Judge David Johnson has been trying to convince his co-workers to yell "Dave!" every time he walks into the building, but so far he's just been getting dirty looks.
Our reviews of Cheers: The Complete First Season (published July 14th, 2003), Cheers: The Complete Second Season (published March 8th, 2004), Cheers: The Complete Third Season (published July 12th, 2004), Cheers: The Complete Fourth Season (published February 9th, 2005), Cheers: The Complete Fifth Season (published July 6th, 2005), Cheers: The Complete Sixth Season (published October 10th, 2005), Cheers: The Complete Eighth Season (published June 21st, 2006), Cheers: The Final Season (published February 12th, 2009), Cheers: The Ninth Season (published April 23rd, 2008), and Fan Favorites: The Best of Cheers (published March 8th, 2012) are also available.
Drunks are funny!
Another month, another Cheers set, or so it seems. Paramount is really churning these bad boys outs, but since the sets are completely devoid of extras, I suppose it's not that grand of a feat.
Facts of the Case
Cheers Season Seven takes us into Kirstie Alley's sophomore stint as Rebecca Howe, the attractive, neurotic bar manager who took over for Shelley Long as Sam's object of desire and token strong-willed female figure.
The rest of the regulars are on hand, too: Sam Malone, retired baseball star and all-around rake (Ted Danson, Three Men and a Baby), Woody Boyd, simpleton farm-boy/barkeep (Woody Harrelson, White Men Can't Jump), Carla Tortelli, wise-ass waitress (Rhea Perlman), Norm and Cliff, perpetual patrons (George Wendt and John Ratzenberger), and Doctor Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer).
Season Seven brings all 22 episodes, spread out on four discs:
I really enjoy these shows. And as a Cheers fan with a soft spot for the Kirstie Alley years (yeah, I know, heresy I speak), I especially get a kick out of this set. Without any episode-spanning arc like in the Sam and Diane years, save except for Sam's incessant attempts at bedding Rebecca, the shows are more stand-alone—and this, for me, is perfectly A-OK.
The greatest accomplishment the showrunners were able to pull off, even from the get-go, was to populate their bar with likeable characters. As a result, settling in for 24 minutes with this crew is always comfortable, and to risk hyperbole, reminiscent of spending time with a gaggle of old friends.
Season Seven boasts all the strong writing and wit that has characterized the series, and even adds a few things to the Cheers mythos. For example, in this season, Woody first encounters Kelly Gaines (Jackie Swanson), the super-rich, ditzy blond that would eventually become Woody's significant other. Also, Lilith (Bebe Neuwrith) discovers she's pregnant (no birthing this season however).
Everything is still based in the actual bar, but, like in the previous seasons, the gang often leaves, and sometimes embroil themselves in outlandish scenarios. Season Seven has our characters skydiving, flying to Mexico, swapping attack dogs in a corporate mogul's mansion, throwing down with the clowns from Gary's Old Town Tavern, and impersonating homosexual boyfriends to land a lucrative interior decorating gig.
Yes, that's a lot of boilerplate sitcom zaniness, but Cheers frequently rises above the usual humdrum with sharp writing and great character work. By now, the actors are so familiar with their roles, they're able infuse even the dimmest of material with an amusing performance.
Kirstie Alley, the greenhorn of the ensemble, really hits her stride in this season with her over-the-top portrayal of neurosis, and proves to be a solid comic force. Plus, with the shedding of the one-note Evan Drake infatuation storyline from last season, she's able to do different things.
Woody remains my favorite character. No one has done the dim-bulb act better, in my opinion, and this season places Woody in what would later become fertile comic territory, with his involvement with Kelly Gaines. The juxtaposition between Woody's salt-of-the-earth attitude and Kelly's family of wealthy snobs is an obvious contrivance, but Woody Harrelson is so good at the character, it works.
Once we add up the tab, this season offers yet another crop of solid, dependable laughs. Yes, Cheers is a show that played by the rules of Sitcom 101, but it did so really, really well.
Another bare-bones outing for Paramount. Episodes are presented in their original full screen aspect ration, with various levels of quality. Mostly, the visual quality is decent, but there are some in-show sequences where the sharpness and color dramatically dip. The saddest aspect of the releases is the lack of extras. Sorry, Cheers fans, but it looks like you're going dry again.
Laughs all around bartender! But Paramount, we're calling you a cab for your half-assed, uninspired releases.
Not guilty. Pass the nuts.
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Scales of Justice
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