Frasier was another one of those unlikely hits. Frasier started as an intended one-off character on the hugely popular Cheers. Kelsey Grammer made the most out of it, and before long he was one of the regular barflies inhabiting a stool at Sam’s. In Cheers the wit worked because Frasier was so unlike his fellow characters. He was a sophisticated, almost snobbish psychiatrist with a taste for fine art and high class entertainment. Instead of a ballgame, Frasier was more at home at the opera or an art opening. The humor was to be found in his attempts to blend in with his crass companions or even make a run at enriching their lives with his cultured tastes. My favorite Frasier moment will always be his plan to expose the bar patrons to Charles Dickens, but instead of his changing them they eventually had him reinventing the brilliant author in his reading of David And The Coppers In The Field. Soon Cheers had run its course, and everyone was expecting a spin-off. There was too much rich material to be found here to let it just die with the closing of Sam’s bar. While Norm or Cliff were the natural choices, it was Frasier who would move on. While most fans were a little confused by the move, the show would go on for 11 seasons that were arguably far funnier than Cheers ever was.
Frasier is finally divorced from equally snobbish Lilith and moves back to his home town of
By season ten the show had pretty much played out its possible scenarios and situations, and it really was time to go. It ran just one season longer and left while still in good stead with its audience. What is a little awkward was the DVD release schedule. While we are just now getting the tenth season, the eleventh and final season was released back in 2004 to coincide with the end of the series.
The season began with the long drawn out wedding plans between
Each episode of Frasier is presented in its original full frame broadcast format. The show isn’t as smooth and slick as it should be. Color and detail are impressive, but the discs are packed too tightly, and the result is some bad compression artifact. I think this is a pretty poor presentation for such a recently broadcast series.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 track is pretty bland. Of course, dialog is what’s important, and the presentation does deliver the goods here. You really notice how flat it is in the show’s Grammer sung blues number that ends each episode. Granted, the broadcast likely didn’t sound any better, but this isn’t broadcast television, it’s DVD. While that doesn’t mean I expect brilliant new 5.1 mixes, I would hope for a little oomph in my sound even in a sit-com.
I watched Frasier pretty regularly in the beginning and found it quite funny. Somewhere along the road the show got less funny and I sort of lost track of it. While it was indeed refreshing to catch these late series episodes I never watched in broadcast, it was mostly a sad reminder of how a once grand show got bogged down in its own story and ultimately stopped being funny. The final years still might be better than so many of today’s horridly bad comedies. I still mourn for the loss of great comedic moments with a rather nicely assembled cast. Frasier, we’ll miss the glory days. Perhaps “we’ll have a fundraiser for your sense of humor.”