DVD Review: AMERICAN DAD! SEASON 6

Coming pretty quickly after the incredibly exciting announcement that Seth MacFarlane is about to embark on a journey to reboot the iconic cartoon that was The Flintstones, American Dad Season 6 proves exactly why the Family Guy creator, and sometime opera star is one of the biggest deals the world of animation has ever seen. And even though it is usually considered the poorer show when compared with Family Guy, this sixth season - available to buy on DVD from tomorrow - shows that criticism to be lazy and unnecessary, and the very fact that we have now got beyond six seasons is testament enough to how well the show has done. The voice work is still sterling - as with Family Guy, MacFarlane compliments his own leather-smooth vocals by surrounding himself with some choice talent to fill the rest of the cast. ER and Band of Brothers star Scott Grimes continues as awkward teen Steve Smith, Wendy Schaal voices put-upon wife Francine and Rachael MacFarlane reappears as militant daughter Hayley. But following the trend of past seasons, it is the alien lodger Roger (Seth again) who tends to steal the show still, with his inimitable charm, and tendency to pithy put-downs and one-liners, while German gold-fish/political prisoner Klaus (Dee Bradley Baker) adds flourishes of humour as well. And this season sees a huge injection of guest actors lending their voices to characters, which adds that pleasurable sense of recognition to proceedings when you realise its the likes of Kat Dennings, Zack Galifanakis and Bill Pullman you can hear. My personal favourite has to be the exceptional recurring guest-star appearances of Patrick Stewart, whose work feels a lot like, and is as successful as Adam West's turn as a bizarro version of himself in Family Guy. As the seasons have progressed, and following the trend of the show itself, Stewart's character Avery has become more and more ludicrous, and to have the actor's rich tones linked with the character is a great but jarring experience. Great to see he is willing to poke fun at himself as well. The show has always had a broader sense of satire than Family Guy and newer addition to the family The Cleveland Show, as the humour tends to be a lot more about turning a mirror on American culture, rather than simply enjoying the dynamic between characters and the situations they get in, and that trend continues, even if the show is far more like Family Guy than it was to begin with. Sadly that satirical tendency is now not as prevalent as in past series, as the show became a little more conventionally sit-com-like, but as if to add credence to that lamentation, the comedy is never better than when there is a lampooning agenda to it. For instance, the stand-out episode on the boxset is the controversial but brilliant Rapture's Delight that is a genius religion-baiting work of off-kilter art, and its one that will no doubt have religious nuts going wild once again. And while that satirical note is absent, the show's writers seem to have swayed towards increasingly the vulgarity to fill the void, which isn't to everyone's tastes, but I personally find a bit of puerile humour helps the time pass wonderfully. It's just a shame that in comparison to the more clever humour of previous seasons, the cock gags and close-to-the-bone subjects (bestiality and necrophilia pop their heads up this time around) could never feel as artfully crafted. Still, funny enough to watch. I have to say the earlier seasons remain superior, simply because there is less of the wayward vulgarity (or at least its more subtle) than in later additions, but this sixth season still finds Macfarlane and Co in fine form, and its well worth picking up on DVD.]

American Dad Season 6 is available to buy on DVD from tomorrow.
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