Frasier-Season 1 (1993)

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Released 13-Jan-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Audio Commentary-Pilot Episode - Peter Casey And David Lee (Creators)
Featurette-Making Of-Behind The Couch
Gallery-Photo-Frasier Crane's Apartment
Featurette-Celebrity Voices
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1993
Running Time 544:32
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (4)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Andy Ackerman
Rick Beren
James Burrows
Dan Butler
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Kelsey Grammer
David Hyde Pierce
John Mahoney
Jane Leeves
Peri Gilpin
Dan Butler
Edward Hibbert
Tom McGowan
Harriet Sansom Harris
Patrick Kerr
Bebe Neuwirth
Marsha Mason
Millicent Martin
Case ?
RPI $64.95 Music Bruce Miller


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
Danish
Norwegian
Swedish
French Titling
English Audio Commentary
Spanish Audio Commentary
French Audio Commentary
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     You'd have to imagine that there were a few studio executives who had some sleepless nights prior to launching Frasier for the public's consumption. After all, spin-offs are a strange beast to begin with, and one may have thought the transition from occasional barfly in Cheers to fully fledged central star in a new series was something of a quantum leap for Kelsey Grammer's fussy character, Dr Frasier Crane, particularly as the tone was moving from urban laughs in Cheers to far more urbane territory in the new series. A master stroke of the new format was the anonymous inclusion of a myriad of celebrities who lent their voices to the callers into Frasier's radio show.

      Sleepless nights not withstanding, the public ate the new program in enthusiastic spoonfuls, and the Emmy Award winning phenomena was born.

      If ever television programmers tire of running reruns of this wonderful show, you'll be glad to have your own prescription of Frasier to hand - it's just what the doctor ordered.

Disc One

The Good Son
Having left Lilith, Boston and the Cheers bar, we see Frasier settled into his hightop Seattle apartment, defending his choice to host a psychology talkback show. His comfortable sphere is shattered when his ex-cop father Martin (John Mahoney) moves himself, his dog Eddie, and his hideous green chair into his apartment. Martin's injuries require full time attention: enter one Daphne Moon (Jane Leeves). Frasier has trouble making the necessary adjustments and the confrontations between himself and Martin are a powder keg.
Guest Radio Voices: Linda Hamilton (Claire), Griffin Dunne (Russell)

Space Quest
Personal space is an issue for Frasier, as he feels his environment has been overrun. All his sacred spaces are intruded - his home, his studio, and even his treasured coffee house.
Guest Radio Voices: Christopher Reeve (Leonard)

Dinner at Eight
Feeling a little guilty about their dismissal of their father, Niles (David Hyde Pierce) and Frasier decide to treat Martin to a taste of the finer things in life. But when their dinner reservations go pear shaped, Martin trumps them both by taking the boys to his favourite steak house. Their fussiness, prissiness and snobbery is excruciating.
Guest Radio Voices: Patti Lupone (Pam)

I Hate Frasier Crane
Frasier loses his professional detachment when local critic Derek Mann publicly derides him. The arch war of words between the two escalates to fisticuffs and Martin helps his son out in a show of warm, fatherly protection.
Guest Radio Voices: Joe Mantegna (Derek Mann), Judith Ivey (Lorraine)

Here's Looking at You
Concerned that his father is housebound without an interest, Frasier buys Martin a telescope which promptly gets use to spy on others in their adjoining apartments. Martin engages in a waving relationship with a fellow observer, but becomes concerned as plans are hatched for them to meet. Life is further complicated by the arrival of Aunt Patrice.

The Crucible
Frasier brags over the airwaves about recently purchasing a masterpiece by local artist Martha Paxton. When La Paxton herself rings in, he invites her to a soiree to unveil her work. But the evening does not go as planned, and Frasier is forced to deal with the art dealer and the gallery's brie and chardonnay, while Niles finds some catharsis for his school day tauntings.
Guest Radio Voices: Robert Klein (Gary)

Disc Two

Call Me Irresponsible
Frasier's ethical standards are called into question when he strikes up a relationship with Catherine, the victim of some of his dispensed radio advice. Niles is scandalised by Frasier's decision.
Guest Radio Voices: Bruno Kirby (Marco), Eddie Van Halen (Hank)

Beloved Infidel
Niles and Frasier are astonished to see their father out on a "date" with Marion, a family friend. Seeing them as a couple sparks off painful memories in the brothers, and they attempt to piece together the past, concluding that this was an affair of long standing. Martin's low key but dignified response to the boys' meddling is a highlight and shows the element of pathos that made this series such a cut above the average.
Guest Radio Voices: JoBeth Williams (Danielle)

Selling Out
Frasier is accosted by the feral celebrity agent, Bebe Glazer (Harriet Sansom Harris), who manipulates him into accepting advertising assignments. Initially, Frasier assuages his discomfort by only endorsing products of which he personally approves, but the waters soon become clouded by financial realities leading to a "nutty" conclusion.
Guest Radio Voices: Carl Reiner (Roger)

Oops
Frasier finds himself hopelessly out of his depth as he's swirled into the station rumour mill. When he reveals to Bulldog (Dan Butler) that his head may be on the block, Bulldog engages in a vicious fight with the station manager (John Glover). Feeling responsible for the fracas, Frasier tries to square things away with the boss with unpredictable results.
Guest Radio Voices: Jay Leno (Don)

Death Becomes Him
Frasier takes Martin to the doctor and is horrified when he discovers that the tardiness of the medic is terminal. This swift encounter with the premature death of an apparently fit, healthy, fortyish man sparks in Frasier a tussle with his own mortality. He infiltrates the doctor's funeral to look for answers.

Miracle on Third or Fourth Street
When Frasier's own much anticipated plans for Christmas are shattered, he accepts the dreaded Christmas day radio shift, much to the fury of Roz (Peri Gilpin). He is inundated with every sad and miserable expression of yuletide woe in a marathon of angst that doesn't improve when he stops into a roadside diner without his wallet.
Guest Stars: Mel Brooks (Tom), Rosemary Clooney (Gladys), Dominick Dunne (Jeff), Ben Stiller (Barry), Eric Stoltz (Don)

Disc Three

Guess Who's Coming to Breakfast
Martin clears the apartment for a date with fellow apartment dweller, Elaine, and Frasier is shocked when she's still there for breakfast. Worse, he turns the incident into radio fodder which infuriates Martin and embarrasses Elaine deeply. His attempts to right his ham-fisted approach aren't much better.
Guest Voices: Piper Laurie (Marianne), Henry Mancini (Al), Elijah Wood (Ethan)

Can't Buy Me Love
Bulldog and Frasier are to be sold off in a celebrity auction. Frasier's mortification is assuaged when he's "purchased" by a leggy and beautiful model, but he's less than thrilled with the results of his hot date. The soft hearted Daphne buys Bulldog but their date fares no better than Frasier's.

You Can't Tell a Crook By Its Cover
A playful contrast of academic versus street smarts - Frasier expostulates that by his powers of deduction and clinical training he can determine who of Martin's three poker pals is actually a criminal. Insult is rubbed into injury when not only does he fail, but Daphne accepts a date with the revealed con. Niles and Frasier attempt to be her rescuing knights in shining armour, but things don't go entirely as planned.

The Show Where Lilith Comes Back
Lilith (Bebe Neuwirth) re-enters the picture on a working trip to Seattle which causes Daphne and Eddie extreme discomfort. The question is, why is Lilith here at all, and is there anything still there between her and Frasier?
Guest Voices: Timothy Leary (Hank)

A Midwinter Night's Dream
Niles is having trouble with the invisible Maris, and he tries to reignite the passion by enlisting Daphne's help in cooking a romantic dinner in his rather Gothic mansion. When violent storms cut the power the scene is set for plenty of mayhem. Martin and Frasier rush in to rescue the situation.

And the Whimper Is . . .
The CB radio award nominations are announced and Roz is ecstatic to find their show is on the list. Frasier attempts to preserve his cool but is rapidly swept up into the furore. On the advice of Bebe they coddle favour with the judges by lavishing them with promotional gifts but Frasier is overwhelmed with guilt after his decision. Awards night is a disaster.

Disc Four

Give Him the Chair!
Frasier's style nemesis, Martin's green chair, is under severe threat when Frasier decides to replace it with a stylish special treat for his dad - a sleek massaging model. His dad is furious however, and provides Frasier with a seminal lesson on sentimentality. Frasier is suitably chastened, but the problem is, now he has to get the green monster back.
Guest Voices: Malcolm McDowell (Dr. Bruga)

Fortysomething
Forgetfulness becomes an ominous sign to Frasier that his youth is rapidly departing. Martin can see the dangers but Frasier's headlong dash into midlife crisis is exacerbated by the advances of a cute young saleswoman he encounters while picking a belated birthday present for Roz. He's torn between conflicting advice on his next step.
Guest Voices: Reba McEntire (Rachel)

Travels with Martin
Frasier gets another lesson in what's important after his grandiose gesture to take Martin anywhere in the world for a holiday results in a choice to travel with his son on an American odyssey in a campervan. With Niles and Daphne in tow, their navigation and tolerance leave something to be desired, and Daphne's immigration status becomes problematic after a geographical embarrassment.

Author, Author
Frasier agrees to collaborate with Niles on his treatise on sibling relationships but the experience of being holed up together in a hotel room stretches their own relationship to absolute breaking point. Having suffered from terminal writers' block, they turn to the radio show for inspiration and input with disastrous consequences.
Guest Voices: Christine Lahti (Laura)

Frasier Crane's Day Off
Frasier is forced to weigh out the greater of two evils - continuing on-air despite being very ill, or risk losing his slot to his substitute Gil Chesterton (Edward Hibbert). He enlists Niles' help but when he too demonstrates a talent for broadcasting, Frasier, doped to the eyeballs, wrests his program back. The callers get much more than they bargained for.
Guest Voices: Patricia Hearst (Janice), Steve Lawrence (Howard), Edyie Gorme (Lois), Tommy Hilfiger (Robert), Garry Trudeau (Louis), Mary Tyler Moore (Marjorie), Steve Young (Blake)

My Coffee With Niles
In a cheeky salute to that ponderous film My Dinner With Andr
é, Niles and Frasier spend the last episode of the season in Cafe Nervosa pondering the deep things of life, like "toast sweat" on a plate, life, the universe and crushes on Daphne. An exultant end to a season with plenty of promise for the next season.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 FullScreen.

     Sharpness is something of an issue, but this may be understandable, given its television origins. Fortunately, this is not a series that is deeply reliant on vivid visuals, and the overall effect is not displeasing. Low level noise is present, but not overly distracting.

     Colour has a tendency to be a little on the flat side, but skin tones are acceptable and the tonal range is quite reasonable.

     There are minor examples of aliasing, but the transfer is relatively clean and presentable. Compression does not present too many problems, and the result is a reasonable print.

     Subtitles are clean, clear and accurate.

     The discs are RSDL discs, but the layer changes are placed between episodes resulting in no disruptions to the episodes.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     There are soundtracks available in English Dolby Digital 2.0, Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 and French Dolby Digital 2.0 with an English Audio Commentary in Dolby Digital 2.0.

     The dialogue was always clear and distinct, which is an essential in this production and audio sync was fine.

     The music is not really a huge feature in this series - mostly ambient music and, of course, the recurrent theme which is so distinctly Frasier.

     There is no real direction to the soundtrack, and there are times when there is a rather echoey effect to the sound, which is a shame, but not unforgivably distracting. The subwoofer is nonexistent in this production.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

     The menu designs are silent and static but easy enough to navigate.

Producers' Commentary - Peter Casey & David Lee

      Two executive producers discuss the challenges and intentions for the pilot episode, The Good Son. There are some interesting revelations during the course of the discussion (can you imagine Lisa Kudrow as Roz?). Their intention for creating a comedy that was reliant on the intelligence of its audience was an interesting (and no doubt, bold) concept.

Featurette - Behind The Couch - The Making of Frasier

      This is a great little feature with cast interviews and crew comments - very enjoyable.

Featurette - Frasier Crane's Apartment

      Set designer Roy Christopher takes us on a tour of the physical setting of Frasier's domestic world.

Celebrity Voices

     Each disc contains a recap of the Celebrity Voices that feature in the episodes. The subtitles here curiously turn up in a foreign language.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     Both versions appear identical in offerings, so there is no compelling reason to prefer one over the other, although the PAL Region 4 version is probably a winning local choice.

Summary

     This was watershed television when it burst onto the small screen, and it has proved a worthy inclusion in TV's hall of fame. Clever, witty and never guilty of taking itself too seriously, it's a true delight with its superlative cast and well crafted presentation. A delight.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Mirella Roche-Parker (read my bio)
Friday, May 28, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDSinger SGD-001, using S-Video output
DisplayTeac 76cm Widescreen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationTeac 5.1 integrated system
SpeakersTeac 5.1 integrated system

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