The 21st century has been filled with some fantastic comedy series. But few have had the fame or the longevity of Family Guy. The Seth MacFarlane animated sitcom has managed to maintain an audience since its debut in 1999. Throughout that time, it’s delivered countless controversial jokes, outrageous moments, and clever storylines.
That’s not to say every episode is a winner. With over 300 of them, there’s bound to be some that are underwhelming. Yet when the show is at its best, few comedies can match it. And it’s certainly at the top of its game during the following episodes.
10 Da Boom (8.3)
Post-apocalyptic narratives are often seen in video games – both good and bad ones – but it’s not a typical storyline for an animated sitcom. Yet that’s exactly the sort of tale Family Guy tells in “Da Boom.” It all begins when Y2K causes a nuclear holocaust, which destroys most of Quahog and mutates many of its residents. However, the Griffin family remains unharmed, and they have to make a new life in what’s left of the world.
Not only does the episode have a unique premise, but it also includes some great jokes. The most notable being the first-ever Chicken fight, which would become one of the show’s most popular running gags.
9 Yug Ylimaf (8.4)
Episodes that focus on Brian and Stewie tend to be good, and “Yug Ylimaf” is no exception. During it, Brian breaks Stewie’s time machine, which makes time itself move backward. It’s then up to the duo to solve the issue before Stewie is unborn.
Family Guy has always excelled at self-referential humor, and there’s plenty of it in this episode. It occurs naturally too, as some of the show’s classic scenes are revisited as the world goes back in time. Yet, the smartest joke in the episode is the title, which is ‘Family Guy’ spelled backward.
8 Lois Kills Stewie (8.4)
During the early seasons of the show, Stewie frequently talks about killing Lois. Well, during a two-parter in season six, he tries to do just that. Unfortunately for him, Lois survives, and in this second part, he’s on the run. However, the baby doesn’t just hide; instead, he takes over the world.
The episode works best in tandem with its predecessor, but it’s a good piece of television regardless. Some of its most memorable moments include an American Dad cameo and the brilliantly-crafted fight scene at the end – which would fit into many highly-rated action movies.
7 Meet The Quagmires (8.4)
“Meet the Quagmires” is the rare time travel episode that doesn’t involve Stewie’s time machine. Alternatively, Peter gets Death to send him back to his youth for one night to enjoy being single again. As often with Peter’s ideas, it goes terribly wrong as once he gets back to the present, everything has changed. The thing that upsets him the most is that Lois is no longer his wife; she’s married to Quagmire instead.
Family Guy doesn’t tend to focus on delivering life lessons. Yet, the message this episode gives about appreciating one’s life is powerful. And it’s complemented by a flurry of ’80s references and a classic cutaway featuring the Jetsons.
6 Stewie Kills Lois (8.4)
Few episodes of Family Guy are as captivating as “Stewie Kills Lois.” Partway through, it subverts viewers’ expectations by (seemingly) killing off a main character. It’s such an uncharacteristic move by the animated sitcom that it makes viewers interested in what happens next. As the title suggests, Lois is the one to fall, and the rest of the episode is about the others finding out who did it.
Despite the storyline being about a significant death, Family Guy still manages to deliver some laughs. Like when Peter claims that Philip Seymour Hoffman starred in the Titanic, and not Kate Winslet.
5 The Simpsons Guy (8.4)
Ever since Family Guy first aired, people have compared the series with The Simpsons. It’s understandable as the sitcoms have many similarities. For instance, they both revolve around the lives of a dysfunctional American family. Two families, which finally come together in “The Simpsons Guy.”
While the plotline is a little contrived, seeing the characters of both worlds interact is worth it. Combinations like Stewie and Bart, in particular, share great chemistry. Overall, it’s a solid episode that deserves to be considered among both Family Guy and The Simpsons’ best.
4 PTV (8.6)
Season four’s “PTV” is most known for its incredible musical number featuring Peter, Brian, and Stewie. Through song, the trio takes many shots at the Federal Communications Commission. And the visuals of the music video are as hilarious as the lyrics.
The entire episode is actually about Peter’s distaste for FCC’s restrictions as he creates his own television network. It’s Family Guy at its satirical best as the show exaggerates television censorship, even having the FCC try to hide nudity and foul language in real-life.
3 And Then There Were Fewer (8.6)
The people of Quahog don’t rival the great detectives in history. Yet, in this episode, they have to figure out who’s killing everyone during James Wood’s dinner party.
It’s a classic whodunnit storyline, and the writers execute it perfectly. There’s a flurry of clever red herrings and misdirects throughout the episode. Plus, the final reveal is very satisfying. Thankfully, it’s all done with Family Guy’s signature wit as the life-threatening situation doesn’t stop the characters from being their goofy selves.
2 Back To The Pilot (8.8)
There have been many TV shows, films, and video games that involve time travel. But few of them have included narratives like the one in “Back to the Pilot.” As the name suggests, Brian and Stewie travel back to the first episode in the series. It ends up going badly as Brian heavily alters the timeline by attempting to stop 9/11.
The episode is jam-packed with meta-humor as the show relentlessly makes fun of itself. Comments are made about graphical glitches, Meg’s change in voice actor, and the original Stewie’s drastically different personality.
1 Road To The Multiverse (9.1)
“Road to the Multiverse” is one of the most creative pieces of television ever. It sees Brian and Stewie using the latter’s tech to jump between different parallel universes. Each place they go is so unique, both in its content and sometimes art-style. The various switches in animation make this a very visually impressive episode.
The humor is on point too. Brian and Stewie always share some brilliant banter back-and-forth, and it’s no different in this one. Plus, there are also some comical sight gags throughout. The episode is so popular that it even spawned a video game – a genuinely funny one.