Paramount // 1993 // 180 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // March 18th, 2012
Raise a glass of fine sherry to one of history's most beloved sitcoms.
When Cheers went off the air, Frasier's story was just beginning. Starting where the classic bar sitcom left off, Frasier finds the imitable Dr. Fraiser Crane (Kelsey Grammer) relocating to Seattle and hosting a local radio show on psychiatry. Unfortunately, he's not alone in this new endeavors: Dr. Crane's anal retentive and competitive brother, Niles (David Hyde-Pierce, Wet Hot American Summer), also lives in the area. Frasier's ailing blue collar father Martin (John Mahoney, Say Anything), an ex-cop with a cane and a salty attitude, has agreed to move in with the good doctor as long as he can have his caretaker Daphne Moon (Jane Leeves, Hot in Cleveland) living with them. Throw in Dr. Crane's saucy, sexually adventurous, radio producer Roz (Peri Gilpin, Make It or Break It) and you've got a group of nut jobs only the best psychiatrist could fix!
These eight fan favorite episodes, as determined by a Facebook poll, include...
* "A Midwinter's Night's Dream"
* "Frasier Crane's Day Off"
* "Daphne's Room"
* "Moon Dance"
* "The Two Mrs. Cranes"
* "Ham Radio"
* "Ski Lodge"
* "Three Valentines"
Frasier was a favorite during my high school and college years. While I wasn't a big Cheers viewer during its heyday, I fell in love with Kelsey Grammer's snobby but lovable Dr. Crane. After playing the character for a decade on TV (and another decade in Frasier's series run), Grammer was able to take what was once a supporting role and make him a fully fleshed out star.
One of the pure enjoyments of a show like Frasier is that it features both highbrow and lowbrow humor, essentially hitting a lot of different tastes in one fell swoop. The jokes are often verbal puns that only the well educated may get, while those with less sophisticated tastes are offered a heavy dose of slapstick. Frasier deftly traversed the line between smart and dumb comedy, making sure neither overpowers the other.
Fan Favorites: The Best of Frasier sports some of the series' finest episodes. Hands down the funniest here is "Ski Lodge," which offers up a fusion of the stage show Noises Off with the best Three's Company episode ever made. As each character lusts after another -- Niles for Daphne, Daphne for a foreign ski instructor, Frasier for Daphne's sexy girlfriend -- and the laughs keep piling on through misunderstandings and miscommunications. The episode is fondly recalled by fans, and for good reason: it's an excellently written twenty-two minutes. Other episodes are almost as memorable, including "Moon Dance," where Frasier invades Daphne's privacy (to embarrassing and hysterical results), and "Three Valentines" where each character finds out that February 14th can truly be the loneliest day of the year. None of these episodes are duds; each a funny representation of how good Frasier was.
Presented in standard definition 1.33:1 full frame, the transfers are the same you'll find on Paramount's individual season releases. It appears no digital remastering has been performed, but you're still getting very attractive visuals (the series was shot on film) which are nearly defect free. The Dolby 2.0 Stereo mix is a serviceable front heavy experience. Since Frasier is a straightforward sitcom that mostly takes place in an apartment, fidelity and dynamic range are lacking. For those hard of hearing, English subtitles are included. There are no bonus features.
Those who don't want to plop down big bucks for the complete series on DVD are the ones who will be most happy with this "favorites" package.
Not guilty. A fun and reasonably priced collection for casual fans.
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Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 180 Minutes
Release Year: 1993
MPAA Rating: Not Rated