The Seventh 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 acting performances, writing, and as 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, season five, season six and the final season.
In the sixth season of Frasier, Niles went through the final stages of a messy divorce with Maris. During which the love of Niles' life, Daphne, and his divorce attorney Donnie started dating. By the end of season six, they were engaged. While in the past seasons Niles' fondness of Daphne has been a subtle joke, it now becomes very important. In season seven Daphne finally learns the truth about Niles' feelings towards her and while she is supposed to marry Donnie, she does not. In the early part of the season when she first finds out, she tries to accept the fact and move past it. However in the last few episodes, she realizes that she may have feelings for Niles. It is a big development in the series.
As for the rest of the season, there are plenty of fun episodes. The season opens with a fun episode called "Mamma Mia". The opening sequence has a great bit with Frasier, three women, and his foot in his mouth. The real meat of the story finds Frasier dating a woman who looks nearly identical to a young version of his mother. It takes him a while to realize the close resemblance, but Niles and Martin don't seem to miss it. There are plenty of great little jokes about it. In the episode "Everyone's a Critic" everyone at KACL is introduced to the station owner's daughter Poppy. She's an odd girl who is about as annoying as you can imagine. She isn't a very funny character, but the reactions her personality get are definitely worth a laugh. She reprises her role a few more times in this season.
"A Tsar is Born" is another fun episode where the Crane boys get into trouble with their egos and imaginations. Martin, Frasier, and Niles go on The Antique Roadshow and have a family heirloom appraised. The piece turns out to be worth over twenty-five thousand dollars and can be traced back to Russian royalty. The Crane boys become convinced they are forgotten members of the royal family. The truth is, however, not what they thought. It is an absolute riot when the truth comes to the fore. In "The Late Dr. Crane" Niles has a new love interest. He goes to confront Maris' plastic surgeon Mel regarding some financial concerns about bills wrongfully being sent to him and he finds out Mel is a captivating woman. The two hit it off pretty quickly, but the rest of the family doesn't hold her in the same regard. They think she's just another version of Maris and in "Whine Club" their true feelings come out.
The funniest episode of the season is "Out With Dad". It is a Valentine's Day episode, where Frasier and Niles were supposed to go to the opera, but Niles stands him up for a romantic evening with Mel. Frasier having no one to go with drags Martin along. There Frasier meets a woman he is interested in and Martin finds himself being asked out by her mother, a woman he's not too keen on. Trying not to hurt her feelings, he tells her he is gay. Later in the episode, Martin finds himself acting like a gay man to fit the story he made up so that Frasier can try to pursue a relationship with the girl. Of course, things get really funny when she brings her gay uncle to meet Martin. This is an absolute riot with Mahoney giving a tremendous performance.
Some other fun episodes include "Apparent Trap", where Frasier's ex-wife Lilith makes an appearance and their son Frederick tries to get them back together, "Rdwrer", a comical New Year's episode with Martin, Frasier, and Niles taking a road trip in the Winnebago to Sun Valley, Idaho and this being a sitcom they don't quite make it to their destination, but run into some hilarious situations, "To Thine Old Self Be True", Frasier tries to throw Donnie a bachelor party, but as with most 'normal' parts of life, he doesn't quite understand how to do, and plenty more.
Without a doubt fans of this series should be more than happy with this season. There are plenty of funny episodes and great moments with the cast running into the same kinds of issues as before, but with different people. Things like Frasier's big ego and his neurotic behavior all continue to play a vital role in what makes these characters so fun to watch. Highly Recommended.
1. Momma Mia
2. Father Of The Bride
3. Radio Wars
4. Everyone's A Critic
5. The Dog That Rocks The Cradle
7. A Tsar Is Born
8. The Late Dr. Crane
9. The Apparent Trap
10. Back Talk
11. The Fight Before Christmas
13. They're Playing Our Song
14. Big Crane On Campus
15. Out With Dad
16. Something About Dr. Mary
17. Whine Club
18. Hot Pursuit
19. Morning Becomes Entertainment
20. To Thine Old Self Be True
21. The Three Faces Of Frasier
22. Dark Side Of The Moon
23. Something Borrowed, Someone Blue
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 and there are also some hints of edge enhancement.
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. As for the stereo setup, there is little distinction between left and right channels. This release also supports closed captioning.
There are no extras included with this release.
As usual, I was more than happy with this season. The episodes kept me laughing and while I've seen them before, I still laughed and on more than a few occasions I found myself rewinding to watch a segment or joke over again. This season is a delight and should keep fans of the series happy. With the cast giving such great performances and having a wonderful chemistry together, it's hard not to enjoy every moment this season has to offer.