Seth MacFarlane's award-winning adult animated series Family Guy has been a fixture on our small screens since the dysfunctional Griffin family's TV debut more than two decades ago.


The iconic show - known and beloved for its adult humour and pop culture references - follows the Griffins' misadventures in Quahog led by the endearingly non-self-aware Peter (Seth MacFarlane), weary stay-at-home mum Lois (Alex Borstein), awkward daughter Meg (Mila Kunis), hormonal teen son Chris (Seth Green), eccentric, scheming baby Stewie (MacFarlane), and their over-thinking, loyal dog Brian (also MacFarlane).

After arriving in 1999, the series is currently deep into its 21st season and has won a total of 37 awards from Emmys to Teen Choices. A landmark 400th episode is scheduled to arrive soon, which will follow Stewie as he becomes a crazed fan of a famous popstar.

Showrunner Richie Appel told Variety: "That's not a story that would have even occurred to us to tell five years ago, that phenomenon of fans of artists like Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez - you name them - who are just really so devoted, that they adopt their viewpoints."

In the meantime, we look back at our favourite seasons and rank them from worst to best below.

20) Season 17

Family Guy's season 17 plays around with its formula with two different episode arcs, but neither showed the comedy at its best.

Brian is trapped in a marriage with a dying woman (Casey Wilson) in a two-part arc called Married... with Cancer and Dead Dog Walking, while there's political satire in another two-part arc which focuses on Peter becoming a scaremongering news anchor, which lands him a job as President Trump's press secretary in Hefty Shades of Gray and Trump Guy.

Unfortunately, there aren't any standout moments and the show struggled to reach the heights of previous seasons, with far more misses than hits.

Watch Family Guy season 17 on Disney Plus

19) Season 12 (2013)

Season 12 of Family Guy was hit with fan outrage after a beloved Griffin family member was killed off in a special episode.

In Life of Brian, poor Brian gets hit by a car, which prompted an online petition (acquiring over 127,000 signatures) calling for show-runners to resurrect him immediately.

However, the creative team were always going to bring him back and while the overall season was one of the show's weakest, at least it tried something different, albeit briefly. Right..?

Watch Family Guy season 12 on Disney Plus

18) Season 16 (2017)

Family Guy's 16th season is considered one of the least consistent, with glimmers of excellence followed by sub-par episodes.

Excellent outings include HTTPete in which Peter attempts to attract millennials to the brewery and adopts the millennial way of life, and Dog Bites Bear, where Stewie and Brian's friendship is put to the test.

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The season also marks the final appearances of Adam West and Carrie Fisher prior to their sad deaths.

Watch Family Guy season 18 on Disney Plus

17) Season 10 (2011)

Family Guy's season 10 attempted to delve into more sensitive issues with the controversial episode Screams of Silence: The Story of Brenda Q, which sees Quagmire saving his sister Brenda from an abusive relationship. However, the episode attracted criticism for its depiction of violence and crass handling of a sensitive subject.

On a lighter note, the series also features a crossover with American Dad and The Cleveland Show for hurricane-themed episodes, and Ricky Gervais guest stars as a dolphin while Ryan Reynolds guest voices himself.

The season is considered by some fans as the start of its decline in terms of consistent quality and humour.

Watch Family Guy season 10 on Disney Plus

16) Season 14 (2015)

Family Guy season 14 features the series' 250th episode, which is the season premiere, and exciting guest stars including Glenn Close, Anil Kapoor, Kate McKinnon, John Mellencamp, Ed O'Neill, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson and Kyle Chandler.

While none of the episodes were standout classics, there a few fun ones such as Quagmire professing his love for Lois, Stewie becoming a star thanks to a peanut butter advert, Chris running for homecoming king and Brian and Stewie traveling to India to pursue Brian's latest love interest.

The series also attempts to tackle prescription drug dependency for children diagnosed with ADHD with the aptly titled episode Pilling Them Softly.

Watch Family Guy season 14 on Disney Plus

15) Season 19 (2020)

Season 19 of Family Guy arrived with 20 episodes in 2020, with standout ones including Stewie saying his first word, Peter becoming an Italian mob boss, and Peter discovering his arch enemy Ernie the Giant Chicken is dying.

Meanwhile, Brian and Stewie's latest adventure sees the pair embarking on a Terminator-esque quest to save Stewie's life.

The series was criticised by fans and critics alike for breaking the fourth wall and attempting to deliver political commentary instead of focusing on the eccentric escapades of the Quahog community.

Watch Family Guy season 19 on Disney Plus

14) Season 15 (2016)

Family Guy's season 15 may have seen a drop in ratings, but this series returned to form with self-contained episodes reflecting contemporary pop culture.

In Chris Has Got a Date, Date, Date, Date, Date, Chris asks Taylor Swift to prom, sending up the then-trend of celebs being asked to prom which went viral.

Guest stars include Flea, Sean Penn, Frank Sinatra Jr., David Tennant, and Jacob Tremblay. There's also a cameo from the late, great Tony Sirico who voices Vinny, the dog who temporarily replaced Brian in season 12.

Watch Family Guy season 15 on Disney Plus

13) Season 13 (2016)

Family Guy's season 13 opens with a welcome Simpsons crossover called The Simpsons Guy, which features The Griffins meeting The Simpsons for the first time and staying over after the Griffin family's car is stolen just outside Springfield. Fans particularly enjoyed the pairing of Meg and Lisa and Stewie and Bart.

The season also pays homage to Breaking Bad in the episode with Lois and Peter opening a cookie shop, while other fun episodes include Stewie impregnating himself with Brian's DNA, and Meg becoming a foot model.

Watch Family Guy season 18 on Disney Plus

12) Season 18 (2019)

Season 18 of Family Guy sees Stewie coming out on top with the best episodes and some genuine character development.

Set in the future, episode Rich Old Stewie features the former baby as a rich adult living a life of luxury (as if we'd expect anything else), but his life is rudely interrupted with news from Brian that his dad Peter, is dying.

Meanwhile, Baby Stewie features Stewie being informed by Brian that he will lose his intelligence at puberty, prompting Stewie to stop the process by rearranging his DNA.

The season also included a memorable crossover with Beavis and Butt-Head guest starring Mike Judge reprising his roles as Beavis and Butt-Head.

Watch Family Guy season 18 on Disney Plus

11) Season 20 (2021)

Family Guy season 20 is the most recent full season at the time of writing - and the jokes land considerably more often than they miss.

The series sends up Hollywood's obsession with 1980s nostalgia with the success of Netflix's Stranger Things, and takes aim at HBO and the network's decline in content with episode HBO-No.

It also tackles America's opioid crisis with the episode Prescription Heroin, which follows Lois's decline to prescription drug addiction.

Watch Family Guy season 20 on Disney Plus

10) Season 1 (1999)

Family Guy debuted with seven episodes, making it the shortest season to date. It's considered as a trial run in the series by fans and critics, although it offered a new take on the nuclear, dysfunctional family on TV.

Memorable episodes include Peter suffering from television withdrawal, Brian campaigning for his rights after reluctantly taking part in a dog show and Lois becoming a singer in Peter's basement bar.

Watch Family Guy season 1 on Disney Plus

9) Season 11 (2012)

Family Guy season 11 opens with the Griffin family scaling Mount Everest, while later on Lois experiences a mid-life crisis, Meg falls in love with a boy who prefers her brother, Peter's retells the Nativity story, and Quagmire marries a sex worker when intoxicated.

While the series featured well-timed cutaway segments, some fans felt the characterisation was increasingly becoming one-dimensional and flimsy. However, it did feature an impressive cast which featured the likes of JJ Abrams, Jon Hamm, Elizabeth Banks, Sandra Bernhard, Christina Milian and Johnny Depp.

Watch Family Guy season 11 on Disney Plus

8) Season 7 (2008)

Season 7 of Family Guy includes some of the show's most classic episodes and arguably the best Road to... episode ever. In fact, it became the first animated series to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series since The Flintstones in 1961.

Acclaimed episode Road to Germany sees Brian and Stewie teleporting to Nazi Germany, while iconic episode Stew-Roids featuring Stewie getting hench birthed many a meme. Standouts also include Lois becoming a FOX News broadcaster, and Brian's attempt to legalise marijuana, spawning the catchy song Everything's Better with a Bag 0f Weed.

Meanwhile, Three Kings cleverly adapts three classic novels by Stephen King, Stand by Me, Misery and The Shawshank Redemption, plus there's real emotion in the episode where Brian can't move on from his ex, voiced by Drew Barrymore.

Watch Family Guy season 7 on Disney Plus

7) Season 2 (1999)

Family Guy season 2 was when the world started to realise just how witty and darkly hilarious the Griffin family misadventures could be.

It features classic episodes in which Brian urinates all over the house before realising he's in love with matriarch Lois, Peter stepping in as the Grim Reaper, Chris revealing his talent as an artist, and Meg pretending Stewie is her son.

Season 2 also boasts the show's first ever Road to... episode with Road to Rhode Island, a winning concept which follows Stewie and Brian embarking on a wild quest together.

Watch Family Guy season 2 on Disney Plus

6) Season 8 (2009)

While the first few episodes of Family Guy season 8 were met with mixed reviews from critics and fans alike, the tail-end of the season received acclaim for dismantling old conventions and trying something more innovative and exciting.

Popular episodes include Brian and Stewie traveling into the multiverse, Meg concealing her felon boyfriend in the house and Brian trying to prove that a dog's life is just as worthy as a human's after he accidentally kills another canine. The series takes a darker direction while still retaining its trademark crude humour.

The episode Quagmire's Dad, however, received criticism for its portrayal of transgender identity.

Meanwhile, final episode Partial Terms of Endearment was banned from being aired by Fox at the time because it featured Lois contemplating an abortion - which we find out she goes through with at the end as communicated at lightning speed by Peter.

Defending the episode and it subject matter, Seth MacFarlane told The New York Times: "There's nothing about that issue that should be any different than doing an episode about gay marriage or an episode about the oil spill."

BBC Three has aired the episode and it's also available on DVD.

Watch Family Guy season 8 on Disney Plus

5) Season 5 (2006)

Season 5 of Family Guy is rampant with political incorrectness while featuring some of the most acclaimed episodes in the series, including Barely Legal, Airport '07 and No Chris Left Behind.

Barely Legal follows Meg as she crushes on Brian after takes her to prom; Airport '07 sees Quagmire's dreams of becoming a pilot dashed by Peter (and then reinstated), and No Chris Left Behind follows Chris as he's expelled from school for bad grades before being sent to an upper-class academy which shuns his working-class upbringing.

Season 5 also really begins to develop the dynamic between Stewie and Brian, which in turn explores the depths of their individual character. The series picked up an Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation.

Watch Family Guy season 5 on Disney Plus

4) Season 9 (2010)

Season 9 of Family Guy was brimming with original, unique storylines, laugh out loud jokes and fan favourite episodes.

A highlight is episode And Then There Were Fewer, based on Agatha Christie's classic murder mystery novel, And Then There Were None, in which a group of strangers begin to mysteriously die off one by one. The episode descends into murder and mayhem.

The series also features the final entry in the Star Wars trilogy, while other standout episodes include Brian's foray into writing, Lois becoming a professional boxer, Brian donating his kidney to Peter, and Road to the North Pole, with Stewie and Brian.

Watch Family Guy season 9 on Disney Plus

3) Season 6 (2007)

Family Guy's sixth season really celebrated the idiosyncrasies of the inhabitants of Quahog, and incorporated fun pop culture references, with the now-legendary first episode dedicated to the story of Star Wars.

Standout episodes also include paraplegic police officer Joe Swanson (Patrick Warburton) deciding to get a leg transplant, Brian discovering that he's a dad, Stewie shooting Lois, Brian professing his undying love for Lois, and Peter turning into a pirate after getting himself a pet parrot.

The season was impacted by the Writers Guild of America strike, with only 12 episodes making up the season, but every single one of them is gold.

Watch Family Guy season 6 on Disney Plus

2) Season 3 (2002)

Family Guy season 3 features the Griffin family on top form with a perfect blend of eccentricity and adult humour, without teetering over into the offensive or controversial.

Storylines include Peter enduring a near-death experience, Brian directing a porno, and Peter converting Chris to Judaism. Oh, and Stewie contemplating shrinking himself to wipe out every sperm in Peter's testicles. The episode Brian Wallows and Peter's Swallows was awarded an Emmy for Best Song.

Following the show's cancellation, it returned with season 3 before being cancelled again and coming back triumphantly with season 4. Speaking of which...

Watch Family Guy season 3 on Disney Plus

1) Season 4 (2005)

Season 4 is a fan favourite, returning in a blaze of glory with original and consistently funny storylines after being cancelled due to low ratings in 2002. The show was revived by Fox after reruns on Adult Swim became the network's most-watched series.

Memorable episodes include Peter discovering he is legally mentally challenged, Brian starring on The Bachelorette, Lois turning into a kleptomaniac, and Peter penning an erotic novel. In other words, absolutely peak Family Guy.

Season 4 also ran for 30 episodes, making it the longest series to date – and a run of episodes that the show has yet to beat.

Watch Family Guy season 4 on Disney Plus

If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV Guide or Streaming Guide.


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