Family Guy is one of those shows where you either love it or loathe it. And for some people Season 14 may also cause the same kind of reactions. It’s because this season sees characters like Stewie (Seth MacFarlane) becoming less like the evil and murderous child genius he was at the beginning of the show and more like a flamboyant gayby. But it is also the season that Cleveland returns and episodes like Life of Brian and Christmas Guy will be remembered as absolute classics.
The Season 14 set is a three disc DVD combining 21 uncensored episodes that were filmed in widescreen HD. The animation looks as good as ever and it works best in the cutaway sequences, especially when they drop in footage from other mediums or shows. There are moments like the death of Brian and the introduction of the replacement dog, Vinny (Tony Sirico) which makes the series feel fresh and it succeeds at keeping viewers on their toes.
But that doesn’t mean that all of these episodes are killer. Fresh Heir sees Chris spending time with his grandfather, Carter Pewterschmidt. Chris is eventually named the sole heir to Carter’s estate and Peter Griffin responds to this in the most ridiculous and unfunny way possible. He separates from his wife Lois and proposes to his son who accepts. Similarly, the Baby Got Black episode had many moments where it went too far at making jibes against African-Americans.
One thing this series has succeeded at is tightening up the visual gags and cutaways. So while there are sequences which include the odd vignette, these don’t drag on for quite as long as previously. But this is with the notable exception of one gross scene in Peter Problems where our favourite TV father uses a forklift on a beached whale and continually hurts and mutilates the innocent creature until it eventually dies a tortured death.
This set also contains bonus features like audio commentaries and deleted scenes on selected episodes. There’s a short featurette about the death of Brian, the public’s outcry on social media (which included a 100,000 strong petition on Change.org to bring the character back) and his return. An episode animatic for Christmas Guy is also included as well as a funny mashup of all the Consuela cameos from previous seasons. This series also included some great guest stars like: Adam Levine (Maroon 5), Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), Conan O’Brien, Lea Thompson, Liam Neeson, Peter Dinklage and the late Lauren Bacall.
In Season 14, Family Guy is as crass and cheeky as ever. But this television show also proved that it can also walk the line between comedy and drama and have moments where it is serious and even poignant. The series may not be at its pinnacle anymore but there are still some hidden gems to be found in the ridiculous antics of the Griffin family and their friends.
Review Score: THREE STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Season 14 of Family Guy is now available on DVD through 20th Century Fox.