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Paramount Studios presents

Frasier: The Complete First Season (1993-1994)

"Frasier, have we lost the ability to actually enjoy the simple things in life: steaks, potatoes, fixin's?"- Niles Crane (David Hyde Pierce)

Stars: Kelsey Grammar, David Hyde Pierce, John Mahoney, Jane Leeves, Peri Gilpin, Moose
Other Stars: Joe Mantegna, Bebe Neuwirth, Dan Butler, Harriet Sansom Harris, Patrick Kerr
Director: Varied

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (suitable for most television audiences)
Run Time: 09h:12m:00s
Release Date: 2003-05-20
Genre: television

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B+ B+B+B+ B-


DVD Review

When Cheers completed its award-winning run on NBC, the character most likely to succeed in a spin-off would not have seemed to be Frasier Crane. Kelsey Grammer did a wonderful job as a supporting character and delivered plenty of memorable moments, but a large question loomed: Could he carry his own series? Surprisingly, Frasier delivered beyond its creators' wildest dreams and has become one of television's most successful series. Sporting numerous Emmy awards, this sitcom cleverly mixes dramatic moments with plenty of fun comedy.

The series' premise involves Frasier separating from Lilith and moving to Seattle to begin a new life. Several months later, he hosts a psychiatry radio call-in show and has acquired an impressive apartment. Sporting "eclectic" furniture and a stunning view of the city, this residence would be the envy of many wealth bachelors. Unfortunately, Frasier's luck begins to change when his father Martin (John Mahoney) is forced to move in with him. They do not have a close relationship and pursue entirely different interests. The partially psychic and striking English woman, Daphne Moon (Jane Leeves), is hired to help the disabled Martin and also moves into the apartment. Silly moments are provided by the dog, Eddie (Moose), who spends much of the time staring at Frasier. The main cast is rounded out by brother Niles (David Hyde Pierce) and veteran radio producer Roz (Peri Gilpin), who enjoys toying with Frasier on the air at every opportunity.

The opening season introduces all of Frasier's key elements, including the celebrity radio voices, Niles' obsession with Daphne, the father/son conflicts, the coffee shop, and the apartment. It's surprising how quickly the cast achieves impressive chemistry. Some of the stories flop, but the actors are top-notch almost all the time. This show is not for everyone's tastes, and it sometimes falls short, but it ranks above many of the sitcoms of its era. Without further discussion, here are the episode descriptions:

Frasier: The Complete First Season (Disc One)

The Good Son
Guest Stars: Linda Hamilton (voice of Claire), Griffin Dunne (voice of Russell)

Following his breakup with Lilith and departure from Boston, Frasier has developed a good life for himself in Seattle. He resides in a modern apartment with a stunning view of the city, and now hosts a psychology radio call-in show with producer Roz. Unfortunately, everything quickly changes when his disabled father Martin needs a place to stay. Before we know it, Frasier is living with his father, the dog Eddie, and the newly hired homecare assistant, Daphne. The show ends with a nasty dramatic fight between Martin and Frasier that immediately lifts the series above the typical sitcom.

A good start! This episode rates 4 out of 5 cups.

Space Quest
Guest Stars: Dan Butler (Bob "Bulldog" Briscoe), Christopher Reeve (voice of Leonard)

Frasier is having considerable trouble finding any personal space to think deep thoughts, read, or find some peace and quiet. When trying to escape from Martin and Daphne at home, Niles bothers him at the coffee shop, and sports nut radio host Bob "Bulldog" Briscoe troubles him at work. The result is another big argument with his father.

This solid episode rates 3 out of 5 cups.

Dinner at Eight
Guest Stars: Patti Lupone (voice of Pam), Laurie Walton (Waitress)

Wanting to spend more time with Martin and to expand his horizons, the brothers decide to take him to a nice restaurant. Unfortunately, when the reservation is lost, Martin takes over and invites them to his favorite dining establishment. The waitress torments Niles and Frasier, and they are able to personally select their steak from the "meat trolley." While satirizing the lower-class restaurant, this story also makes the brothers snobbishness look silly. This episode is also noteworthy for Niles' first meeting with Daphne, who immediately charms the unsuspecting yet married man.

This fun episode rates 3.5 out of 5 cups.

I Hate Frasier Crane
Guest Stars: Judith Ivey (voice of Lorraine), Joe Mantegna (voice of Derek Mann)

Local columnist Derek Mann becomes especially critical of Frasier's radio show, so the good doctor strikes back over the airwaves. This back and forth exchange continues until Mann challenges Frasier to an actual fight. This causes the Cranes to relive a few bad childhood experiences. Joe Mantegna provides the perfect voice for the writer, although he never appears in person. This plot device is nothing new and a bit too predictable.

This episode rates 2.5 out of 5 cups.

Here's Looking at You
Guest Stars: Kathleen Noone (Aunt Patrice)

Once again hoping to make his dad's life more exciting, Frasier buys him a telescope so that he can watch people in other apartments. Initially skeptical, Martin actually strikes up a friendship with a fellow watcher across the way. She agrees to meet, but he worries about what will happen. Meanwhile, Niles arrives with Aunt Patrice, who is a very annoying old woman that no one particularly likes.

This mediocre episode rates 2 out of 5 cups.

The Crucible
Guest Stars: Eugenie Bondurant (Diane), John Rubinstein (Philip Hayson), Rachel Rosenthal (Martha Paxton), Robert Klein (voice of Gary)

Frasier is thrilled by the prospect of owning a painting by Martha Paxton, a local celebrity artist. She arrives at a gathering planned in her honor and ruins everything by claiming the canvas is a forgery. Angered at this humiliation, Frasier returns to the gallery and asks for his money back. When they refuse, he joins Niles to contemplate harsh retribution, with enjoyable results.

This episode rates 3.5 out of 5 cups.

Frasier: The Complete First Season (Disc Two)

Call Me Irresponsible
Guest Stars: Amanda Donahoe (Catherine), Bruno Kirby (voice of Marco), Eddie Van Halen (voice of Hank)

Marco calls the radio station and worries about committing to his long-term relationship with Catherine. Understandably angered by the caller's callous attitude, Frasier jumps on his high horse and tells Marco to end it immediately. When the easily swayed guy complies, Catherine appears at the station looking for answers. Much to Niles' dismay, Frasier actually begins a relationship with the charming woman. Predictably, his code of ethics comes into play, which places the promising relationship in jeopardy. The interplay with the brothers is wonderful here, and Pierce's startled reactions are classic moments.

This episode rates 4 out of 5 cups.

Beloved Infidel
Guest Stars: Pat Crawley (Marion Lawler), JoBeth Williams (voice of Danielle), Julie Gill (Waitress)

While dining at an establishment that they consider below their stature, the Crane brothers see their father out with Marion Lawler, a long-time family friend. Without consulting Martin, they immediately scour their past for a possible affair between the older duo. It is no surprise when their conclusions turn out false. Mahoney shines in this episode, and his final conversation with Grammer is a dramatic highlight.

This episode rates 3 out of 5 cups.

Selling Out
Guest Stars: Dan Butler (Bob "Bulldog" Briscoe), Harriet Sansom Harris (Bebe Glazer), Dr. Joyce Brothers (Herself), Carl Reiner (voice of Roger)

Frasier seems to have very strong principles about not selling out and doing commercials. However, when he hires crazy agent Bebe Glazer, his defenses quickly crumble to her methods. The result is an embarrassing appearance in a nut commercial. I really detest the Glazer character, and the dull story line leads to disastrous results.

Easily the worst of the season. This episode rates 1 out of 5 cups.

Guest Stars: John Glover (Ned Miller), George DelHoyo (Father Mike), Richard Poe ("Chopper" Dave), Jay Leno (voice of Don), Dan Butler (Bob "Bulldog" Briscoe")

We finally meet the other members of the office gang, including "Chopper" Dave, who speaks in a loud traffic voice. They discuss a rumor that someone at the station will be fired soon, and everyone assumes it's going to be Bulldog. Frasier does his usual bungling and states this rumor within earshot of the short-tempered host, and gets in a nasty fight with the boss. Feeling awful for his mistake, Frasier must now try to remedy the situation with his crazy superior, Ned Miller. The plot line is not the most original one, but Dan Butler once again provides some good fun as Bulldog.

This episode rates 3 out of 5 cups.

Death Becomes Him
Guest Stars: June Claman (Aunt Bobbie), Maddie Gorman (Gail), Stephanie Dunham (Mrs. Newman)

In this mediocre entry, the death of Martin's new doctor makes Frasier re-evaluate his own mortality. All evidence points to the doctor having been a healthy guy with no problems. Frasier becomes obsessed with the issue, and even attends the man's shiva to discover more information. The finale is a silly scene, but the overall effect is only average.

This episode rates 2.5 out of 5 cups.

Miracle on Third or Fourth Street
Guest Stars: Dan Butler (Bob "Bulldog" Briscoe), Richard Poe ("Chopper" Dave), Mel Brooks (voice of Tom), Rosemary Clooney (voice of Gladys), Dominick Dunne (voice of Jeff), Ben Stiller (voice of Barry), Eric Stoltz (voice of Don)

Frasier is overjoyed to learn that his son, Frederick, will be coming to Seattle for Christmas, but he quickly becomes despondent when the boy can't make it. After another big argument with dad, he decided to cover for Bulldog and host the show on Christmas Day. All types of depressing callers hit the airwaves, which makes things even worse. Despondent over his plight, Frasier stops at a run-down diner looking for any remedy. The radio moments are hilarious here, but the conclusion is a bit too hokey. It's still a worthwhile entry.

This episode rates 3 out of 5 cups.

Frasier: The Complete First Season (Disc Three)

Guess Who's Coming to Breakfast
Guest Stars: Patrick Kerr (Noel Shempsky), Linda Stephens (Elaine), Patricia Fraser (Marjorie), Piper Laurie (voice of Marianne), Henry Mancini (voice of Al), Elijah Wood (voice of Ethan)

Martin surprises the gang when he asks everyone to vacate the apartment for his date with Elaine, a resident of the building. The night goes very well, and it shocks the Cranes when she stays for breakfast. Frasier's buffoonery continues when he speaks about the relationship during his radio show, which embarrasses Martin and Elaine immensely. Once again, he must try to remedy the situation, with his radio audience observing the whole thing. While not the funniest episode, seeing the always-excellent Mahoney get to do more than just battle his son is always refreshing.

This episode rates 3.5 out of 5 cups.

Can't Buy Me Love
Guest Stars: Dan Butler (Bob "Bulldog" Briscoe), Claire Stansfield (Kristina), Ashley Bank (Renata), Brett Miller (T.J.)

It's time for the bachelor auction, and both Frasier and Bulldog are forced to stand in front of a frenzied mob of girls. Although he rejects the idea of this event, Frasier's mood changes when he's purchased by a stunning model. Unfortunately, their date is postponed and he must spend the evening with her adolescent daughter. Meanwhile, Daphne purchases Bulldog as a sympathy gesture, which leads to a humiliating night for him. Both story lines are entertaining, with the young girl's mocking of Frasier working especially well.

This episode rates 3.5 out of 5 cups.

You Can't Tell a Crook By Its Cover
Guest Stars: Ron Dean (Frank), Katherine McGrath (Linda), Tony Abatemarco (Jimmy), Robert Miano (Rocco)

Frasier claims that he can spot a criminal with his keen mind, which of course spurs Martin, a retired cop, to forge a test for his son. He invites three of his friends over to play poker. Two of them are cops, and the other is a criminal. After Frasier predictably fails the test, Daphne dates the criminal, which causes the Cranes to try and save her. This forgettable episode never really gets off the ground and serves only as passable entertainment.

This episode rates 2 out of 5 cups.

The Show Where Lilith Comes Back
Guest Stars: Bebe Neuwirth (Dr. Lilith Sternin), Timothy Leary (voice of Hank)

You knew it was only a matter of time before Dr. Lilith Sternin made an appearance on this series. Bebe Neuwirth makes a memorable return to the story and injects considerable havoc. While Lilith torments Niles about his silly marriage vows, Daphne suffers from a sever migraine headache. Oddly enough, a spark may still exist between the former husband and wife. Will it lead them anywhere? The answer is fairly obvious in this enjoyable episode.

Lilith's return earns this episode a strong 4 out of 5 cups.

A Midwinter Night's Dream
Guest Stars: Dean Erickson (Eric)

Eric, the coffee shop waiter, asks Daphne for a date, and she immediately falls for him. Meanwhile, Niles' silly attempts to spice up his relationship with his wife, the never-seen Maris, leads to an unfortunate misunderstanding. Trying to resolve the issue, he enlists Daphne to aid him in cooking his wife a romantic dinner. Sadly, a nasty storm curtails the plans, and leaves Daphne and Niles stranded in his house with no power. While she frets over Eric dumping her, he finds it very difficult to concentrate on anything. Frasier and Martin rush to stop the "inevitable event" form occurring.

This episode rates 4 out of 5 cups.

And the Whimper Is . . .
Guest Stars: Harriet Sansom Harris (Bebe Glazer), Patrick Kerr (Noel Shempsky), Jon McMartin (Fletcher Grey)

Roz and Frasier can barely contain their glee after receiving a nomination for the CB award for excellence in radio. Spurred by his annoying agent, they decide to send gifts to all the judges, but then feel guilt when they learn that retiring host, Fletcher Grey, has never won. The awards go much differently than planned, which creates further embarrassment for Dr. Crane.

Frasier and Roz's fun hysteria wins this episode 3.5 out of 5 cups.

Frasier: The Complete First Season (Disc Four)

Give Him the Chair!
Guest Stars: James Greene (Salesman), Malcolm McDowell (voice of Dr. Bruga)

Martin's old, weary chair has driven Frasier crazy for the entire season. He finally decides to surprise his dad and buy him a new, improved one. They purchase a massaging recliner that provides some fun for everyone. Unfortunately, Martin wants nothing of the new chair and demands the return of the original. Frasier must endure another humiliation to retrieve it, which makes this adequate episode more entertaining.

This episode rates 3 out of 5 cups.

Guest Stars: Dan Butler (Bob "Bulldog" Briscoe), Reba McEntire (voice of Rachel), Sara Melson (Carrie)

After forgetting Roz's birthday and numerous other items, Frasier realizes that he's no longer a "spring chicken." Martin warns him not to do anything rash, but this promise becomes difficult when a very attractive 22-year-old saleswoman asks him for a date. Roz and Bulldog can't believe that Frasier turns her down, which makes the doctor rethink the decision.

This episode rates 2.5 out of 5 cups.

Travels with Martin
Guest Stars: Dan Amendolia (Guard), Pamella Gordon (Marvella)

Once again, Frasier is searching for a way to connect with his father. This time he tells Martin that he'll take him anywhere in the world on vacation. Much to his son's surprise, Martin picks a road trip across America in a Winnebago. Niles and Daphne are dragged along to keep the conversation going, but her status becomes difficult when they accidentally leave the country. Now the group must find a way to sneak her back into the United States.

This episode rates 3 out of 5 cups.

Author, Author
Guest Stars: Christine Lahti (voice of Laura), Mako (Sam Tanaka), Luck Hari (Waitress)

Niles has continually searched for a book idea, and it finally arrives in the form of a book with Frasier about sibling relationships. Unfortunately, neither one has anything to say, and they must use the radio show to develop material. Niles is especially silly on the air, but everything seems to be progressing nicely. However, a night holed up in a hotel and a nasty argument change the situation considerably.

This episode rates 3.5 out of 5 cups.

Frasier Crane's Day Off
Guest Stars: Edward Hibbert (Gil Chesterton), Patricia Hearst (voice of Janice), Steve Lawrence (voice of Howard), Edyie Gorme (voice of Lois), Tommy Hilfiger (voice of Robert), Garry Trudeau (voice of Louis), Mary Tyler Moore (voice of Marjorie), Steve Young (voice of Blake)

Frasier has grown extremely sick, and must take a day off from work to recover. The problem centers on substitute Gil Chesterton's desire to steal the doctor's time slot. This issue causes Niles to host the show, but he's also very good at the job. Delirious and drugged, Frasier tries to reclaim his show from everyone. His odd exchanges with callers are some of the sillies moments of the season.

This episode rates 4.5 out of 5 cups.

My Coffee With Niles
Guest Stars: Luck Hari (Waitress)

We have finally reached the last episode of the season, and the lack of any major cliffhanger is a refreshing aspect. Instead, Frasier and Niles spend the entire story at the coffee shop. They fight for tables, talk about happiness, and even tell jokes about the evils of "toast sweat." Frasier and his dad have another big argument, and Niles admits that he has a crush on Daphne. This episode triumphantly ends the season on a high note and represents one of its premier stories.

This episode rates 4.5 out of 5 cups.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Frasier is not the type of series that requires stunning visuals to succeed, which lessens the importance of a top-notch visual transfer. However, it is nice to see an improvement over the original television version, and this release delivers. The colors are clear and bright, and few defects exist throughout the season. The overall result is a seamless viewing experience that fulfills the requirements of this release.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: Music cues do not appear in this series, so the sound mostly consists of dialogue. The 2.0-channel stereo transfer nicely emits the conversations in an understandable manner. The lone music in the closing credits sounds fine, and random sound effects also work effectively. The audio is very centralized, but it springs clearly from the utilized speakers. Now, if they could only find a way to turn off that laugh track....

Audio Transfer Grade: B+ 

Disc Extras

Static menu
1 Documentaries
1 Feature/Episode commentary by executive producers/creators Peter Casey and David Lee on The Good Son
Packaging: Four-fold case
Picture Disc
4 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Frasier Crane's Apartment
  2. Celebrity Voices
Extras Review: The extra features on this four-disc collection are pretty light, but they still offer more than the basic television release. The highlight is Behind the Couch: The Making of Frasier, a 20-minute collection of interviews with the entire cast, and creators Peter Casey and David Lee. They cover each character and its origins, which provides some interesting tidbits. Lisa Kudrow was originally cast as Roz, but was replaced by Peri Gilpin due to creative differences. Completed recently, the interviews showcase everyone's dedication to the series and enjoyment of the material.

The remaining supplements are fairly minor, including a commentary track from Casey and Lee on the pilot episode. They do give some good insights, including their original ideas for the series, but their conversation is only mildly interesting. Frasier Crane's Apartment provides numerous small featurettes about the basic elements of Frasier's residence. Set designer Roy Christopher narrates each segment, and the total running time is about nine minutes. Finally, each disc contains a short Celebrity Voices feature that presents the scenes and reveals the voices included with each moment. Each one lasts for about 3-4 minutes.

Extras Grade: B-

Final Comments

Frasier works surprisingly well in skewering the snobbishness of Frasier and Niles while also satirizing the down-to-earth nature of their father. Each of the actors sometimes fall a bit into caricature, but they usually overcome these issues with impressive performances. Everyone is excellent, but David Hyde Pierce often steals the show from the other talented cast members. Although it seems to be growing tired currently, this series' first season offers an original and entertaining experience.

Dan Heaton 2003-06-23