REVIEW: THE ORVILLE – SEASON 2

Starring

Seth MacFarlane (Sing)

Adrianne Palicki (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)

Penny Johsnon Jerald (Star Trek: DS9)

Scott Grimes (American Dad)

Peter Macon (Shameless)

Halston Sage (Goosebumps)

J. Lee (Family Guy)

Mark Jackson (The Royal Today)
Jessica Szohr (Piranha 3D)

Seth MacFarlane and Adrianne Palicki in The Orville (2017)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Will Sasso (Mom)
Mike Henry (The Cleveland Show)
Chris Johnson (The Vampire Diaries)
Jason Alexander (Shallow Hal)
Rachael MacFarlane (American Dad)
Chad L. Coleman (Arrow)
Lesley Fera (Pretty Little Liars)
Candice King (The Vampire Diaries)
Robert Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager)
John Billingsley (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Kerry O’Malley (Annabelle: Creation)
Patrick Warburton (Ted)
Molly Hagan (No Good Nick)
Norm MacDonald (Dr. Dolittle)
Michaela McManus (SEAL Team)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Ted Danson (The Good Place)
John Rubinstein (Angel)
Kevin Daniels (Atypical)
Wren T. Brown (Whoopi)
Bruce Willis (Glass)
Nick Chinlund (Training Day)
Mackenzie Astin (The Magicians)
Leighton Meester (The Roommate)
Tim Russ (Star Trek: Voyager)
Sarah Scott (The Artist)
F. Murray Abraham (Amadeus)
Rena Owen (Siren)
Kelly Hu (Arrow)
Tony Todd (Candyman)
Marina Sirtis (Star Trek: TNG)

Penny Johnson Jerald and Mark Jackson in The Orville (2017)It would be profoundly unfair at this point to keep comparing The Orville to Star Trek: The Next Generation. But the parallels are pretty obvious. The titular Orville has the same ‘Giant Conference Hotel’ in space look that the old Star Trek show did; the Union has a similar aesthetic as The Federation, and so on. But all of this is shorthand; we know Star Trek, so all the visual clues are really just there to quickly get the viewer up to speed.Seth MacFarlane in The Orville (2017)Season 1 of The Orville worked pretty hard to establish its own world. This was an optimistic yet militaristic future in which people still behaved like people. They got drunk, they made dirty jokes, they had affairs, they got divorced. The central relationship of the show is that the First Officer is the Captain’s ex-wife, after all. Season 1 had a lot of missteps and frequently fell flat. Season 2 addresses these issues by simply being more straight forward and blunt.Halston Sage in The Orville (2017)For a start, it’s more obvious that the various prominent alien races in the show represent various social issues. Stories that feature the ‘All-Male’ Moclus tend to focus on sex, identity, and gender. It helps a lot that Peter Macon plays the role of Bortus brilliantly. He can switch from sombre and serious to physical comedy extremely well and is perhaps one of the most under-rated characters in the show. The war-like Krill allow the show to reflect on religious intolerance and the mechanical Kaylon serve a general cypher for the human experience. None of these ‘issue’ stories are subtle, but they are fun and filled with humour.Seth MacFarlane in The Orville (2017)The show’s twists and turns are also pretty significant, and from the outset there are plenty of them. The Orville isn’t afraid to use story arcs, and the ‘reset’ button is rarely used here. Mistakes and tragedies are permanent. Certainly the last few episodes of the series feel like a promise. The past is another country and that even the slightest thing can have ruinous consequences.Penny Johnson Jerald and Seth MacFarlane in The Orville (2017)The special effects budget has also gotten a significant bump. Though there are plenty of ‘people standing around talking’-type scenes, when the action gets underway it really does go for it, reminding the viewer that this show is versatile enough to do both action and drama very well.Penny Johnson Jerald and Mark Jackson in The Orville (2017)Despite the short second season, it seems that Fox is very fond of its very marketable sci-fi show. Season 2 is occasionally a bumpy ride for its changes in story and pacing, but it’s well worth the journey.

REVIEW: THE ORVILLE – SEASON 1

 

Starring

Seth MacFarlane (Sing)
Adrianne Palicki (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Penny Johsnon Jerald (Star Trek: DS9)
Scott Grimes (American Dad)
Peter Macon (Shameless)
Halston Sage (Goosebumps)
J. Lee (Family Guy)
Mark Jackson (The Royal Today)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Victor Garber (Legends of Tomorrow)
Chad Coleman (Arrow)
Norm Macdonald (Jack & Jill)
Larry Joe Campbell (Hall Pass)
Brian George (The Big Bang Theory)
Joel Swetow (Alice In Wonderland)
Jeffrey Tambor (Hellbnoy)
Holland Taylor (Two and a Half Men)
Ron Canada (Wedding Crashers)
Deobia Oparei (Santa Clarita Diet)
Rena Owen (Siren)
Lamont Thompson (Evan Almighty)
Jonathan Adams (Bones)
Robert Knepper (Cult)
Liam Neeson (Chloe)
Rachael MacFarlane (American Dad)
Charlize Theron (The Road)
Kelly Hu (X-Men 2)
Michaela McManus (SEAL Team)
James Horan (Transformers Prime)
Giorgia Whigham (The Punisher)
Steven Culp (Jason Goes To Hell)
Loren Lester (Batman: TAS)
Brian Thompson (The Terminator)
Rob Lowe (Wayne’s World)
Derek Mears (The Flash)
Robert Picardo (Star Trek: DS9)
Molly Hagan (Izombie)
Mike Henry (The Cleveland Show)
Erica Tazel (The Good Fight)

Scott Grimes, Seth MacFarlane, Adrianne Palicki, J. Lee, and Halston Sage in The Orville (2017)When we first heard the news that Seth Macfarlane (Family Guy, Ted, A Million Ways to Die in the West) was making a comedy homage to Star Trek we thought hell yeah. It didn’t take long however before we started thinking it would just be another Family Guy-styled series with cheesy “adult” jokes, something that many people thought would be the case. Now that we’ve seen the first season, I can happily say that this is one of his finest works. It’s hilarious and pays tribute to the classic sci-fi series perfectly.Adrianne Palicki and Jasper McPherson in The Orville (2017)Seth Macfarlane plays Ed Mercer, an up and coming officer in the Planetary Union who has recently separated from his wife after finding her in bed with a blue alien. Shortly after these events, he is given a chance to prove himself after being given the Captain’s chair of The Orville, a mid-level exploratory vessel.Seth MacFarlane and Adrianne Palicki in The Orville (2017)The other members of the crew include Penny Johnson Jerald (24, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Castle) as Dr Claire Finn, Scott Grimes (ER, Band of Brothers, Critters) as Lieutenant Gordon Molloy, Peter Macon (Shameless, Dexter, Supernatural) as Lieutenant Commander Bortus and Halston Sage (How to Rock, Crisis, Paper Towns) as Lieutenant Alara Kitan.Scott Grimes, Seth MacFarlane, Adrianne Palicki, and Mark Jackson in The Orville (2017)The crew is missing a first officer and the Officers of the Planetary Union chose to place Adrianne Palicki (John Wick, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Red Dawn) who plays First Officer Kelly Grayson in the role. The only problem is that she’s Captain Mercer’s ex-wife.Scott Grimes, Seth MacFarlane, Adrianne Palicki, J. Lee, and Halston Sage in The Orville (2017)Whilst this sounds like your typical cheesy sit-com scenario, and it is, this is one of those rare occasions where it just works. The casting in this series is brilliant and the characters play off each other so well that every now and again you forget that this is a homage and actually start to believe that this is a new Star Trek series. The interactions between Mercer and Grayson are first class and the comedy stoic nature of Bortus is inspired. There are also several brilliant interactions between Dr Finn and her long-time admirer, a gelatinous blob named Yaphit, as he tries to seduce her at every opportunity.Adrianne Palicki in The Orville (2017)The Orville tackles some fantastic issues, worthy of any Next Generation episode. From discovering a massive ship floating In space that houses a holographic world that the inhabitants don’t realise isn’t real to getting trapped on a planet ruled by social media where everyday justice is dished out in popularity points which are displayed live on peoples clothing. The latter is probably the best episode of the series and tackles some very real subject matter involving the current state of social media, public opinion and controlled media based on distraction and frivolity and proves The Orville can be both both funny and intelligent at the same time.MV5BMWEyM2ZkYmQtOTQyMS00NjRmLTk5NzItMzYwMmU2NDUzZDg3XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjc5Mjg0NjU@._V1_SY1000_SX1500_AL_I can’t recommend this series enough so you should probably go now and watch it immediately. Oh, and as an added bonus it has been renewed for a second season so it won’t just be a flash in the pan one-off either, which is great news. Essentially if you love comedy and you love Sci-Fi then you can’t go wrong with The Orville!

REVIEW: FAMILY GUY – DVD SEASON 19

MAIN CAST

Seth MacFarlane (Ted)
Alex Borstein (Catwoman)
Seth Green (Without a Paddle)
Mila Kunis (Oz The Great and Powerful)
Lori Alan (Inside Out)
Mike Henry (The Cleveland Show)
Patrick Warburton (Get Smart)
Jennifer Tilly (Cult of Chucky)

Family Guy (1999)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Ralph Garman (Ted)
Sanaa Lathan (Blade)
Rachael MacFarlane (American Dad)
Dee Bradley Baker (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
Lucas Grabeel (Smallville)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Alexandra Breckenridge (The Walking Dead)
Patrick Stewart (Star Trek: Picard)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Gilbert Gottfried (Aladdin)
Mae Whitman (The Duff)
Gary Cole (Fam)
Denis Leary (Rescue Me)
Kimberly Brooks (Steven Universe)
Scott Grimes (The Orville)
H. Jon Benjamin (Wet Hot American Summer)
Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad)
Niecy Nash (Scream Queens)
Mandy Moore (Saved!)
Phil LaMarr (Supergirl)
Chris Parnell (Anchorman)
Sarah Paulson (Glass)
Judy Greer (Ant-Man)
Christine Lakin (Hollywood Darlings)
Sam Elliott (The Ranch)
Martha MacIsaac (Superbad)
Christina Milian (Pulse)
Emily Osment (Mom)
Julie Hagerty (Airplane)
Tara Lipinski (Kidding)
Ross Marquand (Avengers Infinity War)
Christine Baranski (The Big Bang Theory)
Wendy Schaal (American Dad)
Christina Pickles (Masters of The Universe)

Family Guy (1999)

This season is really season 17. The episodes this season are as follows.

Family Guy (1999)

MARRIED WITH CANCER

Brian falls in love with a woman named Jess Schlotz (Casey Wilson), who reveals she has cancer. He decides to take her hand in marriage and quickly comes to regret his choice when they find out her cancer has regressed after this discovery was made by Dr. Gravitas.

Family Guy (1999)

DEAD DOG WALKING

Brian’s marriage to Jess doesn’t go as planned, so at Peter’s suggestion, he lets himself go, leading Jess to make a surprising decision.
Family Guy (1999)

PAL STEWIE

Stewie befriends a boy his age; Peter and Lois attend a seminar on self-empowerment.

BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE QUAHOG

Stewie invents a shrinking machine that shrinks him and Brian down to microscopic size.
Family Guy (1999)

REGARDING CARTER

Carter gives Lois a surprising birthday present that leads to an unfortunate accident, leaving him dependent on the Griffins’ care.

STAND BY MEG

Stewie vows to make Meg’s life better after she saves him from choking; Chris is sent to a vocational school.

Family Guy (1999)

THE GRIFFIN WINTER GAMES

Meg takes the family by surprise when she makes the US Winter Olympics team.
Family Guy (1999)

CON HEIRESS

Stewie and Brian compete for the inheritance of a wealthy, older heiress; Peter and Chris battle for Mr. Herbert’s affection.
Family Guy (1999)

PAWTUCKET PETE

When the Pawtucket Brewery’s new bosses want to change the company’s mascot, Peter and Brian go head-to-head to become the new face.
Family Guy (1999)

HEFTY SHADES OF GREY

Tom Tucker teaches Peter how to report fake news; Brian and Stewie help Chris improve his love life.
Family Guy (1999)

TRUMP GUY

The Griffins move to the White House where Peter is hired as the new Press Secretary.

Family Guy (1999)

BRI, ROBOT

Brian worries about his legacy, so Stewie makes him a robot duplicate as a living biography; Peter starts working at a massage parlor.
Seth MacFarlane and Patrick Warburton in Family Guy (1999)

TRANS-FAT

Peter learns an important lesson when he’s mistakenly identified as transgender.
Family Guy (1999)

FAMILY GUY LITE

Peter goes on a health kick; When Lois starts writing a romantic fantasy novel, Brian and Stewie investigate who she might have a crush on.
Seth MacFarlane and Mandy Moore in Family Guy (1999)

NO GIGGITY, NO DOUBT

Quagmire discovers a long-lost daughter and makes a serious effort to embrace parenting.
Seth Green, Alex Borstein, and Seth MacFarlane in Family Guy (1999)

YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE BOOTH

The Griffins provide DVD commentary on a recent episode and reveal never-before-told drama between Peter and Lois.
Seth MacFarlane in Family Guy (1999)

ISLAND ADVENTURE

Stewie and Brian travel to Garbage Island to retrieve his tricycle after Peter throws it out; Lois tries to help Quagmire court a middle-aged woman.
Family Guy (1999)

THROW IT AWAY

Lois challenges the other Griffins to throw out anything that no longer gives them joy, only to take the decluttering to a surprising extreme.
Family Guy (1999)

GIRL, INTERNETTED

Meg becomes famous on the internet for her unhealthy eating; Brian and Stewie enjoy a new ride while Brian’s car gets fixed.
Seth MacFarlane in Family Guy (1999)

ADAM WEST HIGH

Brian runs for Mayor after successfully renaming James Woods High after the late Adam West, only for Quagmire to campaign against him.
Seth MacFarlane in Family Guy (1999)
Celebrate laughter, lunacy and all that jazz with this outrageous collection of 20 Family Guy episodes. It’s a freakin’ hilarious complete season,

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: AMERICAN DAD – THE CHRISTMAS EPISODES – PART 4

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CAST (voices)

Seth MacFarlane (Ted)
Wendy Schaal (Small Soldiers)
Scott Grimes (Critters)
Rachael MacFarlane (The Batman)
Dee Bradley Baker (Son of Batman)

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SANTA, SCHAMNTA

GUEST CAST

Kevin Michael Richardson (The Batman)

Santa,_SchmantaFollowing the events of “Ninety North, Zero West”, Santa falls from Humbaba and breaks his neck, killing himself. With the family able to relax now that Santa is dead, Roger can’t get any of the family to pay attention to him and his dance because they are celebrating Christmas. He goes over to Snot’s house and learns about Hanukkah, deciding to become Jewish so he can spend the time with Snot. While spending time at the mall together, he starts insulting the mall’s Santa, pointing out that the real one is dead and fetches the body to prove it. While trying on the Santa suit, he finds he has gained Santa’s magic powers and declares Hanukkah to be the new official main holiday of the season.maxresdefault_liveIn his effort to force the family to bend to his will, he destroys their Christmas decorations. He further moves his workshop and castle to Miami and hires hot college students to serve as his reindeer to pull his Lamborghini sleigh. But while throwing a blast at his castle, Snot finds that he really isn’t into celebrating Hanukkah properly and conspires with the Smiths to try to reanimate Santa’s corpse, with only partial success. They decide that they need his suit and note that he responds when they discuss the suit. They confront Roger in his castle, but in his fight with Santa, he burns the place down with oil and tries to flee with the family in his Lamborghini, but zombie Santa pulls himself on board and causes them to crash, allowing the suit to return to its rightful owner. Stan tries to reason with Santa to forget the past but he refuses, so the family is forced to run him over in their escape. Back home, Roger is pleased to simply have the family paying attention to him again as Snot and his mom go out for their usual Chinese dinner.MV5BNzQ1OWM1NmEtYmM5Ni00MDY2LTg1YTAtM2U3MGJiNTg1YWRiXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyODUxNTkwMzE@._V1_A great follow to last years Christmas story, and another great episode in The Smith’s Christmas saga.

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: AMERICAN DAD – THE CHRISTMAS EPISODES – PART 3

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CAST (voices)

Seth MacFarlane (Ted)
Wendy Schaal (Small Soldiers)
Scott Grimes (Critters)
Rachael MacFarlane (The Batman)
Dee Bradley Baker (Son of Batman)
Eddie Kaye Thomas (Carrie 2)
Jeff Fischer (Jennifer’s Body)

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NINETY NORTH, ZERO WEST

GUEST CAST

Daran Norris (Veronica Mars)

3The episode opens with children working in a mine as one of then discovers an egg-shaped gemstone. It is taken to Santa, who gloats about having one of the stones he needs. Meanwhile, Christmas Eve finds the Smith home decked out for the holiday, but the family members have been replaced with dummies and the actual family is in the basement preparing to go into stasis chambers to hide from Santa, as well as other holiday mischief that has occurred previously. As Jeff goes into stasis first, the family finds that Steve has placed his dummy in his chamber and vanished outside. They discover through Klaus’ inspection of Steve’s browser history that he has taken off to ride a Christmas train. As they set off in pursuit, Roger activates the booby-trapped Jeff figure, sending his chamber off into the sewer to be dumped in the ocean.4Arriving too late to stop the ride, they are dismayed when it returns empty and the parents have seemingly forgotten about their children. They find that candy canes given to the parents have drugged them. As they fear they won’t discover what happened to the children, an elf that was banned from the North Pole informs them that they have all been kidnapped by Santa. He tries to take them along in a second train, but it smashes into a mountain when the elf’s magic that had been removed fails to open the secret passageway. With one option left to find some Christmas magic to open the passageway, they travel to Baltimore where Jack Smith has given up on being Krampus and has become a bus driver, although he grudgingly agrees to help them. Meanwhile, Steve thinks working in the mine is just a holiday simulation of digging coal until he observes a boy collapse and is dumped into a crevasse. Trying to escape, he runs into Santa who at first believes he is there to stop his plot. When he comes to understand that it was simply chance that brought Steve to him, he orders his henchman to cut Steve’s throat with an ice skate but he is saved by the timely arrival of the family. They are quickly captured as well, but the arrival of a second stone puts Santa in the mood to toy with them, offering their freedom, until their indifference to his scheme results in orders to capture them again.2Santa details his plan to harness the powers of a slain Sumerian giant in order to become all-powerful by placing the stones back into the eyes of its stone remains. However, his plan backfires when the giant is reawakened, and sucks in much of the North Pole, including Santa himself. Trying to escape in one of the trains, Steve’s flat refusal to have any Christmas spirit only powers the train in reverse, toward the giant. His strong negative feelings soon propel the train at enough speed to sever the head from the giant, saving everyone. As the family celebrates having yet another of their unusual holidays which have become a tradition of their own, they set off with the surviving children as Jack/Krampus decides to stay behind and take over Santa’s castle. As the camera pans over the wreckage of the North Pole, Santa’s gloved hand is seen grasping the opening of the giant’s torso as he works his way free. 51Ninety North, Zero West is a worthy addition to American Dad’s list of Christmas entries that acts as another strong notch in the quality of this current season. Some great groundwork is set up here for the future of their holiday installments and it’s simply impressive that they’ve managed to mine so much out of the material at this point. This is the perfect Xmas gift from American Dad! to its audience.

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: AMERICAN DAD – THE CHRISTMAS EPISODES – PART 1

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CAST (voices)

Seth MacFarlane (Ted)
Wendy Schaal (Small Soldiers)
Scott Grimes (Critters)
Rachael MacFarlane (The Batman)
Dee Bradley Baker (Son of Batman)
Eddie Kaye Thomas (Carrie 2)
Patrick Stewart (Star Trek: TNG)
Jeff Fischer (Jennifer’s Body)
Curtis Armstrong (Return to The Batcave)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)

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THE BEST CHRISTMAS STORY NEVER

Guest voices
Lisa Kudrow (Easy A)
The episode begins with the family in the town square. Roger is horribly depressed and drunk complaining that since landing on Earth sixty years ago he’s accomplished almost nothing; Stan, however, is overjoyed until he finds out that the Christmas tree has been banned due to its religious nature. He is further dismayed when more signs of secularism occur–the clerks at the mall aren’t allowed to say “Merry Christmas” and the town goes so far as to rename the annual attacker, the Christmas Rapist, the “Holiday Rapist.” Stan blames the whole thing on Jane Fonda–his logic being that her going to North Vietnam revitalized the “dying” hippie movement and that, since yesterday’s hippies grew up to be modern liberals, modern liberalism is her fault. Stan finally becomes so enraged that he destroys the tree and the presents; the kids and Roger are horribly sad and Francine is so mad she banishes him to the couch.
That night, Stan is visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past (a former Tooth Fairy named Michelle) who takes him back to 1970. Stan, however, runs away from her in an effort to find Jane Fonda so he can assassinate her thus changing the future. The Ghost, unsure where he has gone, goes back to the present to get Francine; the two then return to the past to find Stan.
Stan has tracked Fonda down to the set of Klute where he finds out that Donald Sutherland was the one who led her to politics and changes his plan to assassinate him instead. He finds Sutherland at a Hollywood party where he happens to meet Martin Scorsese and convinces him to give up drugs. Francine and Michelle then grab him and bring him back to the present where they are shocked to discover the street desolate with Soviet tanks patrolling. They eventually figure out what has happened–by getting Scorsese off drugs they stopped him from ever making the movie Taxi Driver; as a result John Hinckley, Jr. never saw Jodie Foster in the movie and became obsessed with her which resulted in him never trying to assassinate Ronald Reagan. This dented his popularity in the 1984 election as the near-death experience made him appear stronger; in the new reality he thus lost to Walter Mondale who then surrendered the country to the Soviet Union just 47 days into his Presidency. The group then goes back to attempt to fix what Stan did.
Stan decides to make the movie himself; however, he quickly alienates Robert De Niro and decides to make the movie with John Wayne instead. Stan and Francine follow Hinckley into a movie theater and watch the new Taxi Driver behind him. After the movie is over, Stan asks Hinckley what he thought of the movie and he says it was alright. Francine then asks him if he thinks Jodie Foster is attractive and he reacts very badly to this pointing out that she is 12-years-old. This means that the future remains unchanged. The Ghost then transports them to March 30, 1981, and tells Stan that the only way to fix the future is if he shoots Reagan instead. Stan is shocked; he is unable to shoot his favorite president. Francine reminds him how much he wanted Christmas and points out that it wouldn’t exist at all if the Soviets ruled; Stan replies that he doesn’t care about trees and presents but would be happy as long as he had Francine and the kids. The Ghost then informs him that in the alternate future Francine and Stan may never meet meaning also that Steve and Hayley won’t exist. Stan then decides that he must shoot Reagan and shoots him. Just as he does, the two suddenly transport back into their bed on Christmas morning, 2006.
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The two are relieved to find out that history is back to normal and, after fixing the presents and tree, the family enjoys a happy Christmas. The Ghost appears to Stan one last time to give him a gift for saving her job–a brand new gun she says she bought the previous night. When Stan asks how that is possible, as the Brady Bill requires a week long waiting period, she informs him that he only shot Reagan and not Brady meaning that buying guns is incredibly easy. Stan rejoices that he changed the future for the better (in his own eyes) and says “this is the best Christmas ever.” In a subplot, Stan buys a “Best of Disco” cassette for Roger. When he goes back in time to 1970, the tape falls out of his jacket and is found by Roger. Playing it to executives, Roger becomes fabulously wealthy by inventing the Disco era. However, in 1981, disco becomes “dead” and Roger loses everything. Upon returning to the future, Roger still talks of his time as the inventor of disco and the episode ends with that timeline still in effect.
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A great first Christmas episode for American Dad, Lisa Kudrow is brilliant thou when her character returns she does not voice it.

 THE MOST ADEQUATE CHRISTMAS EVER

Guest Voices
Paget Brewster (Now You Know)
John DiMaggio (Futurama)
J.K. Simmons (Burn After Reading)
Jane Lynch (Role Models)
Michelle
After Stan comes home from another dangerous mission, he finds that his family has decked the halls with boughs of holly and donned themselves with gay apparel, but just not to his satisfaction. He demands a grander Christmas starting with the search of a bigger and better tree in the forest. When his family has had enough, Stan powers on by himself, finds the perfect tree and meets an untimely end when it falls on him.
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His soul ends up in Limbo, where an ice cream man tells him that he will get a ride to either Heaven or Hell. However, Stan believes that it’s not his time and demands a second chance. Reluctantly, the ice cream man takes him to a courthouse where he can prove he deserves one. Unfortunately, Stan is assigned to Michelle, a lawyer who has a bad relationship with her father, the judge, and didn’t earn her wings. The prosecution is Scott LaRose, who has won many cases, allowing him to become smaller and cuter. Scott proves that Stan does not deserve a second chance because of his stubborn and arrogant ego, as evidenced when he took a pregnant Francine to Africa against their doctor’s advice;a baboon help her give birth to Hayley. Michelle tries exonerating Stan by showing him accepting Steve’s advice to give his kidney to a homeless man. However, Scott shows the rest of the clip, revealing that it was all a dream. Stan’s appeal for resurrection is denied. Worse, Michelle informs him that his family, except Roger, will die of hypothermia because he took the car keys.
 With the court refusing to at least help his family, Stan pulls out his gun, only to learn that Earthly weapons have no power in Limbo. Therefore, he grabs a Heaven gun, which can kill anyone and kidnaps Michelle to takes him directly to God. Stealing a chariot and evading the Archangels, they make it to Heaven. Michelle tries sneaking Stan in as a German man but when he speaks English, it rouses St. Peter’s suspicions. When it seemed like Michelle turns on Stan, she knocks out St. Peter to help Stan. They then sneak into God’s mansion, where Jesus is having his annual birthday. While Michelle mingles amongst the crowd, having never received an invitation.
Stan eventually finds God’s study and pleads Him to save his family. God refuses his plea, so Stan puts the Heaven gun to his head. God asks Stan if he knows better than the Almighty, to which Stan admits that he doesn’t and consents to God’s judgement. God then reveals that this was all a test for Stan to show some humility and agrees to send him back to Earth, all because it’s Jesus’ birthday. Stan thanks God, before requesting that He give Michelle her wings in gratitude. Then suddenly, God then takes the Heaven gun and shoots Stan in the head. Next thing he knows, Stan is back at the beginning of the episode. Using the lessons he’s learned in Limbo, Stan agrees with his family that all their decoration are perfects. As the Smith family hugs, Roger notices Michelle fly down to watch.

American Dad Christmas episodes are always a highlight to watch, Paget Brewster takes over from Lisa Kudrow from this point on, it’s nice that there’s some continuity between the xmas episodes.

RAPTURE’S DELIGHT

Guest Voices
Paget Brewster (Now You Know)
Will Forte (The Lego Movie)
Andy Samberg (Friends With Benefits)
Martin Mull (Sabrina: The Teenage Witch)
Tom Kenny (The Batman)
Skyler Gisondo (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Stan is upset when he cannot find his family a good seat for a standing-room only Christmas Day church service. To allieviate this, Francine takes him to have sex with her in the closet. When they come out, everybody in the church has gone, with their clothes left behind. Upon exiting the church, Stan discovers that he, Roger, and Francine are among those left on Earth during the Rapture (Stan and Francine because they had sex in a holy place, and Roger because he wasn’t human to begin with), while Hayley and Steve have ascended. Francine becomes upset when Stan cares more about ascending into Heaven than being with her and leaves him; she soon meets Jesus Christ in his second coming and becomes his girlfriend.
Seven years pass and the war between Jesus and the Anti-Christ reduces the world to a post-apocalyptic wasteland, with the human race on the brink of extinction. The survivors have degenerated into savage bikers, militiamen, and prostitutes. Jesus travels by motorcycle to the war-torn city of Denver, Colorado and meets in a local bar with Stan, who has lost an eye and replaced one hand with a blade. Jesus convinces him to help rescue Francine, who has recently been captured by the Anti-Christ. Stan agrees to do so on the grounds that Jesus send him to Heaven afterwards. On their mission, they meet up with Roger, who for the past seven years has been trying to repair his spaceship in order to return to his home planet and escape the war. They get to the United Nations Building, where they find Francine bound in a manger.
Stan and Jesus meet with the Anti-Christ, depicted as an effeminate villain parodying The Riddler who claims to be the opposite of Jesus. When he tries to trap them, the container breaks apart; being the opposite of Jesus, he is a bad carpenter. After a drawn-out battle, Jesus jumps onto Anti’s back and breaks his neck. Anti survives and attempts to shoot Jesus but Stan takes the bullet for him, giving Jesus enough time to throw a cross-shaped shuriken into the Anti-Christ’s head, killing him. When Francine tears Stan’s shirt away to look at the wound, she sees that he has always kept their wedding rings, and he admits that he had in fact come to save Francine. He activates a bomb to destroy the lair and end the war once and for all. Francine tries to rescue him but Stan asks her to leave lest the explosion kill her too. Stan dies in the blast and is sent to heaven. When Michelle guides him to his own “personalized heaven”, Stan enters his home just the way it was at the beginning of the episode, the only difference being Klaus’ dead fish body being mounted on a plaque hanging on the wall.
American Dad’s version of the rapture is one of the best AD episodes of all time. Religious groups kicked off but it’s there lost.

FOR WHOM THE SLEIGH BELL TOLLS

Guest Voices
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
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Stan Smith continues to reject the idea that Jeff Fischer is now a member of the family despite Francine’s suggestion that he should be included in their family traditions. Despite Francine’s objections, Stan gives Steve an Ak-47 assault rifle for Christmas and Steve accidentally shoots a mall Santa. Steve, in turn, is shattered emotionally and swears never to pick up a weapon again. Meanwhile, Roger goes off in search of the strongest whiskey possible and he is directed to a moonshiner in the Chimdale Mountains, named Bob Todd, who teaches him his ways.
Stan convinces Steve to hide the body from Francine and try to find out whom the Santa was with his fingerprint, but his DNA is not in the CIA database. Stan dismisses this and doesn’t investigate further. Francine quickly discovers the body, and as the family buries the body; she chastises them for not letting her cut off the hands and smash the teeth out; much to their chagrin. The next day they receive threatening letters, stating that someone knows what they did and that they will be punished. They watch the news and discover that no one really feels like it is Christmas, as if someone killed Santa. Feeling a little doubt they then dig up the body and discover it is gone. When an elf appears and tells them that it was actually the real Santa that they buried and that he was recovered and rejuvenated in a Star Wars Bacta Tank at the North Pole and vows vengeance on the Smiths, they decide to take refuge with Roger in the moonshiner’s cabin where Bob Todd lives. Jeff arrives to spend the holiday with Hayley, much to Stan’s displeasure. However, Santa soon arrives since Jeff wrote a letter telling him where they would be staying. Bob Todd reveals that his airplane-house is also an armory, which includes an M60 machine gun, two RPKs and an M16 assault rifle, to fend off an attack of endless waves of armed elves, flying reindeer, and an enormous snowman (reminiscent of a Cave Troll from Lord Of The Rings) led by Santa. Francine snaps Steve out of his fears, ordering him to “pick up a gun this instant and send these toy makers to Hell!” and the family proceeds to defend themselves.
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Santa tries to convince Jeff to abandon the Smiths, recognizing that he was not involved in their plot to hide his body, and by offering a relic from The Golden Compass. Jeff walks to Santa’s side, but then turns on him and is able to pull Stan who was injured to safety. While Jeff takes care of Stan; Jeff says he thinks Stan is an ass. But, the two agree on their love for Hayley, causing Stan to see Jeff as a true member of the family. The family is almost overrun, until Santa and his army are forced to retreat because they only had until Christmas morning to get vengeance. Santa disappears, leaving behind a letter warning them that he will return next year to take his revenge and kill them, while the Smith family realizes that they have found a new Christmas tradition.
Another episode that shows American Dad knows how to do Christmas specials well. The fight against Santa and his elves was EPIC!.

SEASON’S BEATINGS

Guest Voices
Andy Samberg (Friends With Benefits)
Martin Mull (Sabrina: The Teenage Witch)
Stan hears of the church putting on the story of Christ at the mall and rushes to get the lead role, only to be told by Father Donovan that he is too fat. He is instead given the role of Santa Claus but when he finds out the Roger got the role of Christ attacks and beats him senseless. Shocked at the attack, church leaders around the world universally agree to kick Stan out of all religion. When Stan asks if there is any way to stay in the church, he is told it is almost impossible, given that the only three acceptable ways are to kill the anti-Christ, discover the Holy Grail, or donate large sums of money.Meanwhile, Jeff tries to talk Hayley into adopting a child. Hayley says no but Jeff adopts a child anyways and names him Nemo. Hayley at first is angry but is quickly charmed by Nemo. While Stan is watching Nemo, he discovers he bears the numerals 666 which is considered the mark of the beast and is convinced the child is the Anti-Christ. Stan gets Father Donovan to come see the marking and they agree to go to the orphanage where Nemo came from only to find it burned to the ground. as they search the remains of the orphanage, Father Donovan discovers Nemo’s birth papers. Nemo senses the Father’s discovery and causes the orphanage to collapse on him, severing his legs. Father Donovan is able to share that Nemo is indeed the son of Satan before he dies.
Stan, Roger and Jeff travel to the Vatican to obtain a set of sacred daggers to kill the anti-Christ. Although Stan is barred from entering, Roger and Jeff are able to enter the catacombs to search. Nemo sees them through the eyes of a rat and causes the catacombs to flood, washing Jeff away. Roger climbs out and finds the daggers and escapes with them after attacking a Cardinal. Roger and Stan return home to discover Francine putting up Christmas lights while a possessed Steve scampers around. When Stan tells Hayley that they need to perform a ritual killing of Nemo, she fights to protect him and ends up shooting Stan. Stan awakes in the hospital and finds everything is back to normal. He was accepted back into his church when it tuned out that Roger’s eggnog “pimp” cup was really the Holy Grail. Nemo was sent off to Alaska to be raised by Sarah Palin and become the future Anti-Christ.
A Strange but fun Christmas episode, another American Dad Classic.

 MINSTREL KRAMPUS

GUEST (VOICES)
Danny Glover (Earthsea)
 As the holidays approach, Steve becomes a brat and Stan takes him to see his grandfather to be scared straight. Grandpa Jack tells him the story of Krampus, who punishes the naughty children at Christmas and Steve refuses to buy into it, as Jack tells how he captured the Krampus and keeps it in a copper pot in the basement. Steve starts opening his gifts early and Stan tries to hide them in the basement. There, he is called by the Krampus who talks him into being let out to punish Steve, but he kidnaps him instead and demands Jack so he can extract revenge. Stan tells his father what he did to Jack’s horror as he promises to use his CIA connections to get him out. Instead, Jack takes off.
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In the Krampus’ Castle in Bavaria, Steve is imprisoned to his surprise and spanked. Stan talks to Roger who brings up Santa, but Stan is nervous about confronting Santa after their last encounter. Despite this, they set off to the North Pole and are captured. Santa beats Stan as he tells what happened. Santa only agrees to help if they can kill Krampus and also promises to take him off the naughty list. At the Krampus’ lair, the household goods try to convince Steve that Krampus only punishes naughty children because he cares for their well-being. Steve realizes that it is the truth and discovers that the Krampus actually only intended to beat Jack to save him from being bad, but was captured in a moment of carelessness while eating strudel.Meanwhile, Hayley goes Christmas shopping but needs money. She goes to see Roger for a loan but he refuses her and gives her the help-wanted section where she spots a job at the airport. There, she bumps into Jack trying to flee as he tries to figure out why he should help the family. She gets the message through to him and he heads to Bavaria to save Steve. Santa and Stan arrive and take on the Krampus, killing the household items. As Steve tries to stop him, Santa shoots Krampus and finishes him off before turning the gun on Stan and Steve as he reveals himself to be the true bad guy due to being a partner in the toy business. As Santa tries to shoot Stan, Jack intervenes and saves Stan, injuring Santa who flees with his elves. As Jack lays dying, his and the Krampus’ blood intermingles, allowing Jack to become the new Krampus to punish naughty children.’
American Dad’s version of the Krampus myth, this episode aired a year late due to shootings in America but it was worth the wait. The ending was brilliant.

DREAMING OF A WHITE PORSCHE CHRISTMAS

Guest Voices
Peter MacNicol (Ghostbusters 2)
The family goes to the mall to get their picture taken for the family Christmas party invitation and Stan half-heartedly shops, just picking up whatever he can grab. When Francine points out that she is wearing a sweater that matches the one he picked out, he has to return it. When he bumps into Principal Lewis, he insists he come to the party since his antics excite everyone. When Stan is ignored at the party except for running errands, he wishes he had Lewis’ life while placing the angel on the tree.When he wakes up the next morning, he finds that his wish has come true although Roger is still his companion, apparently due to touching Stan’s bottom at the moment of the wish. He starts to enjoy his new life but decides he needs to consult with Lewis to get an idea of how to further enjoy it. But when they find Lewis, they discover that he has inherited the family. This causes Stan distress and he tries to wish things back without luck. Roger speculates that he might need to learn a lesson first but Stan refuses to be that patient and confronts the family, although they don’t recognize him as their dad and husband. When Lewis reveals that he has also become a CIA agent, Stan takes his gun from his own accustomed place and takes the family back to his home, holding them at gunpoint.
As the CIA arrive, Stan desperately tries to get the family to remember him. Francine feigns remembering to get them turned loose and they go free to the CIA, who then lob gas at Stan. He tries to flee, but is caught when leaping off of a bridge and is riddled with bullets. Having apparently learned his lesson, an angel meets Stan and takes him to an ideal dream family that is not his own. Stan realizes that things are not correct and calls for his angel. He reveals that the dream family is his real family and the one he knows was given to his as punishment. When he wants to return to the family he knows, he is rejected. Opening gifts with the family, he finds he is still a bad father and when Roger arrives without knowing who he is, he tries to convince him and eventually succeeds in winning him over by telling him about his crazy habits. To try to reverse the wish, he has Roger place the angel on the tree and make a wish, but gets a Porsche instead. Stan tries to get the family to wish he wasn’t around, but fails. Gazing at a wine glass that looks similar to what Francine wanted, he makes note of a small dirty spot and finds that his new wife hates her cleaning being criticized. He gets her to wish they weren’t married and then places the angel on the tree, allowing Stan to go back to the family he knows, although Snot tries to pass himself off as a family member as well without luck.
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The latest American Dad they decide to do there version of It’s a wonderful Life with a few neat twists. It once again proves American Dad knows how to celebrate Christmas and makes people look forward to the next one.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: AMERICAN DAD – HALLOWEEN EPISODES

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MAIN CAST

Seth McFarlane (Family Guy)
Wendy Schaal (Small Soldiers)
Scott Grimes (Critters)
Rachael MacFarlane (The Batman)
Dee Bradley Baker (The Powerpuff Girls)
Curtis Armstrong (New Girl)
Daisuke Suzuki (The Hillz)

GUEST CAST

Sandra Oh (Rabbit Hole)
Lisa Edelstein (The Doors)

BEST LITTLE HORROR HOUSE IN LANGLEY FALLS

After years of hosting the scariest haunted house in the neighborhood for years, Stan finds himself outdone by Buckle. Francine makes things worse when she finds herself returning and declares that it is impossible to beat him. Depressed, Stan goes to Roger for advice and Roger suggests he use his CIA influence to get real body parts and instruments. Stan decides to pull in five of the most dangerous serial murderers in the area. However, the killers sitting in their cell fails to scare anyone so Roger decides to make them scarier. First he rips off Francine’s costume in front of them, leaving her in her underwear and then sets them loose; forcing Stan, Francine, Roger and Klaus to take cover in the kitchen. Stan apologizes for getting them into the mess and Francine admits she should have been more supportive.
Meanwhile, Steve, Barry and Snot arrive at Toshi’s house to go trick or treating, but find Toshi refuses to wear the Samurai costume his mother got him. Mrs. Yoshida asks Steve if they would mind taking Akiko with them and Steve is smitten. Toshi allows them to go out with the condition that they have Akiko back by sundown. They flee to the Langley Falls when they find out Toshi is looking for them. Taking refuge in a cave under the falls, Steve starts to move in on Akiko until Toshi bursts in and chases him to Vince Chung’s Halloween party where he tells Toshi he is smothering his sister. Toshi agrees and leaves them together where Akiko admits she has a crush on another boy named Doug. As the serial killer burst into the kitchen, Stan and others flee through the woods to a locked factory where they are rescued when Toshi arrives and kills the serial killers with his katana, leaving Roger to take home one of the killer’s head.
 I enjoyed Roger trying  to egg the serial killers on, Stan’s entreaties to the crowd drawing the crowd into the house, and Francine’s disgust with the whole thing. The Steve and Akiko storyline was less amusing about it but it did conclude with Toshi sending the holiday off in style, by chopping all of the serial killers in two. This was one of  the strongest American Dad ever.
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 POLTERGASM

After an unsatisfactory bout of sex for Francine, the lights go out and she hears Hayley making out with her new sex-friend Mauricio. As they leave, a picture drops off the wall which Francine dismisses and returns, and it bursts into flame as she walks away. Klaus heads out for a conference while Roger plays games with Steve. Roger notes that he has observed strange happenings and points out a game hovering over their head. They set up cameras and observe the house, spotting a spirit of Francine on the washing machine which turns demonic before their eyes as it lunges toward the camera.
Roger and Steve share their findings with the family, including a skeptical Stan until he is physically attacked. Roger’s persona of Ruby Zeldastein arrives just as Mauricio is sucked into a vortex by the spirit. Ruby explains that the spirit is born out of Francine’s sexual frustration. Stan is doubtful and Francine tries to back him up but admits she isn’t completely satisfied and he eventually realizes the truth. Tracing things back in her memory, she realizes she faked things for the previous two years which upsets Stan. Trying to rescue Mauricio, the spirit drags him back. Ruby tells them that the spirit won’t be satisfied until Francine is. Stan is in a funk and has trouble dealing with things until he hits on having Hayley become his sex coach. Hayley and the rest of the family prepares him by teaching him about foreplay and prepping the bedroom to reenact their anniversary suite. When the kids awake the next day, they find the house back to normal and Francine and Stan both feel satisfied, although Hayley is suspicious that Mauricio didn’t return as the house dissolves into a vision from Hell around them. Determined to get Francine to orgasm, Ruby fills Stan full of Mexican Viagra although it still doesn’t work and Francine admits that what they needs is for Stan to slow down rather than rush. They slowly work together until Francine orgasms, returning things to normal and freeing Mauricio. At the conference hotel, Klaus hurts his back watching the local information channel, leaving him stuck for hours watching the same clips over and over.
One my favorite Halloween  shows The situation calls for several hilarious beats and turns in a highly entertaining episode.
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