Family Guy is an American animated sitcom television series created by Seth MacFarlane for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series centers on the Griffins, a family consisting of parents Peter and Lois; their children, Meg, Chris, and Stewie; and their anthropomorphic pet dog, Brian. The show is set in the fictional city of Quahog, Rhode Island, and exhibits much of its surreal & dark humor in the form of metafictional cutaway gags that often lampoon American culture.
The family was conceived by MacFarlane after developing two animated films, The Life of Larry and Larry & Steve. MacFarlane redesigned the films’ protagonist, Larry, and his dog, Steve, and renamed them Peter and Brian, respectively. MacFarlane pitched a seven-minute pilot to Fox in 1998, and the show was greenlit and began production. Shortly after the third season of Family Guy had aired in 2002, Fox canceled the series with one episode left unaired. Adult Swim aired that episode in 2003, finishing the series’ original run. However, favorable DVD sales and high ratings for syndicated reruns on Adult Swim convinced the network to renew the show in 2004 for a fourth season, which began airing on May 1, 2005.
Since its debut on January 31, 1999, 339 episodes of Family Guy have been broadcast. Its eighteenth season began on September 29, 2019. The show has been widely acclaimed, prompting Family Guy to be nominated for 12 Primetime Emmy Awards and 11 Annie Awards, and has won three of each. In 2009, it was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series, the first time an animated series was nominated for the award since The Flintstones in 1961. Family Guy has also received criticism, including unfavorable comparisons to The Simpsons.
Many tie-in media have been released, including Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story, a straight-to-DVD special released in 2005; Family Guy: Live in Vegas, a soundtrack-DVD combo released in 2005, featuring music from the show as well as original music created by MacFarlane and Walter Murphy; a video game and pinball machine, released in 2006 and 2007, respectively; since 2005, six books published by Harper Adult based on the Family Guy universe; and Laugh It Up, Fuzzball: The Family Guy Trilogy (2010), a series of parodies of the original Star Wars trilogy. In 2008, MacFarlane confirmed that the cast was interested in producing a feature film and that he was working on a story for a film adaptation.
A spin-off series, The Cleveland Show, featuring Cleveland Brown, aired from September 27, 2009, to May 19, 2013. “The Simpsons Guy”, a crossover episode with The Simpsons, aired on September 28, 2014. Family Guy is a joint production by Fuzzy Door Productions and 20th Century Fox Television and syndicated by 20th Television. In 2013, TV Guide ranked Family Guy the ninth Greatest TV Cartoon of All Time.
On February 12, 2019, Fox renewed the series for an eighteenth season, which premiered on September 29, 2019 on Animation Domination.
The show revolves around the adventures of the Griffin family, consisting of father Peter Griffin, a bumbling and clumsy yet well-intentioned blue-collar worker; Lois, a pretty stay-at-home mother and piano teacher who is a member of the wealthy Pewterschmidt family; Meg, their often-bullied teenage daughter who is also constantly ridiculed or ignored by the family; Chris, their awkward teenage son, who is overweight, unintelligent and, in many respects, is simply a younger version of his father; and Stewie, their diabolical infant son of ambiguous sexual orientation who has adult mannerisms and uses stereotypical archvillain phrases. Living with the family is their witty, smoking, martini-swilling, sarcastic, English-speaking anthropomorphic dog Brian, though he is still considered a pet in many ways.
Recurring characters appear alongside the Griffin family. These include the family’s neighbors: sex-crazed airline pilot bachelor Quagmire; African-American deli owner Cleveland and his wife Loretta (later Donna); paraplegic police officer Joe, his wife Bonnie, their son Kevin and their baby daughter Susie; neurotic Jewish pharmacist Mort, his wife Muriel, and their geeky and annoying son Neil; and elderly child molester Herbert. TV news anchors Tom Tucker and Diane Simmons, Asian reporter Tricia Takanawa, and Blaccu-Weather meteorologist Ollie Williams also make frequent appearances. Actor James Woods guest stars as himself in multiple episodes, as did Adam West prior to his death.