Our Russell likes his SF Family Guy style.
Russell Lewin, Production Editor
There aren’t many television shows that I watch every episode of, but Family Guy is one. Now into its twelfth season, Seth MacFarlane’s animated comedy series is still maintaining a supremely high standard.
But it’s not science fiction, I hear you cry. Well, you have a point, sort of: Family Guy is not a show that gets coverage in SFX – except when they do one of their Star Wars spoofs. Obviously it’s not intrinsically sci- fi in the way of Doctor Who, Continuum and all the others, but it does have big science fiction elements. I appreciate that these are all part and parcel of its fantastical comedy universe, but I reckon it still deserves some SFX attention!
The biggest sci- fi element in Family Guy is Stewie’s time machine; yes, the time machine built by the baby of the house, the time machine that sends him and close canine pal Brian on amazing adventures. It was first used in season one episode “Mind Over Murder”, when Stewie creates it to avoid painful teething. Later he becomes more ambitious: in season 10’ s “Family Guy Viewer Mail No 2” he uses it to travel back in time to 5 April 1994 to stop Kurt Cobain from killing himself by convincing him to eat lots of Haagen- Dazs ice cream. ( It works, but back in the present Kurt is now morbidly obese.)
In season 12’ s “Chap Stewie” the toddler makes a new version of his time machine to change his conception, so he becomes part of an upper- class British family ( he then tires of this and builds another one to get back to his normal life). In 2015 episode “Stewie, Chris & Brian’s Excellent Adventure” the trio do an extensive history tour and end up on board the doomed Titanic. ( And in “Road To The Multiverse” Stewie creates a remote control that lets them visit various parallel universes.)
What’s great about all this timey- wimey madness is that it exemplifies Family Guy’s freewheeling creativity. I’m in awe at the quantity and quality of the show’s gags and love that almost nothing ’s off limits. What an engaging, libertarian, secular, democratic, fun- loving outlook this programme has, in my view, all the best qualities there are, and throwing into the mix that sci- fi staple the time machine is glorious proof of this.
Brilliantly, no one ever comments on the fact that Stewie has this in his room.