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Family Guy - Volume 4



Release Date: November 14, 2006 (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment)
MSRP: $39.98
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 14
Running Time: 314 minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: approx. 40 minutes
Audio: English
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Special Features: Commentaries on every episode; multi-angle scene studies on 4 episodes; deleted scenes; "A Director's Life: Debunking the Myth" Featurette, "Peter Shin Draws Stewie" Featurette, "Behind the Scenes: A Glimpse into the Family Guy Office" Featurette; DVD-ROM link to exclusive content


It's freakin' sweet! Volume 4 of Family Guy is coming to DVD! The 14 episodes of the show that just kept getting canceled (and just kept coming back) that aired between November 6, 2005 and May 14, 2006 are soon-to-be available in a three disc set that contains every single moment of these hilarious episodes, and even some moments that were never actually aired during the original broadcasts. Volume 4 is complete with commentaries, interviews, and plenty more special features to go around.

Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

Family Guy is really gaining a cult-like status, just like The Simpsons has had for quite some time, where it has many fans that remember and love every single episode of the show very well. So, that fact makes it difficult to pinpoint just a few episodes here and there.

This set begins with "PTV," which is perhaps one of the funniest Family Guy episodes ever. After a "wardrobe malfunction" at the Emmys (does this sound kind of familiar???), the FCC starts to censor anything and everything on television. So what does Peter do to get around this problem? He starts his own network called PTV, where you can show anything and everything! Brian goes back to college, and Peter, Joe, Cleveland, and Quagmire decide to create their own version of "The A-Team" in "Brian Goes Back to College." Peter and Stewie have always had trouble bonding, but Peter has found one thing that helps him connect to Stewie--torturing Lois--in "The Courtship of Stewie's Father." This episode even has a brief cameo from Bob Barker. Lois meets her long-lost brother, who likes to kill fat people, and allows him to spend time at the Griffin household in "The Fat Guy Strangler," which will certainly be good for Peter, right? Peter decides to start his own church, which worships the Fonz from Happy Days, in "The Father, the Son, and the Holy Fonz," but will he be successful? Sherman Hemsley and Marion Ross have cameo voice roles.

Frank Sinatra, Jr. plays himself as Brian and Stewie join him for a tour of doing nightclub gigs in "Brian Sings and Swings." Tom Brady, Bob Costas, and Jay Leno all have roles in "Patriot Games," where Tom Brady recruits Peter to become the newest member of the New England Patriots. Quagmire has found true love in a woman that Peter bought on "Wheel of Fortune" in "I Take Thee Quagmire," but there is one problem with this woman--she is psychotic. Alex Trebek guest stars. In "Sibling Rivalry," Stewie meets his brother Bertram (from season 3) once again, but the friendship they developed back then is gone now--and they are bitter rivals once again. There may be something going on between Meg and Mayor West, and Brian is determined to find out what it is, in "Deep Throats."

Betty White has a brief cameo (as the narrator of porn books on tape...) in "Peterotica," where Peter realizes that his calling is writing erotic books. In "You May Now Kiss the... Uh... Guy Who Receives," Brian's gay cousin Jasper has come to Quahog to marry his lover, but Mayor West wants to ban gay marriage, just to distract the citizens from the fact that he bankrupts the city by buying a pointless statue. Will Jasper be allowed to get married? Peter decides to build a multiplex movie theater in the backyard in "Petergeist," but when he disturbs a sacred burial site, Stewie gets taken into the other side and they have to figure out how to bring him back--they realize it is only though Meg's rear-end that Stewie will be able to come back! Finally, the set ends with "Untitled Griffin Family History," where burglars break in to the Griffin house and Peter tells the family all about Griffins all throughout history. Who would have guessed they were such a complex family??? Judith Light has a brief cameo.


The style of the packaging (three slim cases) is the same as the previous volumes, but the general color scheme this time is more of a green color. The artwork on the front of the box has a naked Peter jumping out of a cake (don't worry, you can't see anything) with the family surrounding him. Things get even more interesting inside. On the front of each slim case, we have Peter doing acts with the cake that appear to be, well, sexual--a little bit disturbing if you ask me. The back of each slim case, just as in the previous volumes, has a listing of episodes on that disc and a brief description of the episode. The artwork inside the slim cases is interesting as well.

Each disc has some sort of sexually suggestive picture with something censored on it, and if you remove the disc, you can see more of the picture, although there is still some stuff that is censored. On Disc 1, Peter is holding a large Family Guy disc in front of his body, and when you remove the disc, you see he is naked but somebody is holding up a card that says "CENSORED" in front of, well, anything you aren't supposed to see (like in the episode "PTV"). On Disc 2, you can see Stewie pointing his rear-end towards you but a Family Guy logo covers that up--until you remove the disc and see more of his rear-end (yeah, I know, a little disturbing...). Disc 3 has Lois with her hand up to her mouth with a "CENSORED" card in front of her hand and mouth, but if you remove the disc, you can see she is eating a banana--very interesting--though maybe disturbing--artwork indeed. The disc breakdown has episodes 1-5 on Disc 1, 6-10 on Disc 2, and 11-14 on Disc 3.

Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus were not really altered that much from Volume 3. You still get the main menu with the closing theme from the first two seasons playing in the background with short clips from each episode on the disc playing on top of the screen, and the menu where you select the episode you want to watch (or Play All or the special features menu) at the bottom of the screen. When you select an episode, you get a basic menu with a snapshot from the episode, and options of Play Episode, Scene Selection, Language Selection, Special Features (where you can access commentaries), and Home. These are all pretty basic and self-explanatory. On Scene Selection, you can choose to go to any place where a commercial break would be placed in the episode, as well as one about 4 minutes into each episode (and obviously the set puts chapters in these places too). For Language Selection, you can select from English, Censored English (on episodes where it is available), and Commentary. Additionally, you can turn on subtitles from this menu.

Video and Audio Quality:

This is a newer show, so as you would expect, the audio and video are fine. I could probably nitpick and find something wrong with it if I really wanted to, but if you have to nitpick, then there really isn't anything wrong. The audio is presented once again in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound, and on some episodes, you have an option to listen to censored audio tracks (which basically just bleeps out a few f-words here and there). Closed-captioning is available on every episode, as well as English, Spanish and French subtitles.

Now, we get to the really interesting thing about this set: the running times of the episodes. I was expecting each episode to run 21:30-22:00, just as they did originally. But they don't all fall into that range. Instead, the DVD producers decided to reinsert some deleted scenes back into the episodes, making some episodes longer than they were when originally broadcast! I wouldn't necessarily call this a negative thing (because it is good to see what was intended to be there) but I'm not sure it is totally a positive thing either (because it puts things there that were edited out for a reason). In any event, the runtimes for each episode are as follows:

Disc 1:
"PTV" (22:36)
"Brian Goes Back to College" (21:51)
"The Courtship of Stewie's Father" (21:37)
"The Fat Guy Strangler" (23:20)
"The Father, the Son, and the Holy Fonz" (21:51)

Disc 2:
"Brian Sings and Swings" (21:35)
"Patriot Games" (21:51)
"I Take Thee Quagmire" (22:13)
"Sibling Rivalry" (23:06)
"Deep Throats" (23:24)

Disc 3:
"Peterotica" (22:14)
"You May Now Kiss the... Uh... Guy Who Receives" (21:51)
"Petergeist" (23:23)
"The Griffin Family History" (23:20)

Special Features:

Everybody will remember that Volumes 1 and 2 had very few commentaries. Then we got to Volume 3 and 10 of the 13 episodes had commentaries, which was a significant improvement. Now, Fox is doing even better with Volume 4, and reached a level that only The Simpsons has reached--EVERY episode has commentaries this time! The commentators for each episode are as follows:

* "PTV" - Seth MacFarlane, Chris Sheridan, Mila Kunis, Alex Sulkin, Wellesley Wild, and Dan Povenmire

* "Brian Goes Back to College" - Seth MacFarlane, David Goodman, Alex Borstein, Matt Fleckenstein, Greg Colton

* "The Courtship of Stewie's Father" - Seth MacFarlane, David Goodman, Mike Henry, Kirker Butler

* "The Fat Guy Strangle" - Seth MacFarlane, Chris Sheridan, Alex Sulkin, Wellesley Wild, and Sarah Frost

* "The Father, the Son, and the Holy Fonz" - Seth MacFarlane, David Goodman, Chris Sheridan, Danny Smith, James Purdum, and Kara Vallow

* "Brian Sings and Swings" - Seth MacFarlane, David Goodman, Frank Sinatra Jr., Zac Moncrief, and Shannon Smith

* "Patriot Games" - Seth MacFarlane, Mike Henry, Cyndi Tang, Dan Povenmire, and Mike Elias

* "I Take Thee Quagmire" - Seth MacFarlane, David Goodman, Steve Callaghan, Pete Michels, Darrel Heath, and Alex Thomas

* "Sibling Rivalry" - Seth MacFarlane, David Goodman, Mike Henry, Cherry Chevaprovatdumrong, and Dan Povenmire

* "Deep Throats" - Seth MacFarlane, Alex Borstein, Mila Kunis, Greg Colton, Ron Jones, and Patrick Clark

* "Peterotica" - Seth MacFarlane, David Goodman, Patrick Meighan, Mike Elias, Kim Fertman, and Andrew Goldberg

* "You May Now Kiss the... Uh... Guy Who Receives" - Seth MacFarlane, David Goodman, Chris Sheridan, Seth Green, Danny Smith, and Dominic Polcino

* "Petergeist" - Seth MacFarlane, Alec Sulkin, Wellesley Wild, Sarah Frost, Charles Song, and A. Spencer Porter

* "The Griffin Family History" - Seth MacFarlane, David Goodman, John Viener, Zac Moncrief, and Mike Elias

The commentaries seem to be much better than they were on the first two volumes, but I wish they could have more commentaries with Seth Green. I don't know why, I just like what he brings in to the commentaries.

There are multi-angle scene studies on "PTV," "Brian Goes to College," "Patriot Games," and "Sibling Rivalry." Basically, these just show a split screen of scene from the actual episode on one side of the screen with sketches of the scene on the other side of the screen. I find these things to be a little boring personally.

The set includes deleted scenes, but they are kind of everywhere. As mentioned previously, many of the episodes are slightly longer than they were when they originally aired because some deleted scenes were reinserted into the episodes. But, not EVERY deleted scene was reinserted into the episodes. This leaves several more deleted scenes on Disc 3, where you can watch each deleted scene individually or watch them all together (14:38). I don't know what the criteria was for reinserting the deleted scenes into the episodes versus putting them on Disc 3, but it would have been nice to see them be consistent. Still, it is good that they included them in any event. My favorite deleted scenes included here are these two scenes with Gary Coleman stalking Stewie and Stewie trying to get even from the episode "Brian Goes Back to College." They should have left these in the episode! As for the deleted scenes reinserted into the episode, you definitely have to check out the episode PTV. There is a very funny deleted scene here, where Peter and Cleveland create a show for PTV called Douchebags. The network wouldn't permit the scene to air on the episode, and you can probably tell why if you watch it.

All other special features are found on Disc 3. The first of these is "A Director's Life: Debunking the Myth" (13:51), which is a very interesting featurette that answers a question that I never really knew the answer to before: what does a director on an animated show actually do? We all know what a director does in a live action show, but animation is much different. In this featurette, Seth MacFarlane, as well as some of the directors, helps to answer that very question.

"Peter Shin Draws Stewie" (4:47) is exactly what it sounds like--Peter Shin shows you how you can draw Stewie. I'm not going to lie, I tried to follow his directions and draw Stewie myself, but I failed miserably. But his directions do make sense, if you have any artistic ability.

"Behind the Scenes: A Glimpse Into the Family Guy Office" (7:14) is one of my favorite features on this set. Basically, we get a behind the scenes view of the behind-the-scenes stuff for Family Guy. But the person that is taking the tour is Adam West, and is acting a lot like his character on the show as he is being shown around the studio. I was surprised that they even used Adam West as the star of a special feature this long.

Finally, there is one last special feature that I would suggest that you avoid like the plague--seriously. The box says that there is a "DVD-ROM Link to Exclusive Online Content." Sounds exciting, huh? Well, it isn't. If you place Disc 3 into your computer DVD-ROM drive, you'll be greeted with the installer for a program called HOTLLAMA, which is apparently what you have to install in order to get the DVD-ROM special features to work. HOTLLAMA is a program that plays DVDs, and the company has been working with 20th Century Fox for a while now on several DVD products. I'm not even going to get in to how bad this program is; while it isn't exactly spyware, it isn't exactly good either. I'd suggest you do a search on Google to see what I'm talking about.

Despite the fact that I knew everything about HOTLLAMA, against my better judgment, I installed it anyway to find out what this exclusive content was. Honestly, I have to say it was a major disappointment. What I found was a bunch of links to a bunch of websites, as well as a few episode animatics and storyboards that were pretty boring to watch anyway. If you know what is good for you, you'll totally ignore this special feature.

Final Comments:

This is another great set with great episodes! And they did a pretty good job on the special features this time too, I think, much better than any of the previous sets. Still, I'd avoid that DVD-ROM link stuff. It is mostly crap anyway. But everything else on this set is, well, freakin' sweet, and you'll probably enjoy it. The main complaint I have is related to the fact that Fox is putting these DVDs out in much smaller sets than they did for the first two volumes. Volume 3 and Volume 4 should have been one volume, not two. And also, why is the season 4 three-part season finale not included on this set??? I know it was released as the movie "Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story," but these are episodes too, and for that reason they should be on one of these volume sets too. In any event though, you MUST own this set if you are a Family Guy fanatic, and if you are like me, you probably just want to know when Volume 5 will be released, even though the fifth season has only just recently started!

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)

Video Quality: 5/5
Audio Quality: 5/5
Special Features: 4/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 5/5
Overall: 4.5/5

-- Reviewed by skees53 on 11/05/06

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