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Every Season Of Family Guy Ranked Worst To Best

It's hard to believe that everyone's favorite insufferable buffoon, Peter Griffin, and his unstable family have been on television since 1999. But here we are. Surviving two cancellations, the Griffins beat the odds and managed to create a legacy that may rival "The Simpsons." In fact, the two families have even met in a wild crossover episode. The misadventures of Peter, the mostly straitlaced Lois, their brainiac infant and two outcast teens are aplenty. The family have lived through the apocalyptic events of Y2K, traveled to a galaxy far, far away, and even discovered the multiverse.

Let's get the elephant in the room out of the way. Peter Griffin is an idiot. And in his idiocy, he manages to treat his wife and children horribly with his antics. We are intended to laugh at Peter, not with him. Often, however, the show causes us to reflect upon and even chuckle at our own failures and weaknesses as human beings. Anything is fair game in the world of "Family Guy." With that said, try getting the tune of Peter Griffin signing "Surfin' Bird" out of your head while we rank the seasons of the series from freakin' worst to the freakin' best.

20. Season 19

Despite Season 19 lacking in the rambunctious Griffin escapades department, it still has a few memorable moments. The season kicks off with baby Stewie uttering his first ever word that everyone can hear. For the life of the series, only Brian, the TV audience, and a few other random folks have been able to hear Stewie's ramblings. Lois, in particular, never hears him speak ... until he drops a shrieking f-bomb in the middle of church, and the community judges Lois for it. Considering the Griffins have committed several murders, it's pretty wild that what amounts to a screaming baby is the thing that finally turns the town of Quahog against them. 

Perhaps the biggest moment of the season is when Peter must help the giant chicken who he's fought on numerous occasions. The bird is dying due to his refusal to take the chicken cancer vaccine, and it's up to Peter to save his old nemesis. Meanwhile, Brian learns from a 23andMe test that he is 1% cat, which sends him into a weird identity crisis.

19. Season 12

After years of cutaway gags, fart jokes, and inane Peter Griffin antics, the twelfth season of the show attempts to inject a tad bit of humanity into the whole "Family Guy" rigmarole. That moment comes with the death of the longtime fan-favorite character Brian, the family dog. A dour scene plays out as the entire family mourns the loss of their best friend. Brian's passing is especially hard for Stewie. The family obtains a new dog named Vinny, voiced by "Sopranos" actor Tony Sirico, to help ease their pain. Surprisingly, Brian remains dead for two episodes before Stewie obtains the ability to time travel and saves Brian's life. In a cartoon rife with comedic death, it was a little hard to truly take Brian's death seriously. Of course, the general public considered the moment a bid for shock value to bolster viewership.

The season gives Brian further attention when it demonstrates what an awful father Brian is in the episode "Brian's a Bad Father." Brian's teen son hits it big as a TV star and Brian exploits his son's career to boost his own profile. The season also sees Cleveland Brown return to the "Family Guy" lineup as a regular after the cancellation of his own spinoff series. Season 12 ultimately managed to manufacture some upheaval but mostly falls into a rut of regurgitating previous gags that signal a creative slump for the show as a whole.

18. Season 15

Chris Griffin has spent 15 years as the official Griffin family dunce; yes, we mean he's even dumber than Peter. However, he also tends to wear his heart on his sleeve which can endear him to fans of the show. Season 15 grants Chris the opportunity to find love in a completely different league from his own not once, but twice. First, he dates pop sensation Taylor Swift, but ends the relationship when he realizes she can't thrive in her career if she doesn't have failed romances to sing about. Later, he becomes infatuated with an undocumented Mexican immigrant. After she is deported, Chris and his entire family smuggle her back into the country.

In the episode "Passenger Fatty-Seven," Quagmire's pals take advantage of his career as a pilot and land free tickets to fly to San Francisco. However, the plane is hijacked by terrorists and the quartet decide to attempt to resolve the situation themselves. One of the most notable episodes of the season is "Gronkowsbees." In this episode, Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots moves into the home behind the Griffins' house. Peter is star-struck at first, but then grows tired of Gronk's inconsiderate lifestyle.

17. Season 17

Season 17 makes the characters of "Family Guy" look even worse than they typically do, and it's not always in a funny way. Brian demonstrates how spineless he can be when he marries a woman battling cancer only to regret that decision the moment she goes into remission. Meanwhile, Peter becomes a purveyor of fake news who dukes it out with a local news anchor and becomes Donald Trump's press secretary. Peter's complete idiocy doesn't stop there as he poses as a transgender woman in order to gain benefits from his workplace. Of course, things go south when he finds himself in an accidental coma and his employers put him through confirmation surgery. The humor of "Trans-Fat" is mostly directed at Peter's clueless attitude about transpeople, rather than transpeople themselves, but the semi-well-intended clumsiness of the episode conveys a distinct "I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry"-type of energy that feels significantly dated and out of touch just three years later.  

This is yet another season that still has plenty of jokes to chuckle at, but the overall offering will likely leave most avid viewers of the show exhausted by the end.

16. Season 18

Leave it to "Family Guy" to touch on a culturally sensitive subject using diarrhea as the catalyst. Season 18 depicts a world where Peter Griffin becomes the face of the police reform movement after kneeling at a baseball game during the anthem in an effort to hold back the mounting pressure of the backdoor trots. In another episode, Peter finds himself in a coma after a crash that results from a race against the giant chicken. He manages to find his way back to the land of the living despite Lois pulling the plug on his life support.

In other Griffin family news, Meg realizes that she's not really noticed by anyone, so she leaves and starts a new life with a new name. Meanwhile, Lois gets Principal Shepherd fired after reporting him for mocking Chris' obesity over the intercom during a conversation he incorrectly assumed he was having with an Amazon Alexa. While the show does plenty of what it does best in this season, it's still a mixed bag of hits and misses.

15. Season 11

The eleventh season of the show marks "Family Guy" heading in directions a wee bit darker than what its usual audience was used to in 2013. Plots such as Carter Pewterschmidt's company withholding the cure for cancer for profits, Meg attempting to drug Chris in order to get him to sleep with another boy, and Peter becoming a meth dealer are among some of the season's least optimistic storylines.

Of course, there's still some beaming "Family Guy" whimsy lighting up the shadows. Such moments include Stewie and Brian's trip to Las Vegas where the teleporter mistakenly creates two sets of Stewie and Brian. One of the Stewie and Brian partnerships has a blast in Vegas while the other suffers from a disastrous vacation. The Griffin family also takes a trip to space and Stewie meddles with a space shuttle's flight controls. There's even a retelling of the Christian nativity story using the characters of "Family Guy." Just like life, Season 11 of "Family Guy" has its ups and downs.

14. Season 20

This season scales back on outrageous escapades meant to shock viewers. Instead, Season 20 focuses more directly on individual members of the Griffin family. Peter comes to recognize that his love of '80s movies might not be misplaced in an age of heightened political correctness. Stewie believes he's on his deathbed after playing with Play-Doh that has been tainted with cooties from a girl in his class. Later, Peter hurts his testicles on a stationary bike and his newly acquired high-pitched voice is utilized in the church choir. As "Family Guy" is known to spoof other TV shows on occasion, there is an episode with a trio of parodies based on HBO's "Game of Thrones," "Succession," and "Pretty Little Liars." This season also features a 1940s noir-themed episode following Peter as a private investigator.

Season 20 manages to soften the punch of the "Family Guy" comedy of the past, although it arguably overcorrects for its erstwhile more offensive approach and misses the sweet spot entirely. This season lacks the healthy dose of crude humor that's essential for a proper season of "Family Guy."

13. Season 10

In Season 10, many of the comedic punches the show is known for begin to fall a bit flat, but some of the overall plots are still fun and thoroughly enjoyable for longtime fans. The adventures of the Griffins never stop or slow down, that is for certain.

The season kicks off with the Griffins finding themselves multimillionaires after Peter makes a significant investment in lottery tickets. In another episode, Meg becomes infatuated with an Amish boy while the Griffins are on a road trip. As you might expect, the Griffins finds themselves very much at odds with the Amish community. Brian falls for a blind woman, and the relationship is going swimmingly until he finds out she hates dogs. Perhaps one of the standout episodes of the season involves Ryan Reynolds visiting Quahog. After the actor and Peter meet, the two become best buds. However, Ryan begins to let on that he might have deeper feelings for Peter than simple friendship.

There's a lot to enjoy in Season 10, even if the moment-to-moment jokes and cutaway gags sometimes feel a bit ham-fisted and unsatisfying.

12. Season 14

No one in the public spotlight is safe when it comes to "Family Guy." Season 14 gets the ball rolling on celebrity mockery when Brian uses ADHD treatments to write a proposal to George R. R. Martin, author of the "A Song of Ice and Fire" series. Then Stewie finds a pal in a Tom Cruise after realizing that the action-oriented star is rather short. The episode doesn't pull any punches as far as the actor's height is concerned.

After that, the Griffin gang takes on another parody-centric episode titled "Peternormal Activity." After watching the sequel to the fictional film "Maniac Pope" and being severely underwhelmed, they realize they could create a far better horror movie. If you enjoy mocking horror genre tropes, this episode is for you.

Later in the season, Mayor Adam West upsets the social order of Quahog after he raises the legal drinking age to 50 in light of Peter's drunken antics. Ironically enough, Brian is the only one among Peter's peers capable of legally buying alcohol given that he exceeds the age threshold thanks to "dog years." And there's another fun "Road to..." episode featuring Stewie and Brian. This time around, the iconic duo travel all the way to India just so Brian can meet a tech support woman he spoke with over the phone and fell for. For the most part, Season 14 keeps the laughs coming.

11. Season 16

At the very beginning of this season, the minds behind "Family Guy" put it all out on the table and admit this show is never going to win an Emmy. Technically, it actually did that a few times but let's not water down a funny bit with confusing details. Peter and the gang make a few wild attempts to gain attention from the powers that be at the Emmys with progressive nods that echo shows like "Modern Family" and "Transparent," as well as regressive nods to sitcoms with awards-catching track records like "The Big Bang Theory" and "Cheers."  

In other Quahog news, Carter gifts his grandson Chris a single dollar bill for his birthday. Offended about the cheap gift, Chris loses sight of the bill and it's passed all over town during several random exchanges. It's a creative episode entitled "Follow the Money" in which the show does just that — focuses on the journey of this particular dollar bill.

Vladimir Putin comes to town, Peter experiences the story of "A Christmas Carol" with the ghost of Patrick Swayze after losing his own Christmas spirit, and Sherlock Holmes receives a proper "Family Guy" parody with Stewie fulfilling the role of the intrepid detective while Brian joins him as Dr. Watson. There's even an imaginative episode that depicts the series as if it has been on air for several decades, looking back at "Family Guy" episodes from the '50s and '60s. It's got a few noticeable filler episodes, but Season 16 also has plenty of gems to offer fans.

10. Season 8

While "Family Guy" has always been known for its silly, raucous humor and cutaway gags, Season 8 is where the series begins to take a more creative turn. The season starts with a bang as Stewie and Brian embark on a journey across several parallel universes. They find themselves in a universe stylized like "The Flintstones," another where the Japanese took over the U.S. during World War II, and even a universe where all the animation looks like the work of old-school Disney.

This season also continues the show's signature "Star Wars" parodies with "Something, Something, Something, Dark Side" — the funniest version of "The Empire Strikes Back" of which we are aware. Also in this season, an April Fools' Day prank is played on all of Quahog that convinces the populace that Earth will be sucked into a black hole within 24 hours, and Meg falls in love with a convict. There's plenty of wild adventures to be had in Quahog with Season 8.

9. Season 9

In a show that almost always reverts back to its status quo at the end of every episode, it's a rarity when a change on "Family Guy" doesn't get undone pretty much immediately. This season begins with one of the most memorable episodes of the series — a well-written murder mystery in which the major players in Quahog are all in attendance. Someone begins picking off characters one by one, including Muriel Goldman and James Woods. The killer is revealed to be Diane Simmons, Tom Tucker's co-anchor on the nightly news. Diane's plot is ultimately foiled, and a certain notoriously homicidal baby makes sure she doesn't survive the ordeal. The deaths in this episode, "And Then There Were Fewer," actually stick in future episodes.

Lois also gets some much-needed attention in this season as she aspires to become a champion boxer and winds up defending her husband's honor. Of course, the season ends with "It's a Trap!" — Family Guy's parody of "Return of the Jedi."

8. Season 13

"Family Guy" got the attention of just about anyone who enjoys shows in the "adult animation" club with its opener to Season 13: "The Simpsons Guy." Peter and the rest of the Griffins meet the Simpsons in a crossover episode for the ages. The ratings for this episode spiked to 8.45 million viewers and clobbered everything else on network TV that Sunday night except for football.

Of course, the shenanigans of Peter and his friends and family continue well into Season 13. Quagmire finally gets arrested for skirting the lines of age of consent laws. We don't remember the end of that particular episode, but since adult men taking advantage of teenagers is a serious problem, hopefully Quagmire goes to prison and stays there for a long time. Meanwhile, Brian finds out he isn't the intellectual he considers himself to be when he bombs Meg's SAT exam. In the season finale, Lois tricks Peter into going to a marriage counseling retreat under the guise of a vacation. Thankfully, this attempt to help Peter mature doesn't work, and therefore does not diminish his comedic potential in future "Family Guy" episodes.

7. Season 7

The ongoing bit where Peter randomly begins sings "Surfin' Bird" begins in Season 7. After buying the record, Peter annoys the pants off his entire family with his obsession. Later, Stewie and Brian take a trip to Poland ... in 1939. That's right — they travel through time and find themselves amid Nazi occupation.

In another episode, Peter is injected with a gay gene during a medical experiment. It works like a charm and throws a wrench in the Griffin family household as Peter leaves his family behind, only to return once the gene therapy wears off. Later, Peter wins a day of golf with O.J. Simpson, and remains completely ignorant to the infamous NFL star's grisly past. Peter becomes friends with O.J. despite the judgements of others. After the episode takes a heartfelt turn with a commentary against assuming the worst about people, O.J. brandishes a knife and stabs three people before fleeing Quahog.

6. Season 5

Season 5 exemplifies what's great about old-school "Family Guy." Many of the episodes are good ol' fashioned fun and full of crazy ploys enacted by Peter and his odd group of pals.

In one such episode, he becomes best buds with former U.S. President Bill Clinton after 42's car breaks down outside of their home. Peter and President Bill smoke pot together and attempt to steal pigs from farmers. Elsewhere, Stewie guzzles down communion wine believing it to be punch. After he vomits up the holy sacrament, the congregation believes Stewie to be possessed by Satan which forces the Griffins to flee Quahog and live in Texas for a time. In the finale, Peter shakes everything up by accepting a wish from Death to travel back to 1984 where he kisses Molly Ringwald. Back in the present, he's married to Molly while Lois is married to Quagmire. Chris, Meg, and Stewie are now Quagmire's children and all have his distinctive chin.

Season 5 features a lot of new and unique ideas for the series that was keeping the jokes fresh and viewers coming back for more.

5. Season 1

Of course, the premiere season of "Family Guy" is a hallmark set of episodes since it introduced the world to the Griffins. The season only contains seven episodes, but it immediately establishes many of the "Family Guy" tropes we know and love. Thinking about this season even brings back memories from a bygone "Family Guy" era, including Stewie's more villainous and maniacal tendencies. "Victory is mine!" is a quotable one-liner "Family Guy" fans haven't heard for quite some time.

In "Family Guy" Season 1, we learn what a wild character Peter can be as he concocts plans to distribute the surplus of a mistaken welfare check to thousands at the Super Bowl using a blimp. Meg heads to a party, which sounds odd, given that we know her popularity levels aren't all that impressive. It turns out the party is full of doomsday cultists. We're also introduced to the fun-loving Joe Swanson as he moves in next door to the Griffins. He even tells the story of how he battled the Grinch on Christmas Eve and fell off a roof leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.

There are plenty of memorable moments from Season 1, mostly because it establishes many of the characters we've known for the life of the show. Even though the animation may not be the greatest, the humor is still vibrant and fun.

4. Season 2

In Season 2, Lacey Chabert departs the role of Meg and Mila Kunis replaces her as a series regular. Otherwise, the season continues much of what the first season started. The Griffins inherit a mansion from Lois' deceased aunt, Peter struggles to reconcile with his intolerant father, and the family survives an alternate timeline where the world experiences nuclear holocaust brought on by the ominous Y2K bug that, in the real world, caused entirely unfounded fear and panic at the turn of the century.

Later, Peter must replace the Grim Reaper temporarily after causing the specter to sprain his ankle. As expected, it's a bit of a burden and far too much responsibility for Peter. This season also begins the famous Stewie and Brian-centric episodes with the naming convention of "Road to ..." This season's Brian and Stewie episode is entitled "Road to Rhode Island." Brian is sent to bring Stewie home from visiting grandparents in California, but everything goes awry on the journey back. They miss their plane and must travel back home by whatever means necessary.

Season 2 turns up the heat on the dark humor the series became known for, as the show often makes jokes out of sensitive subjects. Despite the bold direction of the series, it was cancelled due to low ratings immediately following Season 2. However, the network switched gears and decided to continue the show in 2001 with Season 3.

3. Season 3

Season 3 premiered in 2001 and took viewers back into the zany world of Quahog after the post-Season 2 cancellation and reversal by the Fox Network. This season excels at squeezing humor out of zany, wild plots.

Brian moves to Los Angeles with his cousin Jasper to look for fame in showbiz. Peter learns that Chris has a much, much larger male sex organ than he does and spends an entire episode unloading his self-consciousness as a result. In the early days of "Family Guy," Peter works at a toy factory instead of the brewery we see in later seasons. His boss at this time, Mr. Weed, is a bit of a stick in the mud. In one episode, Mr. Weed suddenly dies while at dinner with the Griffin family. The toy factory is shut down and Peter finds himself jobless. The Griffin patriarch humorously seeks out employment but feels that his dream job is to be a renaissance fair jouster.

2. Season 6

Due to the Writers Guild of America strike in 2007 and 2008, the sixth season of "Family Guy" only contains 12 episodes. Despite its shortened length, Season 6's episodes are among the best in the series. The season begins with the thrilling first "Star Wars" parody, "Blue Harvest," that has fun mocking "A New Hope" six ways from Sunday.

This season also features the clash between Stewie and Lois we had all been waiting for. For several seasons, Stewie has threatened the life of his mother, and now is the time to enact his villainous plans. In a two-part narrative, Stewie seemingly assassinates Lois. In the second episode, she returns while Stewie vies for world domination. Lois arms herself like Rambo and finally kills Stewie. Of course, this entire ordeal was only a simulation Stewie is undergoing to see how these events would unfold if he carried out his plans.

1. Season 4

Peak "Family Guy" arrives in Season 4. The show was cancelled once again following Season 3, but due to insanely high DVD sales, Fox was forced to take another look at "Family Guy" and grant it a fourth season. The writers behind the show came back swinging and offered viewers some of the best comedy the animated series has ever produced.

Quagmire upsets life in Cleveland's home when he's caught having sex with Cleveland's wife at the time, Loretta. Of course, Loretta and Cleveland get divorced. A later episode sees Peter, Quagmire, and Joe helping Cleveland get back into the dating scene and he auditions for "The Bachelorette." In another wild episode, Peter takes on the FCC by creating his own TV station called PTV where he can be as raunchy as his heart desires. Of course, the FCC steps in.

The season is also home to one of the series best parody episodes unrelated to "Star Wars" — "Petergeist," an obvious play on "Poltergeist." When Peter decides to build a home theater that will rival Joe's next door, he digs up a Native American burial ground. Soon after, Stewie begins talking to the spirits in the television. Anyone who's seen "Poltergeist" has a good idea where the story goes from there. Season 4 is "Family Guy" at the top of its game.