American Dad: Volume 1
DVD Reviews | May 4th, 2006
Starring Seth MacFarlane, Scott Grimes, Wendy Schaal, Rachael MacFarlane, Dee Bradley Baker
Written By: Mike Barker, Seth MacFarlane, Matt Weitzman
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Buy on Amazon.com link
When I first heard Seth MacFarlane was doing another animated series, I was a little worried. Family Guy is great but I didn’t want this to be some knock-off. I first saw American Dad in a 5 minute preview on the Internet and I watched that a lot. Then the full pilot debut after the Super Bowl and it had it’s moments. I guess that’s what I would summarize about the debut season of American Dad, it had it’s moments.
American Dad is about CIA right-wing father figure Stan Smith (voiced by Seth MacFarlane), who has a loving wife Francine (Wendy Schaal), a dorky son Steve (Scott Grimes) and tree hugging liberal daughter Hayley (Rachael MacFarlane). As well as having a typical family and a white picket fence, they also have some abnormal things among the household too. They have a German talking fish named Klaus who’s in love with Francine, and than you have a gray alien named Roger who spews goo out of his body and acts very feminine. Each episode has politically-charged humor and clever wit about current events. Some of the episodes this season are about: Stan rigs the school election so his son can score with girls, Francine’s memory is erased and she thinks she back at college and whoring her self up, The Smiths think Roger is dead after he goes into a coma but wakes up and he’s being wanted by the CIA, Stan suspects his middle-eastern & peaceful neighbors are terrorists, and Stan’s super secret agent Father returns after 20 years. You can get the jest of the storylines with just those episodes.
American Dad isn’t Family Guy, even though it’s pretty much done by the same people. It’s still funny and somewhat different in humor. Some of the jokes I don’t get because I don’t read the news constantly. The jokes can be out there, they can be random, and they can be over the top at times but it still doesn’t come close to Family Guy. I think that since Family Guy is aired right before this show, it almost hurts it because people are expecting something similar and it’s not. I think if the show was aired during a separate night, it would probably get more attention from viewers. I thought the first ten episodes were good but then I slowly started to get uninterested in it towards the end. I just found myself not laughing as much as I did in the beginning of the season. Maybe the jokes were starting to get more and more sporadic for me and when there was something supposedly funny, it fell flat for me.
I think the characters are okay, with Roger and Stan being my favorites. Klaus has funny lines but I think he’s pretty useless on the show. Francine is funny at times, but her voice starts to irritate me after awhile. I think Roger is hysterical because how much of a woman/metrosexual he is. Stan is good because he’s this ultra right wing that says outrageous stuff that a lot of American probably think, just don’t say. I’m not one of them though but it’s funny hearing it from a cartoon character. I think eventually the creators will start to run out of gags for Klaus and Roger but we’ll see what happens. I thought it was great to see Patrick Stewart guest star on a lot of episodes, it shows he can do all types of things besides playing a handicapped mutant and Shakespeare characters. I was surprised to hear Booger’s voice as one as Steve’s friends Snot. You know Booger, Curtis Armstrong from Revenge of the Nerds movies. I was wondering what he was doing lately and I guess now I know!
There are a lot of bonus material on the last disc for fans of the show to enjoy. There’s a decent featurette about the show, and all the crew and cast are interviewed. You see the actors doing their voices in the booth, which I always enjoy watching. There’s commentary on a lot of the episodes and I actually listened to most of them since I’ve seen these episodes quite a few times (Thanks Adult Swim for beating them into the ground!) I liked the commentaries when Seth MacFarlane was present because he wasn’t on all of them. Seeing the featurette of the Cast doing a live table read at the Aspen Comedy Festival was great to see. I saw the cast of Family Guy doing that in NYC and it’s a blast. Other great extras include 42 deleted scenes, a table read & animatics, and voices behind American Dad. There’s a bonus Family Guy disc that comes with the DVD set but since this is a review copy, I didn’t receive it.
American Dad is always going to be compared to Family Guy, like Futurama was always compared to the Simpsons. But like that show, it will probably get better as the seasons progress and it will build a fanbase. I enjoyed the first half of American Dad but sort of lost interest towards the end of the season. The show is funny and it has some amusing characters and plotlines, but I think some people will not like this show as much as Family Guy. I still have faith it will get better later on, if Fox still keeps it around on the air…
Commentaries on 12 Episodes by Series Creators, Directors, Writers and Cast Members
All in the Family – Creating American Dad! Featurette
Secrets of the Glass Booth – Behind the Voices of American Dad!
Table Read and Animatic
American Animatics Featurette – Animatic to Episode Comparison
Bonus Family Guy New to DVD Deleted Scenes & Featurettes!
42 Deleted Scenes and More!
ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1 CC
English, Spanish, French
Favorite Scenes: Pilot, Stan Knows Best, Francine’s Flashback, Roger Codger, Homeland Insecurity
Running Time: 284 minutes