TV & Video Review: ‘American Dad! – Volume 4’ (DVD)

After years of The Simpsons' Homer existing unchallenged in his foolhardiness, Seth MacFarlane arrived on the scene. First he brought us Peter Griffin, then Stan Smith. Now Stan's fourth season escapades are permanently captured on DVD.

Stan is a CIA agent that's relatively good at his job despite never actually killing anyone. His wife Francine is a former party girl that epitomizes the empty-headed blonde stereotype. Their children are Haley, a rebellious, tree-hugging teen, and Steve, a leader among nerds. In addition, there's Klaus, a German spy imprisoned in the body of a goldfish, and Roger, an alien with a love of disguises and alcohol.

The first episode of the season was an impressive Bond spoof, featuring a scantily clad Sexpun T'Come (a.k.a. Francine), a human Klaus and Stan as himself. Tearjerker (a.k.a. Roger) plans to make the world's population cry itself to death. The story was unique and an innovation for the series; not to mention it was explosively funny. Other episodes include “Red October Sky,” in which Stan fears Steve is being turned into a Communist by a former KGB agent; “Spring Break-up,” in which Roger becomes the king of spring break and Stan falls for a sexy co-ed; and “Escape from Pearl Bailey,” a plot driven by Steve in which the rest of the family appears once briefly.

Every episode is accompanied by commentary by the directors, animators, voice talent and producers in which they discuss story decisions, character animation and development, mistakes and solutions, and voice decisions. In addition, there are numerous deleted scenes from various episodes and four featurettes, including a table read with the entire voice cast at Comic-Con 2008.

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