DVD REVIEWS: Family Business

Family Guy was canceled after its third season, but phenomenal DVD sales and a successful afterlife in reruns have brought the series back to prime time again. To celebrate, creator Seth MacFarlane picks his Top 5 episodes for Family Guy: The Freakin' Sweet Collection (20th Century Fox; Series •••, Picture/Sound ••½, Extras ••). And he mashes together three new episodes about Baby Stewie's odyssey of personal discovery in the feature-length Family Guy Presents Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story (20th Century Fox; Movie ••, Picture/Sound ••, No Extras). The "best-of" compilation is a good primer for neophytes, but diehard fans won't find much new aside from the commentaries (three from MacFarlane and the crew, one from Brian and Stewie). While The Untold Story has its moments, it's another case of stretching a TV show too thin. Better to wait for the Family Guy: Season 4 collection coming November 29.

Both titles have bright, full-frame (1.33:1) pictures. Jagged lines show up during fast movements in Freakin' Sweet, but they're much less prevalent in Story. That DVD also has two Dolby Digital 5.1 sound-tracks (censored and uncensored), which make good use of the surround channels for music and effects. Sweet is in pedestrian Dolby Surround, usually sounding like stereo. Story comes with a commentary from cast and crew members and a few featurettes. Sweet, besides its commentaries, has fluff pieces about Season 4 and MacFarlane's new series, American Dad.

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