The Fourth Season
Not too long ago, one of the most celebrated television roles retired. Kelsey Grammer has played Dr. Frasier Crane for over twenty years, from his debut in the third season of Cheers to the final season of Frasier. After the end of Frasier, the last season was released on DVD before seasons 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, or 10. Now a few months later, Frasier and all of his neuroses return with his friends and family in season four. Overall, this season isn't quite as good as some of the other seasons, but it is still quite funny. The fact of the matter is the series is a grade above most other sitcoms.
For those unfamiliar with the series, Frasier was a spin-off from Cheers. Over the years, Frasier has proven to be one of the best sitcoms on television. It is highly celebrated, holding many awards for some great performances and writing. The series is about Frasier, a neurotic radio psychiatrist, and joining him is Dr. Niles Crane (David Hyde Pierce), his brother and fellow neurotic psychiatrist, Martin Crane (John Mahoney), Frasier's father and retired police officer, Daphne Moon (Jane Leeves), Martin's physical therapist, and Roz Doyle (Peri Gilpin), Frasier's radio producer and longtime friend. Basically, each episode takes a look into their daily lives and interactions.
The quirky behaviors of each character are what make this series really stand out. For instance, both Frasier and Niles seem to have more problems than the people they treat, which make for some sticky situations that are worth a laugh. Another wonderful aspect about the series is how a character can incorrectly interpret a situation, blowing it way out of portion. There is also a long running joke about Niles' obsession with Daphne or Roz being a very 'friendly' first date. In general, there is quite a bit to love about this series.
Overall, the fourth season is not one of the series' best, but it is still quite funny and definitely worth watching. The season begins with a few hilarious episodes. However, it seems that the first few episodes are the season's peak, because the rest of the episodes are not as funny. In other words, the season opens very well, but loses its momentum quickly. Of course, it is probably important to note that I have seen most of the episodes in this season more than twice. So I pretty much know what is going to happen in each episode. However, the comical aspect is still quite strong, as the Crane family antics never seem to get old. While not one of the best of the series, the entire season fares much better than most other sitcoms do.
My favorite episodes of this season were all in the beginning. The season opens with a great episode, "The Two Mrs. Cranes". An old flame from Daphne's past returns into her life, and he's the last person she wants to see. She and the Cranes are more than happy to fib their way out of the situation. Of course, we will know what happens when people lie in sitcom. The result is great performance, with everyone getting a chance to play a role different from their own. In "Love Bites Dog", Frasier has a sex dream or two that make him question his 'way of life'. The center of his attention is fellow co-worker, Gil Chesterton (Edward Hibbert). In one of the best episodes of the season, "Mixed Doubles", Daphne ends up dating a guy named Rodney Banks who remarkably resembles Niles. It's absolutely hilarious to see the two side by side. While at the end of the season, "Three Dates And A Breakup" is another really funny episode. It's filled with plenty of dating gone awry. Daphne also spends the episode trying on her "American" accent, which is a blast.
In addition, there are also some pretty entertaining story arcs. The first is about Martin's new girlfriend. She has a very free spirited and energetic personality, and her views on life are far from the Crane boys. It's her personality that makes her an interesting addition to the season. Her odd personality causes a lot of grips and groans for Frasier and Niles. The other big story focuses on the relationship between Niles and Maris. It makes for a couple of funny episodes, as Niles goes growling back to Maris and Frasier getting in between.
Overall, the fourth season of Frasier continues with plenty of great comical moments. However, the season isn't as strong as previous DVD releases (season three or season eleven), but there are still enough fantastic moments to capture your attention. This release is great for the fans or anyone who has some interest in the series.
1. The Two Mrs. Cranes
2. Love Bites Dog
3. The Impossible Dream
4. A Cranes' Critique
5. Head Game
6. Mixed Doubles
7. A Lilith Thanksgiving
8. Our Father Whose Art Ain't Heaven
9. Dad Loves Sherry; The Boys Just Whine
10. Liar, Liar!
11. Three Days Of The Condo
12. Death And The Dog
13. Four For The Seesaw
14. To Kill A Talking Bird
15. Roz's Krantz & Gouldenstein Are Dead
16. The Unnatural
17. Roz's Turn
18. Ham Radio
19. Three Dates And A Breakup
20. Daphne Hates Sherry
21. Are You Being Served?
22. Ask Me No Questions
23. Odd Man Out
This DVD release of Frasier is given in 1.33:1 ratio full frame color. The picture quality is rather good and only suffers from minor compression issues. In comparison to previous DVD releases, the picture is much sharper. However, there are a few occurrences of low frame rate, where the picture is slightly choppy.
The audio track in this release is an English 2.0 Dolby digital stereo sound track. The audio in this release comes off fairly flat. However as with most TV on DVD releases it's not necessarily bad, as the majority of the audio is spoken dialogue. The sound quality is very good, providing an audible and clean audio track. This release comes equipped with closed captioning.
The worst part about this DVD release is that Paramount decided to omit extras of any kind.
I found that the fourth season of Frasier was entertaining. The fourth season episodes offer a nice dose of comedy. However, I didn't feel that this season was the series' strongest. There are a few episodes that are far from remarkable. Still, there are plenty of good laughs and a few great episodes that should entertain you.