Back in November, right after the writer’s strike began, it was revealed that Fox would continue production on new episodes of the animated series Family Guy without creator/executive producer/writer/voice actor Seth Macfarlane’s approval. Macfarlane said that they had a couple of episodes in various stages of completion, but that “it would be a dick move” if Fox were to continue production on them without him.
Fox announced that they produced another new episode of the show, “Back to the Woods” scheduled for broadcast on February 17. Fox already aired a fresh episode of the show “McStroke” earlier this month.
Family Guy "McStroke" (Fox)
It was unclear how many episodes Fox would be able to produce, but many viewers (myself included) figured at the end of December that we would be waiting a while for new episodes of Family Guy. Apparently the network squeezed everything they could out of what had been completed, resulting in a few extra episodes, albeit sub-par.
“Back to the Woods’ will also mark the return of actor James Woods, who played himself in a 2005 episode of the show.
According to Fox, the plotline will follow Woods as he returns to Quahog after being locked in a crate at the end of his last appearance to seek revenge against Peter. “First, James steals Peter’s identity and moves in as head of the Griffin household. Then, Peter goes out and ruins James’ career and image.”
Some reviews took the last episode to task for poor execution, not surprising considering the show can’t do rewrites without the writing staff, and Macfarlane is not giving his input. While the new episode sounds plot-heavy based on the synopsis, we will have to wait and see whether they pull it off or if is just a waste of James Woods’ talent.
Fox angered Macfarlane and a number of the show’s fans by producing the new episodes. When the strike gets resolved soon (please) it remains to be seen how the relationship between the parties holds up.