The Ninth Season
Frasier was a spin-off series from the popular sitcom Cheers. It is about Cheers' character Dr. Frasier Crane, a neurotic radio psychiatrist and his exploits with Dr. Niles Crane (David Hyde Pierce), brother and fellow neurotic psychiatrist, Martin Crane (John Mahoney), father and retired police officer, Daphne Moon (Jane Leeves), Martin's physical therapist, and Roz Doyle (Peri Gilpin), radio producer and longtime friend. For more detail about this series please refer to DVD Talk's reviews of the premiere episodes, season one, season two, season three, season four, season five, season six, season seven, season eight, and the final season.
In season nine, the antics of Frasier and company's daily lives continue to be hilarious. Some of the fun moments include Frasier rejoining his former buddies from Cheers, Niles and Daphne's engagement, Daphne's mother and loopy brother visiting, and Frasier's feud with neighbor Cam Winston. There are also some dramatic stories about Roz fearing that she won't have anyone and Martin going back to work. All in all, season nine has several hilarious and fun moments.
Beginning the season is the two-part episode "Don Juan In Hell". In season eight, Frasier put a lot of effort into helping Lana's son Kirby do well in school. The effort was to get on Lana's good side and the reward was to get fixed up with her friend Claire. But during the season eight finale, Frasier realized his feelings for Lana. In the season nine premiere, he tries to decide if he wants to be with Lana or Claire. The situation is a pickle for Frasier and has guest stars Bebe Neuwirth and Shelley Long playing ghosts of his psyche.
Niles and Daphne's relationship continues to be a key storyline this season. In the two-part episode "Mother Load", they decide to move in together. Complications arise when Daphne's mother Gertrude (Millicent Martin) and brother Simon (Anthony LaPaglia, Murder One) show up. The Moons are a handful for everyone, but they also spice up the comedy. "The Proposal" is a great episode where Niles decides to propose to Daphne. This classic episode has some great moments, which include Niles and Frasier shopping for the engagement ring and a goofy wedding proposal that is perfect for a sitcom.
In "The Return Of Martin", the show gets a little serious when Martin prepares to go back to work as a security guard. Frasier and Niles worry about how it will affect their father, going back to work. It leads to Martin reminiscing about when he was shot. It is a tough issue for him to deal with and all of the bickering between Niles, Daphne, Frasier, and Roz do not help the matter. "The Guilt Tripper" is another serious episode about Roz and her feelings. Roz has a tough time dealing with her boyfriend Roger breaking up with her. Matters are complicated further when she and Frasier sleep together.
"Cheerful Goodbyes" is a great episode that intermixes select cast members from Frasier and Cheers. Frasier takes Niles, Martin, and Daphne to Boston with the intent of showing Niles his former city. However, their plans change when Frasier finds out Cliff (John Ratzenberger) is having a retirement party. At the party are other familiar faces from Cheers like Carla (Rhea Pearlman) and Norm (George Wendt). What makes it a fun episode is how well the chemistry between both casts work together.
Another fun aspect this season is Frasier's feud with neighbor Cam Winston (Brian Strokes Mitchell). In "Mother Load", Frasier gets Cam in a lot of hot water with the condo association regarding his Hum Vee. Cam strikes back by making Frasier look unpatriotic. "The Love You Fake" is another episode with Frasier and Cam butting heads. Cam's mother Cora (Emily Yancy) and Martin pretend to be in love so that the boys will play nice. What makes the Frasier-Cam relationship fun is how similar they are to each other.
Some other fun things that happen this season include Frasier getting grilled by a group of teenagers on Teen Scene, the 200th episode of Fraiser where Frasier celebrates his 2000th radio show, Frasier's interview with Bill Gates, Lilith's conman brother (Michael Keaton) visiting and conning Frasier, Bebe assigns Frasier a junior agent who is also her secretary, and more. Overall, this season of Frasier is a strong collection of episodes with lots of good stories, crazy antics, and fun guest stars. In the end, it is a must own.
1. Don Juan In Hell: Shelley Long and Bebe Neuwirth reprise their Cheers roles as Diane and Lilith in fantasy sequences in which they try to help Frasier resolve a romantic quandary.
2. The First Temptation Of Daphne: Jealousy besets Daphne over Niles' patient (Michelle Stafford), a charming and winsome business exec who apparently adores him. TV personality Mary Hart appears as herself.
3. The Return Of Martin Crane: Flashbacks recall Martin's fateful last day as a cop while he readies for a new job amid squabbles over who now has to walk Eddie.
4. Love Stinks: To change his snooty image, Frasier hosts a staff party. And, speaking of image, Roz frets over her romance with a garbageman. Also, Daphne dotes on Niles' childhood mementos, much to his chagrin.
5. Room Full Of Heroes: On Halloween, Frasier hosts a come-as-your-hero costume party. He impersonates Freud; Roz is Wonder Woman; and Niles is...Martin, who's masquerading as Joe DiMaggio.
6. Bla-Z-Boy: Accidents will happen. That's as good an excuse as any for what befalls Frasier's carpet---and Martin's beloved old chair. Also, Niles gives piano lessons to Roz (who's good) and Daphne (who's not).
7. The Two Hundredth Episode: Microsoft's Bill Gates guest stars on Frasier's 2000th radio broadcast, an event clouded by a flap over a missing tape of an earlier show
8. Sharing Kirby: Wine snobbery obsesses the Crane boys, who vie to see a legendary collection of vintages accessible to Frasier's annoying former tutee (Brian Klugman).
9. Junior Agent: An unwelcome but persevering new agent (Kristin Chenoweth) plays a key role in Frasier's battle against a rival radio shrink.
10. Bully For Martin: A bullying boss (M. Emmet Walsh) ruffles Martin at his new job, but the last thing he needs is Frasier's meddlesome mediation.
11. Mother Load (Part 1): A visit from Daphne's overbearing mum (Millicent Martin) and loutish brother (Anthony LaPaglia) ruffles the Cranes.
12. Mother Load (Part 2): Conclusion. Tempers flare between Daphne and her disparaging mum, and Frasier and his defiant neighbor (Brian Stokes Mitchell).
13. Juvenilia: To attract the youth market, Frasier appears on the station's Teen Scene, where he's grilled by impertinent high-school journalists.
14. The Proposal: A choir, a string quartet and a trumpeter figure in Niles' elaborate plans to propose to Daphne.
15. Wheels Of Fortune: Michael Keaton guest stars as Lilith's brother, a consummate con artist whose conversion to selflessness doesn't convince Frasier.
16. Three Blind Dates: Allison Janney (The West Wing) plays a feisty artist, one of three blind dates lined up for Frasier by his meddling family and Roz.
17. War Of The Words: A-N-X-I-E-T-Y seizes Frasier at the National Spelling Bee, where his son Frederick (Trevor Einhorn) is a leading competitor.
18. Deathtrap: Childhood memories engulf Frasier and Niles as they visit the home of their youth and unearth evidence of what they believe to be a murder.
19. The Love You Fake: To quell a feud between Frasier and an upstairs antagonist, Martin and the neighbor's mom (Emily Yancy) feign a romance.
20. Cheerful Goodbyes: Rhea Perlman, George Wendt and John Ratzenberger re-create their Cheers roles as Frasier and company visit Boston.
21. Frasier Has Spokane: Syndication dreams lure Frasier to Spokane, where his replacement of a beloved local icon (Bill Hayes) receives hisses from callers.
22. The Guilt Trippers: Guilt feelings over a sexual liaison with Roz plague Frasier, who heads out to her family reunion in Wisconsin to make amends.
23. Moons Over Seattle: Well-intentioned Niles reunites Daphne's estranged parents, whose quarreling hits new heights.
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.
If you haven't figured it out by now, Frasier is one of my favorite television sitcoms. I love the cast's chemistry, the superior writing, the witty dialogue, and the general fun atmosphere. Frasier is a great show. As for season nine, I have seen these episodes before and I found them to be just as fun as the first time. There are several key developments for the cast and a strong lineup of guest stars. Overall, this season is a lot of fun and it comes highly recommended.