fgv4The newest collection of Family Guy arrives in Family Guy: Volume Four. Collecting up episodes up to the end of the last season in a nice boxed set, this compilation easily holds some of the better episodes of the newest seasons. If you’re a fan of the series, then you’ll definitely want to pick up this release. If not, I’m not sure if picking up this set would really be worth it.

Brought back from cancellation, Family Guy became a victim of its own popularity. While still popular, other shows have started getting their licks in, including The Simpsons and South Park, taking shots at what they find to be faults of the show. Fans of the show are undeterred, enjoying the irreverent and seemingly random styling to the show’s comedy. If anything, the creators behind the series have succeeded in making the show a house-hold name and able to withstand the hefty criticism thrown at it.

This collection includes thirteen recent episodes spread over three discs. The first disc contains the episodes “PTV,” “Brian Goes Back to College,” “The Courtship of Stewie’s Father,” “The Fat Guy Strangler,” and “The Father, the Son, and the Holy Fonz.” The second disc contains the episodes “Brian Sings and Swings,” “Patriot Games,” “I Take Thee Quagmire,” “Sibling Rivalry,” “Deep Throats.” Lastly, the third disc finishes up the collection with “Peterotica,” “You May Now Kiss The…Uh…Guy Who Receives,” “Petergeist,” and “The Griffin Family History.” With this collection, and excluding the three-part episode “The Stewie Griffen Story” (which was released to DVD as a movie last year), the DVDs are now caught up to the last season of the series.

Fans of the show are going to pick up this series, so let’s swing this review to the DVD release it self. The visuals seem to be on par with previous releases with providing a nice image. It’s not the best, as sometimes colors bleed and aliasing in the image pops back in on occasion. Not distracting for the casual viewer, though the DVD enthusiast will notice. The audio is also on par with the previous release, providing solid sound and an uncensored language track for the adult crowd (with a “censored” audio track option) for most episodes.

The extras for this set include commentaries on every single episode, over forty deleted scenes, and some great “behind the scenes” material. “A Director’s Life: Debunking The Myth” proves incredibly insightful for the animation process behind the series. It gives us a good look behind what makes an episode of this series that can easily be applied to other animated works we see. Easily the best feature on the set, aside from the complete collection of commentaries, this extra has definite rewatch value for fans of animation and the series itself. In the other features, Adam West takes us on the tour of the Family Guy offices, view some of the series’ animatics, and learn how to sketch Stewie, and take a glimpse at a vast collection of deleted scenes from the series.

With easily the best collection of extras to date for a Family Guy DVD set, this is definitely one set that should please both casual and die-hard fans of the series. Family Guy: Volume Four comes Highly Recommended.

Originally posted on the DVD Discussion forum on November 15th, 2006.