DVD: Family Guy Season 6
When it comes to The Family Guy, I have to admit to being fairly late to the party. When the show first started airing back in 1999, it just didn’t grab me. I’m not saying that I hated it or anything that extreme; what I saw of it I enjoyed, it just wasn’t something that I was compelled to watch on a weekly basis.
Over time though, the show has become hard to ignore, and it’s ability to rise from the dead is hard not to admire. It was cancelled after a short (two season) run on the Fox network, but protests from the show’s fans and some network brass musical-chairs resulted in the show’s return for a third season… after which it was promptly cancelled again.
However, after DVD sales sold over 2.2 million and viewer ratings of re-runs on the cartoon network’s Adult Swim caught FOX’s attention, The Family Guy was again put into production and has now racked up six seasons and a direct to DVD ‘movie’. Its seventh season is set to begin airing (in the US) in 2008 and the DVD’s of season six are due to hit shelves here in Australia on the 17th of October.
Before I go any further I’d like to clear something up — This had me confused for quite some time actually — As a result of one of the previous seasons of the show being broken up differently for international release, our (being the Australian) release of season six is actually made up of episodes 78 through to 90. Essentially, we’re talking about the first 13 episodes of the U.S season 5.
As I mentioned earlier, I haven’t followed The Family Guy religiously; lack of real network support here has made adding the show to my viewing schedule difficult and even Foxtel’s coverage has been patchy. The clearest indication of that, for me, was that I’d not seen a single episode included on these DVDs before — Which I guess is why this show has such a strong DVD buying fan base — Although, Having sat through, and thoroughly enjoyed, these 13 episodes (in one session, I may add… I take this stuff seriously!) I’d count myself as a fan now.
When listening to the commentary tracks (which accompany every episode) it’s not hard to tell where The Family Guy gets its attention-deficit-like style of humour from. Various members of the production team pile into a sound booth and essentially rib their way through each show: There’s not much of a technical nature included in most of these tracks, but you do gain a sense of the people behind the scenes (and in animation, that’s everyone!).
Another thing that becomes extremely obvious when listening to the commentary tracks, is just how much more you are seeing because you’re watching the DVD version of the show. Seth MacFarlane explains during one track that there are often up to three different versions of these episodes, most have dialogue and/or scenes removed — either for pace or because of network restrictions — and other stuff is held over specifically for the DVD release. In essence the DVD versions of The Family Guy episodes are the complete versions.
The extra content extends to a third disc which includes bucket loads of deleted scenes, three animatic episodes (which have accompanying commentary tracks), a tutorial explaining how to draw Peter Griffin (properly!) and a short detailing the processes which go into creating some of The Family Guy merchandise.
All up it’s pretty clear that this team appreciate the support that DVD buying fans have given them over the years and they’ve attempted to ‘give back’ as much as possible with this release.
Fortunately the show’s style doesn’t require you to have seen a single episode before to enjoy this collection, so while I can’t speak for the releases that have come before this one, I can say that — from the perspective of someone who had only really given the show a passing glance before — this is a pretty cool release.