Best Seasons of Family Guy, Ranked

To many fans of adult animated shows, Family Guy is arguably the best of the bunch. Set in the fictional city of Quahog, the show centers around the Griffin family, consisting of Peter; a blue-collar worker; his wife Lois, a stay-at-home mum; Meg; their teenage daughter, Chris; their dimwitted teenage son, Stewie; their adult-mannered evil son, and Brian; their anthropomorphic pet dog.

Family Guy

Release Date
January 31, 1999


The show currently has 22 seasons, a figure that might discourage new fans from clicking play and seeing what the hype is all about. Thankfully, this is the kind of small screen project that doesn’t punish viewers for hoping in at a random point of the journey. No matter what season one starts from, it won’t take long for them to get an idea of what, And for those only willing to watch the best seasons, here is how they rank, so far.

15 Season 14

Season 14 treats audiences to a major pop culture fiesta. Brian writes a book proposal to George R. R. Martin, Stewie befriends Tom Cruise, a Navy SEAL agent who throws tantrums for not being credited with Bin Laden’s killing, and Quagmire’s history as a K-drama star is revealed. The season also has an impressive celebrity cameo list that includes Kyle Chandler, Joe Buck, Anil Kapoor, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, and Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Using Entertainment to Explore Feelings of Personal Inadequacy

The pop culture arcs are all laudable because they are not only funny, but they also exist to highlight the inadequacies that plague people daily. For example, Stewie only warms up to Tom Cruise after learning that he will grow to become short like the actor. Brian, on the other hand, only manages to come up with a good proposal to George R.R. Martin, after consuming lots of ADHD medication.

Much of the season’s humor also stems from the characters’ recklessness. No matter how many consequences they face, the Griffins will always make more mistakes and Season 14 proves that. Once again, Peter’s drunken antics get so out of hand that officials are forced to raise Quahog’s drinking age to 50. And Brian is dumb enough to become a “Jodie” and sleep with the wife of the Navy SEAL agent, who is still bitter about the lack of recognition.

14 Season 16

Season 16 marks the final appearance of Carrie Fisher and Adam West, following the deaths of the legendary actors. It also marks the return of Alec Sulkin as showrunner. Overall, there are plenty of intriguing plots, including Peter going out of his way to try and win an Emmy, the Griffins’ nanny turning out to be a Belarusian contract killer, Brian accidentally making a racist tweet, and Stewie teaching Brian how to invest in the stock market.

The Importance of Success on the TV Landscape

Among all the topics Family Guy tackles in this particular season, fans will appreciate how it explores the importance of the show’s success, both for the production team and the fans. “Emmy-Winning Episode” serves as a reminder of how the showrunners of different productions usually bait the Television Academy into recognizing their work.

From Peter pretending to be transgender to the Griffins spoofing characters from Breaking Bad, The Sopranos, and Game of Thrones, there is no dull moment. Elsewhere, “Family Guy Through the Years” imagines what life would be like if the show had been on air for 60 years. Thanks to this approach, cultural events of the ‘60s and ‘70s get explored.

13 Season 20

Season 20 marks the first full season in which Cleveland Brown is voiced by YouTube impressionist Arif Zahir, following the departure of Mike Henry from the role. Some of the season’s notable plots include the Griffins covering up a pizza delivery man’s death, Meg falling in love with a gangster, and becoming a getaway driver, and Chris heading to Canada in search of his mysterious girlfriend.

A Slight Dig at the Competition

Apart from offering a wide variety of intriguing storylines, the twentieth season shines the most by mocking FOX and Hulu’s competition. In “HBO-No,” Peter decides to use the HBO Max subscription of his dead uncle, but after watching Game of Thrones, Succession, and Big Little Lies, he isn’t impressed.

The season also mocks Stranger Things and Netflix’s general obsession with the ‘80s. And thanks to the introduction of new characters voiced by Chris Parnell, Jay Pharoah, Peter Macon, and Patton Oswalt, the adult animated series feels as fresh as ever.

12 Season 13

Family Guy and The Simpsons have always been presumed to be rival shows, so a 44-minute crossover between the two animated projects came as a total surprise. Entitled “The Simpsons Guy,” the episode is undoubtedly the highlight of Season 13. In addition to the wild episode, the season also features a fight between Peter and Liam Neeson, Stewie becoming pregnant with Brian’s child, and a time-traveling trip to the Titanic.

Marvelous Action Sequences

The season features some of the most impressive action sequences in the show’s history. The extended fight between Peter Griffin and Homer Simpson in “The Simpsons Guy,” is extremely brutal and entertaining. Additionally, the encounter with Laim Neeson makes for some interesting moments.

All the pop-culture nods are also cleverly done. In an episode that is a testament to Family Guy’s no-holds-barred offensive nature, Jesus confesses that he has never had sex for 2000 years. Peter, Joe, Cleveland, and Quagmire, thus try to help him link up with a woman. The Titanic storyline is creative too, as it involves Stewie and Brian taking Chris on a journey through different periods to make him pass his History test, only to end up stuck on the infamous cruise ship.

11 Season 1

Season 1 lays a strong foundation for what would become one of the greatest television shows. Some of the memorable storylines include Peter receiving a welfare check of $150,000 thanks to a misplaced decimal point, and Meg attending a cult meeting. The season only has seven episodes, making it the shortest in the series. Additionally, it was the only one to feature Lacey Chabert in a voice role before she was replaced by Mila Kunis.

Short and Sweet

Its length, coupled with the fact that it’s the first chapter in the series, makes Season 1 ideal for any potential viewer. New fans are more likely to enjoy the episode, ‘I Never Met the Dead Man.” In it, Peter crashes into the city’s cable satelight while teaching Meg how to drive. Because there is no more TV, he starts suffering from withdrawal symptoms. Elsewhere, Stewie makes a weather-control device to destroy all the world’s broccoli, so that he will no longer be forced to eat it.

10 Season 11

In Season 11, the Griffins make a misguided effort to climb Mount Everest, Lois experiences a mid-life crisis, Quagmire accidentally weds an escort, Brian and Steie get cloned, and Carter Pewterschmidt discovers the cure for cancer. This season also features several holiday storylines, notably Brian’s girlfriends ganging up against him on Valentine’s Day as well as one of Family Guy’s best Christmas episodes, where Peter revises the story of Mary and Joseph.

Justice and Redemption

The themes of justice and redemption remain constant throughout the season. Whether it’s Briana and Stewie trying to stop a Big Pharma conspiracy, or Peter and his buddies hunting down the criminal who shot Joe, there is no shortage of storylines where someone pays for their actions or changes for the better.

Apart from the moral-based plots, the 11th season is reputed for its spoofs. The standout one is the Breaking Bad parody, “Farmer Guy,” where Peter buys a rural farm to escape from Quahog’s rising crime problem, only to end up becoming a meth dealer like Walter White.

9 Season 10

The tenth season has plenty on the menu. Ryan Reynolds shows up and becomes buddies with Peter, the Griffins experience a slight lifestyle change after winning the lottery, Meg dates several people (including Quagmire), Lois kidnaps Stewie’s friend, Quagmire plots with Peter and Joe to kill his sister’s abusive boyfriend, James Woods makes a surprise return, and Stewie time-travels once again.

Violence and Animosity

Season 10 has some of the animated series’ darkest episodes ever. “Screams of Silence: The Story of Brenda Q,” was especially controversial as it depicts domestic violence and a harrowing death. Then there is “Seahorse Seashell Party,” a crossover with American Dad and The Cleveland Show.

While it’s fun seeing the three characters together, the show goes deeper by unveiling a family feud among the Griffins. At some point, Meg snaps at everyone for bullying and issues a lengthy rant, that’s guaranteed to leave the viewer shaking.

8 Season 2

Season 2 kicks off with a bang. Lois inherits a mansion from her dead aunt, Marguerite Pewterschmidt, and Peter later discovers that it was once a brothel frequented by prominent figures like Abraham Lincoln, and Robert E. Lee. In typical Peter fashion, he sells the secret photos to tabloids. There is also a story about a nuclear holocaust and the end of the world, Peter conning the Grant-A-Dream foundation, and many more.

Heavier on Drama than Comedy

The season leans more towards detailed storytelling than laughs, which could be part of the reason why it led to the show’s cancelation, yet it’s still one of the most neatly crafted chapters. Topics such as feminism, body positivity, terminal illness, drug use, geopolitics, and social awkwardness are all explored in detail.

Because of its subject, Season 2 became one of the show’s most controversial seasons. It was listed in PTC’s 2000 “worst prime-time shows for family viewing,” and various parents wrote to FOX, asking the network to cancel the show. More than 20 years later, it’s still here.

7 Season 8

For Season 8, Mark Hentemman, and Steve Callaghan replaced David Goodman and Chris Sheridan as showrunners. Though the season received criticism for its first few episodes, it improved greatly and delivered some of the most memorable storylines.

Some of the key proceedings in this chapter are Brian and Stewie accessing the multiverse using a remote control. Peter converting to Judaism, and Vladimir Putin sending sleeper agents to Quahog in what is a clever parody of The Americans.

Great Visuals and Outstanding Episodes

Season 8 was the first to be animated using Toon Boom Harmony, and because of this decision, the quality improved greatly. Consequently, the show won the Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation. Additionally, the season consists of many of the show’s most critically acclaimed episodes.

Examples are “Road to the Multiverse,” ”Dog Gone,” “Something, Something, Something, Dark Side,” “Extra Large Medium,” “Quagmire’s Dad,” “Brian & Stewie,” and “Partial Terms of Endearment.”

6 Season 7

From Jesus returning and becoming a booze-loving celebrity to Peter blowing up a children’s hospital. Season 7 is packed with controversial moments. The marijuana-themed episode, “420”, even caused the Venezuelan government to ban the animated series from its cable networks. Additionally, the season has a few hold-over episodes from Season 6, which ended prematurely because of the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike.

A Fresh Milestone

Season 7 packs in the jokes by the boatload. Unsurprisingly, it received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series, making Family Guy the first animated show to be recognized in this category since The Flintstones in the ‘60s. Here, the voice work is also some of the best ever heard on the show.

Each of the actors is in top form, but it’s Seth MacFarlane who shines the most. Consequently, he too received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance, specifically for his role as Peter Griffin in the episode, “I Dream of Jesus”.

5 Season 9

The ninth season starts strongly and ends strongly, The series premiere, “And Then There Were Fewer,” lampoons Agatha Christie’s best-selling mystery novel, And Then There Were None by chronicling the search for a killer at James Wood’s mansion. The finale then sees Peter retelling the tale of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. In between, there were many more adventures worthy of any viewer’s time.

Family Guy works because of the numerous cutaway gags, out-of-the-world puns, shocking plots, and witty lines of dialogue. Well, Season 9 gathers all these ingredients in what comes off as a hodgepodge, but still works. There is no effort to reinvent the wheel here. Fans simply get what they are used to.

Music lovers will also appreciate the mix of orchestra and modern pop beats. The Television Academy was quick to acknowledge this and nominated the show for Outstanding Music Composition for a Series,

4 Season 3

In Season 3, Brian gets a well-paying job as a police sniffer dog, The Happy-Go-Lucky Toy Factory is acquired by a tobacco conglomerate, a hurricane devastates Quahog, Lois learns how to fight, and Peter becomes unemployed after his boss dies. The show was canceled after this season, only to make a grand return, thanks to great viewership figures during syndication on Adult Swim.

Because the show had been canceled at the end of Season 2 before being revived, Dan Palladino and Seth MacFarlane really put in extra effort this time. The quality of the jokes is way higher and many of the storylines, like that of Peter losing his job, are relatable. Even though audiences didn’t watch in large numbers when the season first aired, the brilliance was later recognized.

3 Season 5

Season 5 is reputed for its standout episode, “Saving Private Brian,” where Chris decides he wants to enlist in the army, “Airport 07,” where Peter becomes a redneck and steals fuel from Brian’s plane, and “Stewie Loves Lois,” where a Flu epidemic hits Quahog. The latter has come to be seen as a foreshadowing of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the season features one of Family Guy’s best musical numbers, “My Drunken Irish Dad.”

Cruising Comfortably

Having been subjected to cancelation in Season 2, and Season 3, yet avoiding it in Season 4, the production team now felt confident enough to steer the ship without looking over their shoulders. The numbers were looking good and according to ABC, each episode was averaging around 8 million.

Because there was no longer any pressure, fans were treated to one of the most satisfying seasons. No episode in the season feels dull, dragged out, or filler-ish. There is much more character development for the Griffins too, allowing fans to learn about little details, ranging from Peter’s upbringing to Meg’s hobbies.

2 Season 6

The sixth season consists of 12 episodes only, and the length stems from Seth MacFarlane’s decision to participate in the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike. Despite the limited content, the chapter is still impressive. Notable storylines include Joe dumping his friends after getting a leg transplant, and Stewie dodging a CIA sting operation against him led by American Dad’s Stan Smith.

Foray Into Parody

For a long time, MacFarlane and his team had avoided the parody realm, but by the time Season 6 was coming along, they couldn’t resist it anymore. Fans were thus treated to the first spoof episode, “Blue Harvest,” which involves Princess Leia (Lois) being attacked by Darth Vader (Stewie). So good is it that Star Wars creator, George Lucas gave it a thumbs up.

Overall, there is hardly anything worth criticizing. With marvelous quips, solid subplots, and the prioritization of character-building over lengthy narratives, season 6 is arguably the most entertaining the series has ever been.

1 Season 4

From a memorable parody of Alfred Hitchcock’s spy movie, North by North West, to a dig at the FCC’s censorship practices, Family Guy comes in hard and strong in Season 4. Additionally, the season comprises several of Peter’s most despicable actions, putting a stamp on his debatable antihero status. Cannibalizing Joe and pushing Lois’ car into a lake are just but a few of his shocking actions.

A Need to Improve

Cancelations in Season 2, and Season 3, meant Family Guy had no option but to improve, otherwise, it would have been terminated forever. Thankfully, the writers didn’t joke around.

Here, fans are hardly given any time to breathe, with one-liners coming in quick succession, and the characters making one questionable decision after the next. It’s edge-of-your-seat stuff, and because of the good work, awards came in plenty. While still good, the show still hasn’t replicated the magic it served in 2005.


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