The Premiere Episodes
For those unfamiliar with the series, Frasier was a spin-off from another popular sitcom Cheers. It 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. For more detail about this series please refer to DVD Talk's reviews of season one, season two, season three, season four, season five, season six, season seven, and the final season.
This review covers Frasier - The Premiere Episodes and it is disc one from the full season one set. The release is intended to be a sampler of what the full season set is like. After watching the premiere episodes, you will be able to determine if there is further interest. This release is great for casual viewers who are considering investing money into the full season sets and not quite sure. "The Premiere Episodes" include the first six episodes from season one. The episodes include "The Good Son", "Space Quest", "Dinner at Eight", "I Hate Frasier Crane", "Here's Looking at You", and "The Crucible".
In the series pilot episode "The Good Son", Dr. Frasier Crane had recently relocated to his home town in Seattle, Washington. Frasier reunites with his goofy brother Niles, Martin moves in with Frasier, along with the live-in physical therapist Daphne Moon, and he gets accustomed to his new job as a radio talk show host with his producer Roz Doyle. In this episode, the cast is introduced, along with all of their personality quirks and cleverly dynamic together. Frasier's beginning is a solid introduction to a fine sitcom.
The remaining episodes follow storylines expanding the characters, their situations, and their relationships: "Space Quest", Frasier deals with having Martin and Daphne living in the house--no privacy, "Dinner at Eight", Frasier and Niles take Martin to out for a gourmet meal, but their reservation is lost and they go to the Timber Mill, a place far from the Crane boy's social circle, "I Hate Frasier Crane", Frasier's ego gets the best of him when a newspaper columnist criticizes him, "Here's Looking at You", Martin and a woman named Irene watch each other with telescopes and Frasier butts in, and "The Crucible", Frasier's ego kicks him in the butt (again) when he finds out a rare painting he has been showing off is a fake.
What is great about these episodes (and the remaining episodes in season one) is the quirky, neurotic humor the characters provide individually and with each other. Both Frasier and Niles are great characters; they are utterly ridiculous. Putting Martin with them, a near-polar opposite personality makes for a great conflict. Daphne and Roz also offer great performances. The stories introduce genuine humor dealing with Frasier and his ego, Frasier and everyone else getting used to their new life, and fitting in with each other.
Overall, I was happy re-watching the first six episodes of Frasier. They are a fun bunch of characters and the episodes are solid. Casual viewers who are just getting into the show this release is a great introduction. But fans should probably look at the full season one set and if you already own season one, this release offers nothing new. It is the same as disc one from the full set.
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.
This release also supports closed captioning.
For extras, there are two items included. The first is an audio commentary with David Lee and Peter Casey for the pilot episode "Good Son". They talk about the episode and series in general (creation, production, casting, characters, storylines, etc.) It is a decent commentary and unfortunately the only commentary for the entire series. The last extra is "Celebrity Voices", which is a montage of scenes with celebrity guest stars calling in Frasier's radio show.
Frasier is a wonderful television comedy that I have enjoyed watching for many years. The six episodes included in Frasier - The Premiere Episodes are an exciting introduction to the series for casual viewers and newcomers. Both of whom should look into purchasing this release to get acquainted with the characters and show. It is recommended for those individuals. However, if you are a fan or already own the full season one set, then don't buy this release. The contents are exactly the same as the first disc one in the full set.