A show that found redemption and resurrection in its late-night cable reruns and DVD sales, Family Guy
was sorely overlooked by Fox network executives who carelessly shuffled the show to and fro in various time slots, never fully allowing the show to develop a loyal audience or a decent marketing campaign like various other cartoon shows that became the cornerstones of the network's eventual success. With the return of new episodes to the airwaves and a fervent cult following solidified, the show is finally getting the recognition it so richly deserves. Live in Vegas
is the warning shot before the show's return to prime time in May of 2005. They're back and raunchier than ever, sparing no expense and leaving no pop culture stone unturned. And without the constraints of network censors, the profanity and heat are turned up to the max, and -- like the South Park
movie -- it's all the better for it. However, the content and delivery are only half of the treasure found here. The lush orchestral arrangements (courtesy of Walter Murphy & His Orchestra
) and the melodies hark back to an era dominated by vocal jazz crooners and the golden age of Broadway musicals, which results in a brilliant yet jarring juxtaposition of raunch and class. The disc also includes a bonus DVD of animated and live material, which is a must-have for any fan of the show. It's a much-needed and welcome return to form for a show whose recognition and time have finally come.