American Dad: Volume 3 (DVD)

I'm a little confused over the naming of this box set — Volume 3. Does that mean it's Season 3 of the show? Or not? The first box set released was called Season 1, but the second was Volume 2. What's going on? Normally, TV box sets are released as complete series of the show, but is that not the case with American Dad? I rang a spokespoppet at Fox HQ in London, but she didn't have a clue. So I've left a message for Rupert Murdoch to call me and, hopefully, clear this matter up. Inquiring minds need to know.

Anyway, if you're not already familiar with American Dad, then you should be. It comes from the slightly warped but brilliant mind of Seth MacFarlane, the man responsible for Family Guy. But it's much more grounded in reality than Family Guy is — no flashbacks, no cutaways to pop culture references. But like that other show, American Dad is a family-based comedy. But this time the head of that family, Stan Smith, is an ultra-right-wing fanatic who works for the CIA. He has a beautiful wife named Francine (who ranks slightly below GW Bush in his affections), geeky son Steve, ultra-liberal daughter Hayley, alien Roger (rescued from Area 51) and a goldfish named Klaus who used to be a Nazi. Two of the standlout episodes in this set are Bush Comes to Dinner, in which the moronic US president pays a visit, and The 42-Year-Old Virgin, in which it's revelaed that Stan has never killed anyone. We appear to be in another golden age for animation on TV, and American Dad sits near the top of that pile. Moth-fart jokes and all.

EXTRAS **** See, Matt and Trey? THIS is how you do it. Every single episode here has a commentary track. Every single one. AND for the entire episode, not just for a few minutes as Matt and Trey do with South Park. PLUS you get more than 60 deleted scenes — enough to put together 3 or 4 decent clip shows if the makers were so inclined. As well as that, you also get most of the episodes uncensored (ie, the "fucks" that were bleeped for the show's TV broadcast can now be heard in all their glory). And there's a very funny table read for The 42-Year-Old Virgin, so you get to see the strange-looking people who voice all these strange-looking characters.

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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