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Frasier: Complete First Season [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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Thanks to sharp writing and a pitch-perfect ensemble cast, Frasier became one of the smartest and funniest television shows of the 1990s. Following the 1993 demise of Cheers, Diane's fussy psychiatrist boyfriend, Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer), seemed an unlikely candidate for a spin-off series, yet the show earned smash ratings and dozens of Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Lead Actor (Grammer) in the very first season. In an inspired bit of casting, Grammer was matched with David Hyde Pierce as his brother and fellow psychiatrist Niles, and the rest of the players included his radio-program manager, Roz (Peri Gilpin), his father, Marty (John Mahoney), his father's physical therapist, Daphne (Jane Leeves), and the dog Eddie (Moose). In the first season, Frasier and Marty try to learn how to coexist in the same apartment; Niles and Daphne spend a stormy evening in Niles's house; Frasier acquires pushy agent Bebe (Harriet Sansom Harris) and searches for love with Amanda Donohoe among others; his ex-wife Lilith (Bebe Neuwirth) makes a guest appearance; the family takes a cross-country trip in a Winnebago; and the two brothers collaborate on a book. --David Horiuchi --This text refers to an alternate DVD edition.
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The characters are great with Frasier and fussy pernickety manner and Niles's also clashing with their father's relaxed down to earth style while they fuss and be irrational and wait for him or sometimes Daphne to sort it out. The crush Niles has on Daphne is very funny as David Hyde Pierce in reality is more likely to fancy a man as he has in reality a male partner. The Meris story always makes me laugh but I was always keen to see her I wished she had made an appearance as she sounds bonkers. Norm in Cheers used to go on about his wife Vera who did eventually appear and ironically was Norm actor real wife. Eddie is so cut and the clever cute things he does to irritate Frasier are so funny. I also love the scenes on the call shows with the callers and Roz's never ending string of 1 night stands much like Sam in Cheers and very funny.
I think this one and series 2 and 3 have god bits I all of them. I like it when Bibi Neuwirth comes back she is always so funny as cold icy dry Lilith. I have seen later episodes in series 2 where they brought Sam from Cheers (Ted Damson) comes back which was rather tedious I think the writer were short of ideas so brought him back. Why do we need to see him again ?
Some would argue that the first season was the best in terms of writing, and that's probably true. As this first series progressed, the writing did become sometimes trite and contrived, but still there are a plethora of brilliant one-liners and some fantastic repartee. Here are some of my favourites that make this series a cut above all the rest: -
FRASIER to Niles: "Oh Niles, you're a psychiatrist; you know what it's like to listen to people prattling on endlessly about their mundane lives." NILES: "Touché! And on that subject, I heard your show today."
FRASIER (in anger) to Niles: "Yes, I know what you think about everything. When was the last time you had an unexpressed thought?" NILES: "I'm having one now."
FRASIER to Dad: Dad, I can't read my paper; Eddie's staring at me." DAD: "Just ignore him." FRASIER: "I'm trying to." DAD: "I'm talking to the dog."
FRASIER to Niles (about Daphne): "She's psychic; we've decided to find it charming."
FRASIER to Niles: "I hate lawyers. NILES: Me too, but they make wonderful patients. They have excellent health insurance and they never get better."
ROZ to Frasier: "The whole point of gossip is to talk behind the person's back, not in front of them. I didn't realise you were unclear about this concept."
DAPHNE to Niles: "Why does she [Maris] take the train instead of flying [to Chicago]?" NILES: "She's been afraid to fly since her harrowing accident." DAPHNE: "Oh dear! Did her plane almost crash?" NILES: "No, no, she was bumped from first class."
FRASIER to Dad: "Dad, ... don't you believe in second chances?" DAD: "I did; then we had Niles."
FRASIER to Niles: "Dad can be so judgemental." NILES: "He is, and I've often condemned him for it."
FRASIER to Roz: "What do you do when the romance goes out of a relationship?" ROZ: "I get dressed and go home."
FRASIER: "Back in prep school the existentialist club once named me `Most Likely To Be'."
NILES (on the urge to write a book): "Al my life I have dreamed of one thing: the day I could go into a library and go to the card catalogue and see my name under `mental illness'."
NILES (of Roz): "She is comely, in a back-alley sort of way."
What about the extras? There are separate replays of the calls made by various celebrities into Frasier's radio show; there is a twenty-minute documentary called `Behind the Couch - the Making of Frasier', made in 2003; and a piece entitled `Frasier Crane's Apartment' where we are shown around his condo by the Production Designer. In addition, there is a commentary on the first episode by the creators of the show. Here we learn that the original intention was to have long scenes, like a play, and no music cues. Maris never appeared, as the character was deemed impossible to cast. It was assumed from the start that the audience would have some intelligence, and that the character of Daphne would be played by a Latino.
If you're into good writing, witty dialogue, fine acting, clever characterisation, and self-deprecating humour (who says the Americans don't understand irony?) then you cannot go wrong with this first season collection.
people do say it's lost it's way a little in later years, but this is the first season and nobody quibbles about the quality of the early years, so let's not get into that debate here. There are twenty four episodes of comedy gold on display across four discs.
each disc contains six episodes.
each has language tracks in english spanish and french.
and subtitles in english danish norwegian and swedish.
each disc also contains celebrity voices, a short extra running from two to five minutes depending on which disc you're on, showing clips from the episodes on them where guest actors would do the voices for people calling frasier's radio show.
disc one has a commentary on the first episode from two of the creators of the show. the subtitles for this are english spanish and french.
and disc four also offers a twenty one minute long documentary about the creation of the show. dating from 2003 this features contributions from two of the creators and all the main cast, and is a fascinating look at the creative process. and at the sitcom kelsey grammer could have been in post cheers.
there's also frasier's apartment. there are two screens to this extra showing a still of the set, and if you watch the disc on a pc and move the pointer around over the first screen till it lights up when you're over the door, click on that to see a very short piece by the set designer looking at the creation of that area of the set.
on the second screen of this feature similar short features can be found by clicking on the couch and the table behind it and the table with a sculpture on it to the side of that.
a good box set for a classic comedy
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