CHEERS - THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON focuses on the colorful staff and offbeat patrons of a friendly Boston bar where "everybody knows your name." Starring Shelley Long as Diane Chambers and Ted Danson as Sam Malone, Cheers co-stars Nick Colasanto as "Coach," Rhea Perlman as Carla Tortelli, John Ratzenberger as Cliff and George Wendt as Norm
For its fourth season, Cheers
served up a new bartender. Following the death of Nicholas Colasanto, who had played Coach, the season premiere introduced Woody Boyd (Woody Harrelson), the Indiana hick who certainly didn't raise the bar's collective IQ but had his own brand of endearing goofiness. That episode, "Birth, Death, Love and Rice," also explained what happened at the end of season 3 when Sam (Ted Danson) chased Diane (Shelley Long) and Frasier (Kesley Grammer) to Italy in hopes of preventing their marriage. The end result is that Diane returns to work at the bar and resumes her sexually charged flirtation with Sam, and Frasier becomes a brooding presence always looking for a way to win her back. Jennifer Tilly guest-stars as one of Sam's ex-girlfriends who actually hits it off with the petulant psychiatrist, but stealing the show in the same episode ("Second Time Around") was Dr. Lilith Sternin (Bebe Neuwirth), in what was supposed to be a five-minute one-shot role. The impossibly buttoned-up Sternin was such a perfect match for Frasier that she later became a regular cast member and won two Emmys.
In other memorable episodes, Andy Andy (Derek McGrath) returns to terrorize Diane ("Diane's Nightmare"), the gang tries to turn the tables on Gary's Old Town Tavern in a bowling match ("From Beer to Eternity"), and Frasier sets up a night at the opera ("Diane Chambers Day"). In the three-part season finale ("Strange Bedfellows"), Sam begins dating a politician (Kate Mulgrew, later of Star Trek: Voyager) running for reelection. Diane decides to work for her opponent before taking a more drastic step, leading to Sam's memorable telephone call that served as a cliffhanger leading to season 5. Unlike previous seasons, the DVD set has no extras. --David Horiuchi