The Fifth Season
For those unfamiliar with the series, Frasier was a spin-off from another popular sitcom 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, writing, and an overall comedy series. The show is about Frasier, a neurotic radio psychiatrist, and joining him are 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. It is easily one of my favorite sitcoms. For more detail about this series please refer to my reviews of season two, season three, season four, and the final season.
If you caught the fourth season of Frasier, you know it ended with a slight cliffhanger. Notice I emphasize the word slight, because it is not a big one. Frasier, in a mix of emotions, went to pick up a woman at the airport who accidentally left a message on his machine with her flight information. The "blind date" did not turn out in Frasier's favor, so he decided to be spontaneous and followed an attractive woman to Acapulco. The first episode of season four "Frasier's Imaginary Friend" picks up with Frasier on an airplane trying to meet women on their way to Mexico. He meets a girl who is his dream woman. She is a supermodel and PhD candidate at the University of Washington studying Zoology. She is beauty and brains. Yet, no one believes Frasier could snag such a wonderful person. In order to appease his ego and pride, he slowly (and comically) destroys his wonderful relationship just to prove to his friends and family he was dating a supermodel. The episode is a great way to start a season. The rest of the episodes are quite funny and there are plenty of good episodes to go around.
As for fun episodes, this season has one of my favorites. "The Ski Lodge" is perfect moment in Frasier history where hormones and misunderstandings are the root of everybody's problem. Frasier, Niles, Martin, Daphne, and Daphne's friend Annie go away for a weekend of skiing. What makes this a great episode is how everyone seems to have the hots for someone else. It is a classic love triangle, figuratively speaking of course, as there are a lot more than three people caught in it! Another fun episode is "The 1000th Show". Frasier has his 1000th radio show celebration and it is a big event. The mayor is giving him a key to the city amongst other things. Of course, Frasier being Frasier runs into some delays getting to the actual event. I enjoyed this episode because Niles and Frasier spend most of their time running around the streets of Seattle. We get to see Pike Place Market, The Space Needle, and the Seattle Monorail amongst other things.
Another episode which is a lot of fun puts Frasier finds himself in a relationship that strays away from the "traditional" male/female role. It is quite comical to see how Frasier handles the situation. In "Room Service" Bebe Neuwirth guest stars as Frasier's ex-wife Dr. Lilith Sternin. After a night of partying, Niles and Lilith wake up in the same bed and the way Niles, Lilith, and Frasier react to the situation is brilliant.
In addition to the individual episodes, there are some exciting story arcs. While there have been severe problems with Niles and Maris in the past, in this season they officially split up. The events unfold in "The Maris Counselor" and it is a riot to see how it happens. However, because of the breakup Niles can pursue his dream woman, Daphne. There is a pretty touching episode "First Date". Niles tries to ask Daphne out, but somehow ends up dating a make believe woman. But the real strength of this episode is seeing Niles and Daphne together as she helps him prepare for his fake date.
Another story arc is Roz's pregnancy. "Halloween" and "The Kid" are a two-part episode where Roz finds out she is pregnant. The way Frasier accidentally blurts it out to a room of strangers in "Halloween" is a blast. In "The Kid" she tells the father, who is almost half her age. Roz's pregnancy sets up a few funny quips for the season. There is an episode later in the season "Roz and the Schnoz", where she meets the grandparents of her child. Roz finds out they both have utterly huge noses. There is also a story arc picked up from season four. Martin had been dating a lively woman named Sherry. Frasier, Niles, and Daphne are not her biggest fan. In this season she returns but leaves mid-season.
I felt that this season was a huge step up from season four. While season four had some great laughs, it does not compare to the events of season five. There are truly some fun things that happen with Frasier, Niles, Martin, Roz, and Daphne. On another note, I have seen all of these episodes on TV and they are just as funny as the first time I saw them. Overall I think this is a very strong season of Frasier
1. Frasier's Imaginary Friend
2. The Gift Horse
4. The Kid
5. The 1000th Show
6. Voyage of the Damned
7. My Fair Frasier
8. Desperately Seeking Closure
9. Perspectives On Christmas
10. Where Every Bloke Knows Your Name
11. Ain't Nobody's Business If "I Do"
12. The Zoo Story
13. The Maris Counselor
14. The Ski Lodge
15. Room Service
16. Beware Of Greeks
17. The Perfect Guys
18. Bad Dog
19. Frasier Gotta Have It
20. First Date
21. Roz And The Schnoz
22. The Life Of The Party
23. Party, Party
24. Sweet Dreams
The video is given in 1.33:1 ratio full frame color. The picture quality is rather good and only suffers from minor compression artifacts. However, there are a few occurrences of low frame rate, where the picture gets 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 found with most TV on DVD releases it's not necessarily bad, since the majority of the audio is spoken dialogue. This release also supports closed captioning.
Similar to the last couple of season DVD releases of Frasier, there are no extras of any kind included with this DVD box set.
Within minutes of watching season five, I knew it was going to be a good season. It started off with a bang and never seemed to stop. While the episodes tend to incorporate similar aspects as past seasons (long running jokes, using misinterpretation as a building block for sticky situations, riotous characters and events), this season is still very comical. The way the characters handle the situations is what really makes it a treat. Highly recommended.