Something, Something, Something, Dark Side (Blu-ray)

Another blackout, another night at the Griffins' house with Peter retelling an episode of Star Wars. This time it's the second film, The Empire Strikes Back – which is, to many (myself included) the best of all the Star Wars films.

Family Guy: Something, Something, Something, Dark Side is very, very, very clever – much, much, much cleverer than anything George Lucas has done in the past 20-odd years. It's also very, very, very (OK, I'll stop now) funny. And yes, for those asking, it's funnier than the first Family Guy Star Wars episode, Blue Harvest.  To be perfectly honest, the funniest moments in SSSDS occur in the opening crawl – particularly the snarky digs at Fox executives. It would also be wrong to cal SSSDS a parody, as a lot of critics are doing; it's not, it's much more of an homage with a Family Guy twist to it. I'm not going to venture into spoiler territory and recite all the best jokes or "guest appearances" here (and if you're keen to avoid revelations before you see it then I suggest you don't read the back of the Blu-ray box!); suffice it to say that Seth and his team really know their Star Wars trivia. And there are a few references – The Jetsons, Don Knotts and Rodney Dangerfield – that will definitely go over the heads of younger viewers.

Visually, the show looks stunning – especially, as you'd expect, in hi-def on Blu-ray. The animation is sharp and crisp, and some of the special effects – particularly in the dogfight scenes – look as though they've been lifted straight from the original film. But they haven't; everything has been animated. One small niggle, though. Why is Family Guy (and this special) still made in the 4:3 ration, while other animated shows from the same stable, such as American Dad! and The Cleveland Show, are now made in the widescreen 16:9 ratio? I mean, c'mon Seth, even The SImpsons has gone widescreen! Anyway, if you're an avid fan of Family Guy, as I am, then there's no need for me to tell you to make sure you buy this; hell, you've probably pre-ordered the damned thing. But if you're not a huge fan of the show, this special may just convert you. All that's left to say is roll on the Family Guy version of Return of The Jedi, which will be called We Have a Bad Feeling About this. Giggity.

EXTRAS *** As with most Fox Blu-ray releases now, there is a DVD copy and digital copy of the show that you can transfer to your Mac, PC or mobile device. Pretty nifty stuff. As for bonus material, we kick off with an audio commentary featuring the two Seths (creator MacFarlane and actor Green), along with producers Mark Hentemann and David Goodman, writer Kirker Butler, and director Dominic Polcino. The episode can be watched with Family Guy Fact Ups - pop-up trivia on the screen. Then there's The Dark Side of Poster Art featurette; a series of Animatics, shown side-by-side with the finished product; the Something, Something, Something Dark Side Table Read; and the Sneak Peek of Episode VI: We Have a Bad Feeling About This Table Read.

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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