It’s hard to believe it’s been almost nine years since Seth MacFarlane’s second animated show hit TV screens.
After a shaky first season (and inevitable comparisons to Family Guy) American Dad! quickly developed its own style and some perceptive (if overtly liberal) views on American politics.
However, after so long on the air, does this adult animated comedy still have what it takes to shock and delight? The answer is…“sort of”. Volume 8 is definitely a treat for the eyes as red, white and blue-blooded Stan Smith fights to survive a hurricane and explores the world of his imagination.
Visually, the show has never been so inventive and the American Dad! team really push the envelope when the Smith family encounter a singing hot tub. This provides the perfect excuse for a musical episode packed with R&B numbers. Two characters even perform a boy band style song, as the show changes into a full-on music video, complete with ridiculous poses and perfect abs.
The storylines, however, are less inspired. Staunch conservative Stan keeps learning the same lesson about being more liberal and progressive, while his nerdy son Steve continues to have the same disappointing encounters with the opposite sex. The characters have become a bit stale too. Even Roger the sarcastic alien has less of an impact than in previous seasons. He has a few great moments (hunting down frat boys who stole his money) but he generally offers more of the same.
Thankfully, one secondary character returns on impeccable form. Principal Lewis, once an underdeveloped cynical headmaster, has become hilariously unhinged. He never fails to behave disgracefully or give an outrageous excuse for his actions: “I want to apologise for my behaviour at the school the other night. I take allergy medicine and I’m not supposed to drink 14 shots of tequila when I’m on it.”
Overall then, Volume 8 is a bit of a mixed bag, but (predictable storylines aside) it still offers enough to keep fans satisfied.