuum, and Meg... well, who cares about Meg? All of this is just a small sampling of what you'll find in these episodes!
Everybody is having a miserable Halloween after Stewie's candy is stolen and Meg and Chris end up making out in the closet in "Halloween on Spooner Street." Peter turns Lois into a fighter in "Baby You Can Knock Me Out." Bill Maher, Dana Gould, and Arianna Huffington all appear (in live action) in "Brian Writes a Bestseller," where Brian finally makes it big as an author... but his ego gets a little big too. Stewie and Brian take a trip to the North Pole in the double-length episode "Road to the North Pole," but Stewie has some very evil motives. An interesting side note about this episode: the role of Winnie the Pooh is played by Will Ryan, a voice actor who actually has done (and still does) work for Disney, including the voices of Rabbit and Tigger in the classic Disney Channel series Welcome to Pooh Corner! Drew Carey guest stars in "New Kidney in Town," where Peter becomes addicted to energy drinks and needs a new kidney... and the only possible donor may have to die to donate it.
Lois has a dirty secret from her past which comes out in "And I'm Joyce Kinney." Peter and Brian are forced to join Alcoholics Anonymous in "Friends of Peter G.," but when Peter drives home drunk from a meeting, he meets up once again with Death (Adam Carolla) to get a view at how alcohol has affected his life. In "German Guy," Chris makes a new elderly friend, which of course makes Herbert jealous... and the solution to getting the new guy out of Chris' life is to reveal his Nazi past. Meg looks after Joe in "The Hand That Rocks the Wheelchair," but unfortunately, she takes the idea of taking care of him to a stalkerish level. Meanwhile, Stewie has created an evil (yes, even more evil) clone of himself. Meg and Chris trade places with Peter and Lois to teach each other about responsibility in "Trading Places," but it turns out that they are better parents than the real ones.
Cheryl Tiegs guest stars in "Tiegs For Two," where she becomes involved in a love triangle between Brian and Quagmire. In "Brothers & Sisters," Lois' sister is back and she is about to get married to Adam West. Michael Gross and Meredith Baxter both appear in this episode as Steven and Elyse Keaton, reprising their Family Ties roles in animated style. Brian and Stewie travel through time in "The Big Bang Theory," but Stewie's brother Bertram may end up destroying Stewie's lineage! The set ends with "Foreign Affairs," where Lois and Bonnie take a trip to Paris... but what Bonnie has in mind for the trip could mean the end of her relationship with Joe!
The episodes on the set are all uncensored extended episodes, which mean that the episodes seen here are not exactly as broadcast on Fox, but in fact a little better. In the past, they've included the broadcast versions as well on these sets, but now we only get the extended versions. Runtimes are as follows:
1. "Halloween on Spooner Street" (23:40)
2. "Baby, You Can Knock Me Out" (21:59)
3. "Brian Writes a Bestseller" (23:32)
4. "Road to the North Pole" (49:34)
5. "New Kidney in Town" (22:24)
6. "And I'm Joyce Kinney" (22:04)
7. "Friends of Peter G." (24:42)
8. "German Guy" (22:46)
9. "Hand That Rocks the Wheelchair" (24:42)
10. "Trading Places" (23:08)
11. "Tiegs for Two" (22:38)
12. "Brothers and Sisters" (21:44)
13. "The Big Bang Theory" (23:00)
14. "Foreign Affairs" (22:10)
It seems like they always try to create a packaging theme surrounding one of the episodes in the set, and this one is no exception. The episode theme these time? "The Big Bang Theory." If you buy one of the early pressings of the set, you'll get a cardboard sleeve before you get to the set which has a picture of Brian and Stewie "traveling through time," with another photo of Brian and Stewie on the back of the sleeve along with a brief synopsis and a list of special features. The artwork inside the sleeve is very different, with a different photo of Brian and Stewie on the cover, and a photo of Stewie and Brian being threatened by Stewie's "brother" Bertram on the back. Inside the Viva-case (one of those flimsy Eco-Box packages, unfortunately), you'll find a listing of episodes by disc, but no descriptions. The disc artwork has Stewie on Disc 1, Brian on Disc 2, and Bertram on Disc 3, with five episodes on each of Disc 1 and 2 and four episodes on Disc 3. And in case you are wondering why none of the other characters in the series are mentioned, such as Peter, Meg, Lois, Chris, or anybody else, the answer is simple: none of them are featured anywhere on the packaging!
Menu Design and Navigation:
As usual, the menus on the set are rather nicely designed. On the main menu, we have a looping dancing scene similar to the one on the opening credits, with video clips from the episodes playing on the top of the screen and the closing theme music playing in the background. Meanwhile, "Evil Stewie" goes around and destroys the set while everybody is dancing. From the main menu, there are options of Play All, a listing of the episodes, and an Extras option. Selecting an episode takes you to a submenu where you see a snapshot from the episode, along with a background featuring another snapshot of the episode. Options here include Play Episode, Scene Selection, Language Selection, and Extras. Additionally, all special features (aside from the commentaries) can be found on the Extras option from the main menu.
Video and Audio Quality:
Everything on this set looks excellent, without any problems. This is the first set to be released with all high-definition episodes, so now everything that we have on this set is presented in widescreen. I thought that Fox might try to go Blu-ray with this release, but apparently they decided not to for the time being. The audio on the set is an excellent quality Dolby Digital 5.1 track, with French and Spanish audio tracks as well. And there are plenty of subtitles as well, in English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese. Finally, each episode is closed-captioned.
Once again, the set contains some commentaries, but they are greatly reduced from the days of "commentary on every episode" (there are only five), and they really don't even include people whom the general public associates with the series, although they are actually the hard working behind-the-scenes crew. So really, we get more technical commentaries than we would if, say, Mila Kunis, Seth Green, Alex Borstein, or even Seth MacFarlane participated on any of them (none of them did). Episodes and commentators are as follows:
"Halloween on Spooner Street" - Mark Hentemann, Kara Vallow, Andrew Goldberg, and Jerry Langford
"Brian Writes a Bestseller" - Mark Hentemann, Kara Vallow, Gary Janetti, and Joseph Lee
"New Kidney in Town" - Mark Hentemann, Pete Michels, Shannon Smith, Brent Crowe, and Patrick Clark
"Trading Places" - Steve Callaghan, Joseph Lee, James Purdum, and Kim Fertman
"The Big Bang Theory" - Dave Goodman, Dom Polcino, Lucas Gray, and Deborah Cone
There are several deleted scenes throughout the set, which can be accessed from the episodes Extras option or from the main menu Extras option. These are in addition to ones which have been placed in the "extended" versions of the episodes. I always love watching these, as there are often little humorous moments in all of them. The runtimes by disc are as follows: Disc 1 (3:39), Disc 2 (4:20), and Disc 3 (5:32).
We have several selected scene animatics on the set, where you can see the black and white sketches of a scene before the animators at Fox in Los Angeles (OK, really we mean the animators in Asia... after all, that is where all animation is completed these days) brought the scene to life. These are included for "Baby You Can Knock Me Out" (5:02), "German Guy" (8:59), "Trading Places" (1:41 and 2:00).
"All I Really Want For Christmas: The Music of Road to the North Pole" (13:44) is a very nice featurette where we get to go behind the scenes on the musical production for the episode "Road to the North Pole," which included (in typical Family Guy fashion) a very heavily produced musical score. Seth MacFarlane, Danny Murphy, and many others are interviewed in this segment which focuses on the particular episode, but we do get to hear a lot about music done for other episodes throughout the series.
"Herbert and Franz: The Making of an Epic Fight Scene" (10:14) goes behind the scenes at the making of the fight scene in the episode "German Guy." Apparently, this was a very challenging scene to create, and Dominic Bianchi and Joe Vaux spent about a year creating it. Both of them are interviewed here, and they actually show how they went through the process of acting out the scene in front of a camera themselves to create it.
"Adam West Star Ceremony" (28:10) is a very lengthy raw video segment of Adam West receiving his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. We get to hear a very nice speech from West, along with a brief speech from Seth MacFarlane. It is a very nice special feature which probably talks more about Batman than Family Guy, and would be just as appropriate to include on a Batman DVD set (if that ever happens). I'm honestly a bit surprised that they included this in a Family Guy set, but it really is great to see Adam West getting the recognition that he deserves for the series, as his role on the series really is one that is larger than it may seem to outsiders.
So, we've got fourteen more episodes of the series on DVD... not a full season, but 2/3 of a season, again. This set does wrap up the ninth season, but it would be even nicer if the next set is a release of the entire tenth season. I don't expect that to happen, however. I really do miss some of the qualities of previous releases, such as including descriptions for episodes and more special features. But there is no denying that this is another great set of episodes, and personally I don't feel that the quality of Family Guy has really fallen off of a cliff yet (some will disagree with me, I'm sure). There really aren't any "problems" with this set, so I'm sure that those who've been collecting the previous releases will definitely want to add this to their collection.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 3.5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4.5/5
-- Reviewed by skees53 on 09/29/12
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