Sunday, January 24, 2010


Recognizing they've found an audience, the people behind Family Guy have followed up on 2007's "Blue Harvest" send-up of "Star Wars - A New Hope" with "Something, Something, Something Dark Side."

This time, the parody of "The Empire Strikes Back" has been released on DVD first, with broadcast not planned until spring. Family Guy has taken this route before with the "Stewie Griffin - the Untold Story" and the series has fared so well on DVD that sales famously resurrected the canceled show.

"Something ... " follows the successful formula of "Blue Harvest" by sticking mostly to the source material, using the inconsistencies and impossible situations to take barbs at the George Lucas franchise. Because the writers are so familiar with and obviously fond of the Star Wars saga, even the most hard-core fans wouldn't be so offended to not laugh along at the notion of thinking it's a good idea to attach power lines to walls made of ice.

Although firmly set in the Star Wars universe, the characters also retain much of their personalities from the show and there are enough running gags/moments to remind you that is Family Guy after all.

I've soured a bit on Family Guy over the years - running gags get stale and you reach a limit of how much of always trying to outdo itself or shock the audience you can take. But, as with "Blue Harvest," creator Seth MacFarlane and his crew are at the top of their game. Two releases in, I'm excited about seeing the finale of the original trilogy in "We Have A Bad Feeling," a table read from which is included as one of the DVD's extras.

The feature runs 54 minutes, 38 seconds and there are two full-length extras, a commentary and a "Pop-Up Video"-style version with all sorts of Family Guy "factoids."

The full list of extras:

Commentary by executive producers Seth MacFarlane, Mark Hentemann and David A. Goodman, writer Kirker Butler, director Dominic Polcino and actor Seth Green.

Family Guy Fact-Ups (Pop Up-Video style)

(9:13) The Dark Side of Poster Art Featurette - making of painting/art

(6:39) Animatic with commentary by Dominic Polcino

(49:24) Table read of Acts 1 and 2

(2:25) Sneak preview table read of "Episode VI: We have a Bad Feeling about this table read"

The Collector's Edition Gift Set also includes a nice (although plastic rather than metal) Thermos-brand lunchbox featuring the Family Guy characters in their Star Wars personae.

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