Family Guy Season 8

We at BestForFilm have a bit of an odd relationship with Family Guy. When it’s good, it’s damn good, but when it misfires it’s as embarrassing to watch as a drunk divorcee at a wedding, only without that delicious whiff of schadenfreude. After eight seasons, there’s also the all-too-palpable fear that the writers might be running out of ideas – especially as Family Guy delights in re-using jokes and rewarding hardcore fans with running gags.

But we’re happy to report that this latest batch of episodes stands up admirably well under our ever-critical gaze. The season doesn’t depart radically from its tried-and-tested formula of bad taste, topical references and envelope-pushing storylines, but the material is fresh enough to keep the laughs a-coming. There’s even, every once in a while, a chin-rubbing “Hmm, good point” when the show sets its aim squarely at parodying society and its idiosyncrasies.

It’s actually the latter moments that raise this season’s offerings above the norm, a lesson that MacFarlane and co. have presumably learnt from South Park. Examples include Peter’s budding friendship with Jesus Christ, Quahog’s legalisation of marijuana and a razor-sharp tribute to Stephen King. Even the ubiquitous cutaway gags, often responsible for hamstringing previous seasons by being either laboured or predictable, seem to have been written with a keener eye. That’s not to say the season is flawless – a couple of episodes (particularly “The Juice is Loose”) fall depressingly flat, and a few instances of craziness for craziness’ sake smack a little too strongly of desperation as episodes veer wildly from the starting premise. That said, it’s a solid addition to a strong series, and worth getting for the James Woods episode alone.

Special Features:

Deleted Scenes
Extended Episodes with Writer’s Commentaries
Featurettes including Family Guy Cribz and interviews from Comic-Con 2008.

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