Star Wars has remained a cultural phenomenon ever since it was released in 1977. This year, TV networks have joined in the celebration for the legendary flick’s 30th anniversary.
The History Channel aired Star Wars: The Legacy Reveled, looking at the powerful legacy left behind by George Lucas’ sci-fi epic. They also aired Star Wars Tech, which looked at the technology from the series. Adult Swim’s Robot Chicken also joined the fray, forgoing the 15 minute format of their regular show for a half-hour homage to Luke, Han, Darth and Chewie (My favorite part? Admiral Ackbar cereal: “It’s a trap!”).
This Sunday Fox’s Family Guy jumps on the bandwagon, a little late but no worse for wear. The season premiere is a one hour special that has Family Guy’s take on Star Wars: A New Hope, nearly frame for frame. Seriously, some of the shots are spot on replicas of the originals from the film… well, with Brian as Chewbacca, Peter as Han and Chris as Luke.
In typical Family Guy fashion, there are a number of throwaway or “manatee” jokes (courtesy of our friends at South Park), but the jokes in this episode are all Star Wars-centric, and usually very funny. Always the bane of the Griffin family, Meg makes a brief, though memorable, appearance; she is still the butt of everyone’s jokes.
In fact, nearly every character from the Fox series makes an appearance, and I probably missed some, many were just standing in the background of the Mos Eisley Cantina, or trolling around on the Death Star.
The show is stunning in its details, there were a couple of moments I wasn’t even sure I was watching an animated show, save for the cartoon characters walking around. The Death Star has to be seen to be believed, and you can see rivets and flaps on all the ships, it all looks great.
Seth Green, who voices Chris on Family Guy, is also the creator and executive producer of Robot Chicken on Adult Swim. While self aggrandizing television shows usually annoy me, there is a scene in Sunday’s episode that will leave Robot Chicken fans quite happy.
As a whole, Family Guy’s Star Wars special succeeds because it is unfailingly true to the source. It isn’t the funniest episode of the show I have ever seen, but you can watch it two or three times and still get something out of it. Try taking a frame from Sunday’s show and comparing it to a frame from Star Wars… you will see how much effort the writers and animators put into it. The force was definitely with them.