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Paramount Home Video presents

Frasier: The Complete Sixth Season (1998)

"Yes, Niles, we just eloped. I'm your new mom."- Roz (Peri Gilpin)

Stars: Kelsey Grammer
Other Stars: David Hyde Pierce, John Mahoney, Jane Leeves, Peri Gilpin, Dan Butler, Saul Rubinek, Amy Brenneman, Virginia Madsen, Teri Hatcher
Director: various

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (adult situations)
Run Time: 08h:48m:00s
Release Date: 2005-09-13
Genre: television

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Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
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Extras
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A+ A+BB- D-

 

DVD Review

Now that "Frasier has left the building" after a whopping 11 seasons on the air, there's nothing left to do but reflect on just how wonderful the show was. Seemingly improving season-after-season, Frasier was arguably more successful than the show that spawned it, Cheers. While it kind of hit a rut creatively near the end of its run (only to rebound with an excellent final season), the sixth season found Frasier in its prime, with the Emmys still being awarded hand-over-fist to seemingly everyone who was involved with the show, and the ratings still very high.

For those experiencing this great series for the first time, the basic premise involves Cheers' brainiest patron, Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer) leaving Boston and moving to Seattle, Washington to live with his disabled father, Martin (John Mahoney). Also living nearby is his brother, Niles (David Hyde Pierce), who is married to Maris (whom we never see once during the series long run), but secretly longs for his father's live-in-physical therapist/housekeeper, Daphne (Jane Leeves). In Seattle, Frasier hosts his own psychology-themed radio show, with his producer Roz (Peri Gilpin) making up the other member of the series' main cast. Also prominently featured in the artwork for Frasier: The Complete Sixth Season, although not always considered one of the show's principal players, is Bob "Bulldog" Briscoe (Dan Butler), the radio station's sports personality and a male chauvinist pig who would like nothing more than to spend a night in Roz's bed.

Naturally, all of these characters have evolved during the course of five rounds of episodes, with Season Six finding many of them at a crossroads in their lives. Niles is separated from Maris, and is seemingly too wrapped up in his inevitable divorce to finally bring his feelings for Daphne out into the open. Meanwhile, Niles' lawyer, Donny (Saul Rubinek), takes a liking to Daphne, eventually proposing to her and sending his client into a tailspin. Season Six featured some of David Hyde Pierce's best moments, with Niles seemingly receiving equal time now that his rocky marriage was a major plot point. His physical comedy and deadpan skills have always been his strongest assets, and Pierce has ample screen time to show them off. His work for this season earned Pierce his third Emmy statue (he took home a total of four during the show's lifespan), and solidified his place among television comedy's elite.

Frasier isn't without his problems, especially when it comes to his love life. Watching him fall for a beautiful woman at least five times a season, only to watch him find a way to screw the relationship up is one of the more frustrating aspects of the show, but it also reels us in by making us believe that each successive female is "the one" for him. Season six sees the good doctor meeting such beauties as Faye (Amy Brenneman), Cassandra (a pre-Sideways Virginia Madsen), and Marie (Teri Hatcher). Whether the lady in question is a "patient" that Frasier knew as a child (Marie in First, Do No Harm), or the good doctor has to decide between two of them (Cassandra and Faye in When a Man Loves Two Women), you just know that he is going to find some outrageous way to botch up a good thing.

We've seen some of Frasier's old bar buddies from Cheers show up from time to time, namely Sam, Lilith, and Diane, but this season brings Woody (Woody Harrelson) to Seattle in the appropriately titled, The Show Where Woody Shows Up. Harrelson proves that he hasn't lost any of his old character's charm or mannerisms, making himself at home in Frasier's bachelor pad and giving him the impression that his stay might not be a very brief one. Critics hailed this as one of the best episodes of the season, and Harrelson was even nominated for an Emmy for his performance.

There's a plethora of fine episodes in season six. The season kicks off with Good Grief, a reflective story that finds Frasier going through the infamous stages of death after his radio station's format switch has left him (and Roz) jobless. Niles takes his first pending-bachelorhood stab at Daphne in Dial M for Martin, when he tries to get his dad to move in with him in the hopes that she would join him.

How to Bury a Millionaire is Niles' first venture into humble living. This episode finds him moving into the run-down Shangri-La Apartments and toning down his luxurious appetite as well. Decoys continues the theme of Niles at his most desperate, when he arranges for a pair of couples, including himself, Daphne, and Donny, to spend the weekend at a cabin. His master plan that, not surprisingly, goes awry involves the couples being rearranged so that he winds up in bed with Daphne. The sixth season concludes with an excellent two-parter, Shut Out in Seattle. This finishes the season off with the strangest relationship pairings yet: Niles and a woman many years his junior, and Roz and Bulldog—a fitting ending indeed.

Rating for Style: A+
Rating for Substance: A+

 

Image Transfer

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


Image Transfer Review: These episodes appear in their original full frame aspect ratios, with decent sharpness and image detail throughout. As it did on TV, the overall image quality seems to be improving as the seasons go, with colors appearing a bit more rich and vibrant than in past sets. There are a few pixels that stand out, but little to no grain, dirt, or other print flaws.

Image Transfer Grade: B
 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 2.0 audio is almost entirely dialogue-centric, and it delivers hands-down in that department. The rest of the sound is very low-key, with the sporadic music being the only element to branch our to the satellite speakers. Overall, everything is integrated nicely into a pleasing mix.

Audio Transfer Grade: B- 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 23 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English
4 Other Trailer(s) featuring MacGyver: The Complete Fourth Season, Charmed: The Complete Third Season, The Brady Bunch: The Complete Fourth Season, Airplane!: Don't Call Me Shirley Edition
Packaging: Box Set
Picture Disc
4 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: Unfortunately, the only extra is a collection of Previews for other Paramount Home Video releases.

Extras Grade: D-
 

Final Comments

Frasier: The Complete Sixth Season puts us slightly halfway through the series' lengthy run, and Frasier and company have never been better. Unfortunately, Paramount Home Video hasn't exactly stepped up their DVD effort, as far as the extra features go. The audio and video is adequate, though, and those who have enjoyed the previous seasonal box sets will be able to live with this collection as well.

Chuck Aliaga 2005-09-13