Article originally published as DVD Review: ‘Family Guy – Season Thirteen’ on Blogcritics.
Released a little later than most television sets, just before Christmas, months after the following season began, Family Guy – Season Thirteen is available now. The three-disc set contains all eighteen episodes from the fall 2014 through spring 2015 run, now uncensored with a bit of content you couldn’t see when it was broadcast on FOX, along with a handful of special features (mostly audio commentaries). For the Family Guy completionist, this provides the opportunity to bring your collection up to date.
Season Thirteen kicks off with the double-length installment “The Simpsons Guy.” As you might expect, this episode finds the Griffiths heading to Springfield and meeting The Simpsons family and friends. Long anticipated, the episode isn’t as amazing as I’d hoped, but it’s not bad either.
This follows the trend of Family Guy in general. While South Park has never been better nineteen seasons in, Family Guy peaked somewhere around season five and has never recovered. The Simpsons pretty much did the same thing, albeit a little later, so the Seth MacFarlane show is in good company. What this means is the program is still worth watching, but not appointment television. Most installments elicit a few chuckles, but none shock or wow the audience like the animated series did in its early days. Unlike South Park, Family Guy has not found a way to reinvent itself, at least not yet, and the crossover with The Simpsons does not improve upon their regular format. Yet, I still tune in because Family Guy gives me exactly what I expect from it week in and week out. It’s comfortable.
I do appreciate that there is a “Making of” featurette for this two-parter. Since it is something unique for the series, even if the story doesn’t feel particularly fresh, I am interested in how it came about. The extra doesn’t go all that in-depth, clocking in at a mere thirteen minutes, but it’s the best bonus on this set, which also includes a full-episode animatic, some deleted scenes, and numerous audio commentaries.
Among the other episodes in Family Guy – Season Thirteen are: “Baking Bad,” in which Peter and Lois open a bakery; “The 2000-Year-Old Virgin,” in which Peter tries to help Jesus Christ lose his virginity; “Quagmire’s Mom,” which helps explains some of the supporting character’s personality; “Stewie is Enceinte,” in which Stewie impregnates himself with Brian’s DNA; and “Fighting Irish,” in which Peter learns to fight from Liam Neeson.
If you’ve been collecting Family Guy DVDs for awhile, like I have, you may notice something strange about the title of this release. The first twelve compilations of the show were released as Volumes, not seasons. This is due to the fact that season one was so short it was combined with season two in its initial production. Season four was then split over two volumes, and many subsequent DVDs split seasons into pieces. Thankfully, seasons tens and eleven were kept together, released as Volumes Eleven and Twelve, and then last year, Season Twelve got its own set. This does mean there are two twelves in the run – Volume Twelve and Season Twelve. But now with Season Thirteen out, the show seems to have gotten its act together and fallen more in line with what the public expects.
Now if only FOX would get around to releasing Family Guy on Blu-ray. I know the animation on this DVD set is crisper than most standard definition programming, but the show has aired in HD for years, and looks even better when viewed that way. Why does the studio insist on releasing an inferior product?
Family Guy – Season Thirteen is another batch of mildly amusing episodes from a consistent series at an inexpensive price, and is available now on DVD.