The complete first season of the animated sitcom. The Griffins are an average North American family living in an average North American home in an average North American town. The dad Peter is a big TV fan; mom Lois is a former heiress who gave up her riches to marry the man she loves; sixteen-year-old Meg is a drama queen eager to be accepted by her peers; thirteen-year-old Chris likes his food and has the beginnings of a TV habit which could grow to equal his dad's; baby Stewie is a malevolent genius with plans for complete global domination; and martini-guzzling Brian is, well, the family dog. Episodes comprise: 'Death Has a Shadow', 'I Never Met the Dead Man', 'Mind Over Murder', 'Chitty Chitty Death Bang', 'A Hero Sits Next Door', 'The Son Also Draws' and 'Brian: Portrait of a Dog'.
shouldn't work at all. Even by the witless standards of modern television, it is breathtakingly derivative: does an animated series about the travails of a boorish, suburban yob with a saintly wife, a hopeless son, a clever daughter and a baby sound familiar at all? Even the house in Family Guy
looks like it was built by the same architects who sketched the residence of The Simpsons
However, Family Guy does work, transcending its (occasionally annoyingly) obvious influences with reliably crisp writing and the glorious sight gags contained in the surreal flashbacks which punctuate the episodes. Most importantly, the show's brilliance comes from two absolutely superb characters: Stewie, the baby whose extravagant dreams of tyrannising the world are perpetually thwarted by the prosaic limitations of infanthood, and the urbane family dog Brian--Snoopy after attendance at an obedience class run by Frank Sinatra. Family Guy does not possess the cultural or satirical depth of The Simpsons--very little art in any field does. But it is a genuinely funny and clever programme. --Andrew Mueller