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Featured TV on DVD Review: American Dad!: Volume Five

June 17th, 2010

American Dad!: Volume Five - Buy from Amazon

American Dad! is Seth McFarlane's second hit TV show and it shares a number of similarities to his first, Family Guy. This is both good news and bad news. Good news: if you liked Family Guy, then chances are this one is at least worth checking out. Bad news is...

There is perhaps too much that is similar between the two shows.

Family Guy stars Seth McFarlane as Peter, who is fat, dumb, and loud. American Dad! stars Seth McFarlane as Stan, who is also dumb and loud, but as a C.I.A. agent is physically fit. Both shows have pets that talk, while this show has Roger, a crashed alien, who is basically a Stewie substitute.

They also both have annoying DVD releases. Volume five starts with episode seven of season four... or season five. It depends on whether or not you count the first seven episodes as a separate season or not. I think this is why the DVD releases are not simple full-season sets. It starts with Phantom of the Telethon and continues to Stan's Night Out, which is the last episode of the season. Perhaps with volume six they will have full-season sets.

There are some real points of contrast. Firstly, the humor is more plot driven and there are less non-sequitor cutaways. Also, there are far fewer times where they take a weak joke and stretch far, far to thin. Depending on your opinion of Family Guy, this could be good news or bad news. I like the random cutaways, but too often the writers of Family Guy don't know when to end a joke. I do appreciate the more plot-driven stories.

As for the individual episodes, they are mostly solid, but there are none that I would consider instant classics. Things start off well with Phantom of the Telethon, which has Stan stealing Roger's idea for a C.I.A. Telethon and Roger vowing revenge. Roy Rogers McFreely has Roger becoming elected as the head of the Home Owners Association and going after Stan, but Stan fights back, with the help of his daughter, Haley. In Wife Insurance, Stan is kidnapped during a mission and Francine thinks he is killed. She is relieved when he returns home safe, but learns that Stan already has a backup wife should Francine die, so in revenge she gets a backup husband. The B-Story here is also great, as Steve and Roger team up as cops, Wheels and the Legman, looking for Haley's iPod shuffle. The DeLorean Story-An follows Stan and Steve on a road trip as they look for a passenger door for Stan's DeLorean, which is something that was never mentioned before, and likely never mentioned again. However, it does setup a nice father / son moment.

Extras on the three-disc start with audio commentaries tracks on all 14 episodes with a variety of participants. Disc two also has a pop-up trivia track for Bar Mitzvah Shuffle, which is an above average episode, but not among the best. Disc three has tons of deleted scenes, which are worth checking out, and The Power Hour Drinking Game, which is not. The DVD is also labeled Unrated, and it earns that rating with several episodes that have unbleeped swear words and some nudity.

The Verdict

American Dad!: Volume Five loses points for not being a full-season set, but it is still a solid collection of episodes with plenty of extras. Fans of the show will definitely want to pick it up.

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