Paramount // 1993 // 528 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Kent Dixon (Retired) // January 9th, 2008
Frasier (Kelsey Grammer): Ah, Niles! Look at you! Now are you sure you're
going to be warm enough?
Niles (David Hyde Pearce): No problem there, I dressed in layers: Polo, Eddie Bauer, and Timberland!
Frasier: You look like a skinny Elmer Fudd!
Frasier: I know how bleak things can look. I remember once in Boston feeling exactly the way you do now, and the very next week I met a lovely, if somewhat loquacious, barmaid, fell madly in love, and got engaged. Of course, she left me at the altar, but the point is I didn't give up. I took my poor battered heart and offered it to Lilith...who put it in her little food processor and hit the puree button.
Roz (Peri Gilpin): I'm helping Frasier find a man for Daphne.
Niles: For God's sake, why not just lather her up with baby oil and hurl her over the wall of a prison yard?
Roz: Excuse me, but these are guys I've dated.
Niles: Where do you think I came up with the analogy?
Martin (John Mahoney): I invited her down to the corner bar.
Niles: Coroners have their own bar?
Martin: No, Niles! Corner bar!
Daphne (Jane Leeves): I'm feeling a bit blue about my love life.
Frasier: Really? Have you been seeing a man?
Daphne: Only when I close my eyes and concentrate.
Returning for their 10th season, Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer) and his brother Niles (David Hyde Pearce), their father Martin (John Mahoney) and his physical therapist Daphne Moon (Jane Leeves), Frasier's producer Roz Doyle (Peri Gilpin), and Martin's loyal Jack Russell Eddie (Moose), add another 24 episodes to their stories, with plenty of laughs to be had throughout. Fans of the series can finally rest easy, because with the release of Frasier: The Tenth Season, all eleven seasons (the last season has long been on the market) and 264 episodes are now available on DVD in all their neurotic goodness.
What do you get when you take a pair of neurotic metrosexual psychiatrists, a retired cop with a limp, a "psychic" Mancunian (hailing from Manchester in the U.K.) caregiver, an overbearing producer, and possibly the cutest Jack Russell terrier to ever appear on television? You get one of the most successful spinoff series in TV history, that's what!
All 24 episodes of Frasier: The Tenth Season are included on this release, distributed across four discs as follows:
* "The Ring Cycle" -- Niles and Daphne get married...several times!
* "Enemy at the Gate" -- Frasier and a parking attendant have a standoff.
* "Proxy Prexy" -- Martin runs for condo board president, with Frasier as his campaign manager.
* "Kissing Cousin" -- Roz's opinionated cousin comes to visit.
* "Tales from the Crypt" -- Frasier and Bulldog go head-to-head with practical jokes.
* "Star Mitzvah" -- Frasier decides to give a blessing as his son's bar mitzvah.
* "Bristle While You Work" -- Frasier hires a replacement for Daphne.
* "Rooms with a View" -- Niles has heart surgery and the family relives hospital memories.
* "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" -- Niles obsesses about his near-death experience.
* "We Two Kings" -- The Christmas episode.
* "Door Jam" -- Niles and Frasier desperately try to get into a new Seattle spa.
* "The Harassed" -- A new staff member at KACL causes a stir.
* "Lilith Needs a Favor" -- Lilith stops in to ask Frasier for a favor...and it's a big one!
* "Daphne Does Dinner" -- A party plan goes wrong and Frasier has to save the day.
* "Trophy Girlfriend" -- Frasier starts another new relationship.
* "Fraternal Schwinns" -- Niles and Frasier learn to ride bikes...for the first time!
* "Kenny on the Couch" -- Frasier counsels his boss after a divorce.
* "Roe to Perdition" -- Frasier and Niles get their hands on some shady caviar.
* "Some Assembly Required" -- Frasier lends a hand to the KACL "Habitat For Humanity" team.
* "Farewell, Nervosa" -- An annoying folk singer playing at Café Nervosa forces Frasier and Niles to find a new hangout.
* "The Devil and Dr. Phil" -- Frasier meets up with an old acquaintance, only to find his former agent Bebe is working with him.
* "Fathers and Sons" -- The similarities between Niles, Frasier, and their mother's former research assistance are haunting!
* "Analyzed Kiss" -- Frasier consoles a colleague and they end up kissing.
* "A New Position for Roz" -- Roz trains Noel to be Frasier's producer as she prepares to leave KACL.
From September 1993 until May 2004, the creators and cast of Frasier worked hard to deliver what is arguably one of the best situation comedy series to ever be brought to TV. Judging from the record thirty-seven Emmy Awards the show received, ranging from awards for best Comedy Series, to Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, Guest Actor, Guest Actress, Directing, Writing, and Editing, I think it's safe to say they did their job well.
I watched The X-Files alone and now I watch Supernatural alone as well. While my wife remained true to Friends to the end, I lost interest after a while. It can be rare for a husband and wife to sit down and watch the same series together, let alone enjoy it to the same degree, but both my wife and I are die-hard Frasier fans and have been since the beginning. It's only in the past few years that we've bought the boxed sets so we can not only catch up on the episodes we missed in our early parenting years, but also so we can own the complete series for posterity.
What really works in Frasier? There are so many aspects of the series that contribute to its success that there's almost too many to name, and it really is difficult to identify one specific feature that stands out from the rest, but I have to start somewhere! The chemistry between the show's core actors is almost unique to TV situation comedies, although there are other sitcoms shows like M*A*S*H, The Cosby Show, Seinfeld, and others that also exhibit strong chemistry. Having acted myself, in everything from Neil Simon comedies to Shakespeare, I can personally attest to the creative freedom that comes with being able to trust your fellow actors. If every actor feels they are supported and that the other members of the cast "have their back," it really allows some special things to happen. From laughter to tears, the cast of Frasier has delivered some truly special moments during the run of the series, from grief and loss, to many truly Frasier-esque moments of hilarious confusion and misunderstandings.
Those special moments can be attributed to the cast to be sure, but an actor is nothing without the words their writers give them and in sitcoms especially, if the words aren't funny, the show will never last. I'm not a fan of sitcoms based around stand-up comedians, and I think it's largely due to the fact that they end up feeling like one "bit" strung together with many others, with weak dialogue and characterization in between; this is not the case with Frasier. I'd readily argue that everyone in the show's core cast is strong enough on their own to deliver a solid stand-up routine, but they bring so much more than that to the show.
Frasier is also blessed with a strong supporting cast that not only adds to the show's overall appeal, but also brings an already great show to a whole new level. It's hard not to love supporting characters like Noel Shempsky (Patrick Kerr), the geeky radio station employee who has adored Roz for years; Frasier's ex-wife Lilith Sternan-Crane (the brilliant Bebe Newirth), who appears throughout the run of the show; Donny Douglas, Daphne's one-time fiancé (Saul Rubinek); and the scores of others over the years.
The show has delivered some really neat guest star appearances over the years, and Frasier: The Tenth Season is no exception, as it includes appearances by Dean Cain, Elvis Costello, and David Ogden Stiers. On-screen roles have not been the only opportunities for famous actors and other celebrities to participate in the show, as callers (who literally phoned in to deliver their performances) on Frasier's talk show have included more than 100 people over the years, including: Kevin Bacon, Matthew Broderick, Halle Berry, Mel Brooks, Rosemary Clooney, Bob Costas, Phil Donahue, Olympia Dukakis, Gloria Estefan, Anthony Edwards, Jodie Foster, Art Garfunkel, Ron Howard, Eric Idle, Stephen King, Jay Leno, Ray Liotta, John Lithgow, Bonnie Raitt, Christopher Reeve, both Rob and Carl Reiner, Gary Sinise, Ben Stiller, Lily Tomlin, Eddie Van Halen...and I'd better just stop there!
I mentioned the writing as a key factor to the show's success and it honestly never ceases to amaze me that the show's writers have been able to deliver so many strong episodes over the years. They know these characters intimately and have been able to explore them in new and interesting ways that have kept fans and critics happy, episode after episode and year after year. In this season alone, you can see the strength of the writing in everything from clever episode titles like "Star Mitzvah" and "Fraternal Schwinns," to the plotlines themselves. "Tales From the Crypt," one of my favorite episodes from this season, has Frasier and Bulldog going head-to-head in a battle for the best practical joke, and the funny moments and lines come fast and furious. Another place where the writing really shines in each episode is the title cards that separate the main scenes within each episode. For example, in "Tales From the Crypt," the last title card that appears before the final scene advises viewers that "No Zombies Were Harmed in the Making of This Episode;" I don't know about you, but I think that's clever writing! Sure there have been a few low points over the ten-year run, but even a weak episode of Frasier beats most other shows that are currently on the air hands-down.
There are no extras of any kind included with this set, but more on that later. Frasier: The Tenth Season looks and sounds great on DVD and I'm confident fans will be pleased. The visual presentation is stable, clear and colorful and is significantly better on DVD than in any reruns you'll see, or likely even the original broadcast. The audio remains in the front and center channels, and is clear and well-balanced at all times, which suits the source material just fine.
No extras...really!? Other full-season sets of Frasier have included extras, although never a huge amount, but this release includes absolutely nothing. I get tired of saying this, but surely there must be a solid amount of deleted scenes, flubbed lines, and other treats that could have been included. With such a brilliant cast and a solid creative team and writing staff, couldn't someone have recorded some episode commentaries? It's a crime that for a show this outstanding and especially a season this good, the studio couldn't think of a single thing to include here. They're just lucky the show itself justifies the purchase.
I miss Frasier. It was a fun show that started quietly as a spinoff and quickly built into something special, the likes of which is rarely duplicated on TV. I'm glad that with the release of Frasier: The Tenth Season, the entire series is now available on DVD, and I can easily recommend that fans complete their collection with a season that not only makes you laugh, but also challenges your "Crane"-ium (sorry!). Here's hoping that Kelsey Grammer's new sitcom Back to You, which has a great cast and solid writing in its own right, develops into even half the show that Frasier was.
Hey baby I hear the blues a-callin'...Frasier has left the building!
Review content copyright © 2008 Kent Dixon; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 528 Minutes
Release Year: 1993
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* IMDb: Frasier
* Wikipedia: Frasier
* Frasier Online