Having just ended on BBC3 in the UK, Family Guy – Season 14 arrives on DVD in the UK. It’s perhaps the most controversial season in the show’s history – which isn’t bad going for a series that’s previously had two episodes that were fully animated and then rejected by the Fox network due to worries about their content.
However the controversy this time wasn’t due to Family Guy taking on abortion or concern about jokes about Jews – it’s because they killed off one of the main characters. Yep, a few episodes in to Season 14 Brian the faux-intellectual dog bites the big one (or at least bites the tarmac, seeing as he gets run over). However it shouldn’t come as too much of a shock to discover that this might not be the last time we see him.
It’s not all about killing off dogs though, as the season also sees Peter learning to live with a tiny vestigial twin on his shoulder, Meg finding a way to take on a bully who wants to kill her, the Griffins trying out life in Italy, Peter becoming intelligent (yes, really) and the return of Cleveland.
Unfortunately the Season doesn’t start out too brilliantly. With the first few episodes there’s a sense that the writing staff was running out of ideas and reaching for whatever dregs they could. Sure it’s a show where pretty much anything can happen, but things such as Peter’s miniature twin and his erectile dysfunction feel like the sort of thing that should have been cutaways, but have been stretched out to episode length.
Thankfully though the death of Brian is handled well and after about episode 10, things improve massively and it gets back to being the show we know and love. The boys going off to literally find God and Peter taking up smoking are a lot of fun, as is the conclusion of the season, where Stewie decides to find out what would have happened if he’d never have been born.
Although it’s a season of ups and down, overall it’s still extremely entertaining, and even the more random, weaker episodes will raise plenty of smiles.
The three disc set also includes some decent extras, including a great Featurette about the death of Brian and the social media frenzy it set off, along with a funny mash-up of Consuela’s best moments, some audio commentaries and loads of deleted scenes. It’s all worth a look.
Overall Verdict: It may not start out that well but Family Guys – Season 14 comes back strong
Reviewer: Tim Isaac