The second series of Seth MacFarlane's animated sitcom Family Guy
continues with its own brand of acerbic pop-culture satire mixed with gleefully tasteless comedy. Even though the chaotic Griffin household bears more than a passing resemblance to The Simpsons
, and their neighbours are uncannily like those from King of the Hill
, the show's combination of extended flashbacks, surreal fantasy sequences and delightful non sequiturs ("Math, my dear boy, is nothing more than the lesbian sister of biology") refreshes the familiar formula. And any show that features Adam "Batman" West guest starring as the demented Mayor of Quahog must score points for bizarre originality.
Highlights of the 15 episodes here include Peter discovering his feminine side ("I Am Peter, Here Me Roar"), Stewie and Brian on an eventful road trip ("Road to Rhode Island"), Peter annexing his neighbour's pool and inviting the world's dictators round for a barbeque ("E Peterbus Unum") and, as a bonus episode, the irreverent "When You Wish Upon a Weinstein", which was deemed "too offensive for TV". It may be lowbrow scatological farce, but unlike its big-screen live-action cousins (think Farrelly Brothers), Family Guy is always warm-hearted and never vicious.
On the DVD: Family Guy, Series 2 is spread across two discs that boast Dolby 5.1 sound but standard 4:3 picture. There's no "Play All" facility (something else this release has in common with The Simpsons on DVD) and there are no extras other than the "bonus" episode. --Mark Walker
Entire second 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: 'Peter Peter Caviar Eater', 'Holy Crap', 'Da Boom', 'Brian in Love', 'Love Thy Trophy', 'Death Is a Bitch', 'The King Is Dead', 'I Am Peter, Hear Me Roar', 'If I'm Dyin, I'm Lyin', 'Running Mates', 'A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Bucks', 'Fifteen Minutes of Shame', 'Road to Rhode Island', 'Let's Go to the Hop', 'Dammit Janet!', 'There's Something About Paulie', 'He's Too Sexy for His Fat', 'E. Peterbus Unum', 'The Story On Page One', 'Wasted Talent' and 'Fore Father'.