Season Analysis: In some corners of the Internet, latter-day Family Guy really gets knocked around.  But I remain an apologist of the present version of the show, although, for the most part, Season 10 did not offer the best representation of what the show still has to offer.

“Back to the Pilot”

A lot of TV shows look very different when compared to their pilot episodes, animated shows more so than most.  But not too many shows have utilized a time-travel plot to have their characters travel back to the time of the pilot.  Some shows have revisited their pilots from new angles, but none (that I am aware) have used the strategy employed by Family Guy in which the characters notice and comment on the cruder animation, continuity gaps, and other gaffes.  FG’s main hook is its trove of cultural references, and in later years, those references have become self-referential, and those fourth-wall breaking gags, while occasionally funny, have usually been a little too knowing and a little too winking.  But by actually placing its characters in a situation in which it would be logical (relatively speaking) for them to make such references, FG demonstrated exactly the sort of self-awareness that a show should have ten seasons into its run.  Also, the sequence of the dozens of Brian’s and Stewie’s attempting to stop their previous selves from doing whatever it was they were about to do was just a really awesome set piece.

Best Cutaway Gag of the Season: “The end of a depressing 1970’s sci-fi movie starring a guy in a turtleneck” (from “Stewie Goes for a Drive”)

Taking its visual cues mainly from Logan’s Run, this dystopian vision was an original creepy and thought-provoking vision all on its own.

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