Movie Details

Although poor ratings had compelled the Fox network to cancel its iconoclastic, cutting-edge cartoon series Family Guy at the end of its third season in 2002, the series' astonishing popularity in rerun form on cable's Cartoon Network coupled with the spectacular sales posted by the property's initial DVD release in 2003, prompted Fox to revive the show, with brand new episodes beginning in the spring of 2005. The first of the 14 comeback adventures of the supremely dysfunctional Griffin family is "North By North Quahog," which, in addition to its expected Hitchcockian undertones, manages to find time to skewer Mel Gibson's controversial The Passion of the Christ. In later episodes, the Griffin's family dog, Brian, ends up as a substitute teacher for high-risk kids; dad Peter Griffin swallows a bunch of nickels, goes blind, and accidentally becomes a hero in a story that somehow also accommodates a guest voice appearance by Judd Hirsch; nebbishy neighbor Cleveland goes into "worm turns" mode when he is told that his wife, Loretta, has been fooling around with the libidinous Glen Quagmire; Peter takes an intelligence test and winds up losing custody of his kids (and his wife); Brian shows up as a contestant on "The Bachelorette," while son Chris Griffin is afflicted with a demonic talking pimple. Later, to pay his pharmacy bill, Peter sells daughter Meg to the druggist's son; mom Lois' kleptomania forces the family to take refuge in "Asian Town"; and Lois earns "real money" as a model in her spare time ("And so can you!"); after spending several months marooned on a desert island, Peter finds that he is even more expendable than Tom Hanks; and actor James Woods becomes Peter's very best friend -- and refuses to leave the house. Taking all this into consideration, the season finale, in which Peter and Lois go the Laverne & Shirley route at their local brewery, is as traditionalist as an episode of The Waltons. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi