Midway through Frasier's
redemptive final season (which earned Emmys for Kelsey Grammer
and David Hyde Pierce
), Martin Crane (John Mahoney
) reassures his son, "Just when you think that you're in a rut and nothing exciting will ever happen again, pow, that's when it does." The same could have been said of Frasier's redemptive final season. Not that the multi-Emmy-honored series had ever really jumped the couch, but by its 11th season, it had lost some of its sparkle. And then, POW! Veteran Frasier
writers Christopher Lloyd and Joe Keenan return to the fold. POW! Wendie Malick joins the seamless ensemble as brash lounge singer Ronee Lawrence, who becomes a love interest for Martin. POW! Daphne (Jane Leeves), underutilised since her marriage to Niles, becomes pregnant. POW! Frasier opens his own private practice. POW! Laura Linney guest stars as Charlotte, who becomes the hapless Frasier's own Miss Right. The series also benefited greatly from a stellar roster of character actors, who rose to the occasion of this gold standard series' final year. Penny Johnson (24), Sarah Silverman (School of Rock
), and Dan "Homer Simpson" Castellaneta christen Frasier's couch in the episode, "The Return of Maris." Jennifer Tilly is at her ditzy, delectable best as a pick-up in "Miss Right Now." Laurie Metcalf replaces Emma Thompson as Frasier's first wife, children's entertainer Nanny G, in "Caught in the Act." Always welcome are Bebe Neuwirth as Lilith ("Guns 'N Neuroses") and Harriet Sansom Harris as Frasier's unscrupulous agent Bebe (the series finale, "Goodnight, Seattle").
But Frasier was never about stunt casting. It's the writing, stupid, which, actually, was anything but. Episodes such as "Boo," "The Doctor Is Out," "Coots and Ladders," and "Caught in the Act" recapture Frasier's unique blend of wit and farce. The series finale, in which relationships take a significant turn and Frasier finally breaks out of that rut to follow his heart, is as satisfying as fans could wish. --Donald Liebenson
All 24 episodes from the eleventh and final season of the popular US sitcom about the middle-aged Seattle psychiatrist who is beset by problems largely of his own making. In this final season, Frasier (Kelsey Grammer) starts his own private practice, Martin (John Mahoney) gets a new love interest in the form of lounge singer Ronee (Wendie Malick), Daphne (Jane Leeves) becomes pregnant, and Niles' (David Hyde Pierce) unseen ex-wife Maris finds herself at the centre of a murder investigation. Guests in this season included Patrick Stewart, Laura Linney, Richard E. Grant, Robbie Coltrane and Aaron Eckhart. Episodes comprise: 'No Sex Please, We're Skittish', 'A Man, a Plan, and a Gal: Julia', 'The Doctor Is Out', 'The Babysitter', 'The Placeholder', 'I'm Listening', 'Maris Returns', 'Murder Most Maris', 'Guns 'n' Neuroses', 'Sea Bee Jeebies', 'High Holidays', 'Frasier-Lite', 'The Ann Who Came to Dinner', 'Freudian Sleep', 'Caught in the Act', 'Boo!', 'Coots and Ladders', 'Match Game', 'Miss Right Now', 'And Frasier Makes Three', 'Detour', 'Crock Tales', 'Goodnight, Seattle: Part 1' and 'Goodnight, Seattle: Part 2'.