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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Frasier: Season Two
Frasier: Season Two
Paramount // Unrated // January 6, 2004
List Price: $49.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted January 23, 2004 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

In an era where television is dominated by "reality TV", it has become more and more difficult for a sitcom to prosper. "Frasier" has not only been successful for nearly a decade, but achieved the rare feat of having a character pull an audience from one show to another - something that the "Seinfeld" cast members weren't able to do. As many know, "Frasier" tells the continuing stories of Dr. Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer), the popular "Cheers" character who offered his take on the characters sitting across the Boston-based bar. After "Cheers" ended, Frasier headed across the country to Seattle, where he took the job of radio host, offering advice to those who called in (including many celebrity voice cameos).

Surrounding Frasier is snobby brother Niles (the brilliant David Hyde Pierce), his grumpy father and former police officer (terrific stage-and-screen actor John Mahoney) and a few other supporting players, such as a caretaker for Frasier's father (Jane Leeves) and Frasier's co-worker, Roz (Peri Gilpin, replacing Lisa Kudrow from "Friends", who was originally cast).

"Frasier" is now entering its 10th year, and the show continues to hold on to an audience on Tuesday nights, enough so that not only have some of the original writers and producers been brought back into the fold, but talks about another season of the show are reportedly continuing. Although the show may not be quite as consistent as it was in its finest hours (as the director/writers note in their commentary, some of the elements of comedy, such as the more snippy relationship between Roz and Niles and how Niles loved Daphne from afar, have been left behind due to new plot developments) mid-way through the run, the chemistry of the cast is still impressive and the writing is still often sharp and intelligent. Some of the plots have started to seem familiar after ten years, but the show often comes up with inspired new stories for the characters.

The second season of "Frasier" is one of the show's best, containing some great episodes it was nice to view again after a few years. The opener, "Slow Tango in South Seattle" has Frasier furious after learning that an early romantic escapade with a piano teacher has become the basis of a book by an old friend. "The Show Where Sam Shows Up" brings back Ted Danson in his "Cheers" Sam Malone role, but Danson's performance is outshined by an early Tea Leoni as the woman that Sam is thinking about marrying. "The Unkindest Cut" has Eddie escaping from an appointment to be fixed. "Flour Child" highlights David Hyde Pierce, whose Niles character experiments with the idea of fatherhood by carrying around a 10-pound sack of flour. "The Botched Language Of Cranes" has Frasier offending Seattle when he tells a caller to "move away" to try and restart her life. His attempts to make-up to the city fail terribly. "Adventures in Paradise" has Frasier's ex, Lilith, returning when Frasier takes his new girlfriend on vacation. "Seat of Power" has the Crane brothers calling on plumbers (including John C. McGinley of "Scrubs"), who happen to be the same bullies that made the Crane's lives miserable - including sticking their heads in the toilet ("There goes Crane, down the drain.") - when they were kids.

25. Slow Tango In South Seattle
26. The Unkindest Cut of All
27. The Matchmaker
28. Flour Child
29. Duke's, We Hardly Knew You
30. The Botched Language Of Cranes
31. The Candidate
32. Adventures In Paradise, Part 1
33. Adventures In Paradise, Part 2
34. Burying A Grudge
35. Seat Of Power
36. Roz In The Doghouse
37. Retirement Is Murder
38. Fool Me Once, Shame On You, Fool Me Twice...
39. You Scratch My Book...
40. The Show Where Sam Shows Up
41. Daphne's Room (a.k.a. A Room With A View)
42. The Club
43. Someone To Watch Over Me
44. Breaking The Ice
45. An Affair To Forget
46. Agents In America, Part III
47. The Innkeepers
48. Dark Victory


The DVD

VIDEO: All of the episodes of "Frasier" in this second season are presented in the show's original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio. The episodes are presented across the set's 4 DVDs. The picture quality is about broadcast quality; while sharpness, detail and clarity are perfectly fine, there were a few minor issues otherwise.

With the episodes spread out across four discs, there were only a couple of minor instances of compression artifacts spotted. These instances were hardly noticable, but unfortunately, some mild shimmering was. No edge enhancement was spotted, nor were there any instances of debris or wear visible (although I'm guessing these were video transfers). Colors appeared accurate and natural throughout, with fine saturation and detail.

SOUND: "Frasier" is presented here in the show's original 2.0 audio. These are simple soundtracks, with clear dialogue and little in the way of background ambience or other sound effects. Still, clarity is perfectly satisfactory.

EXTRAS: Director David Lee and writer Joe Keenan provide commentary for "The Matchmaker". The two offer a decent overview of the creation of the episode, from pitching the idea to casting. There were a few quiet moments, but overall, this was a pretty good track. "Marching on to Season 2" is a 6-minute featurette that has the show's creators discussing the changes and transitions made in the jump to the show's second season. "Mystery of Maris" looks at the continuing lack of appearances by Niles's wife, Maris. "The Niles and Daphne Attraction" focuses on the love from afar situation for Niles. Other featurettes include "Roz's Dating Tips", "Celebrity Voices" and "And Then There Was Eddie".

Final Thoughts: The second season of "Frasier" includes plenty of highlights, as the character relationships were fine-tuned, the plots inspired and the performances superb. Paramount's DVD edition provides some decent supplements, but good audio/video quality. Recommended.

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