Thanks to sharp writing and a pitch-perfect ensemble cast, Frasier
became one of the smartest and funniest television shows of the 1990s. Following the 1993 demise of Cheers
, Diane's fussy psychiatrist boyfriend, Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer), seemed an unlikely candidate for a spin-off series, yet the show earned smash ratings and dozens of Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Lead Actor (Grammer) in the very first season. In an inspired bit of casting, Grammer was matched with David Hyde Pierce as his brother and fellow psychiatrist Niles, and the rest of the players included his radio-program manager, Roz (Peri Gilpin), his father, Marty (John Mahoney), his father's physical therapist, Daphne (Jane Leeves), and the dog Eddie (Moose).
In the first season, Frasier and Marty try to learn how to coexist in the same apartment; Niles and Daphne spend a stormy evening in Niles's house; Frasier acquires pushy agent Bebe (Harriet Sansom Harris) and searches for love with Amanda Donohoe among others; his ex-wife Lilith (Bebe Neuwirth) makes a guest appearance; the family takes a cross-country trip in a Winnebago; and the two brothers collaborate on a book.
Bonus features aren't spectacular, but are a cut above many similar DVD sets. Executive producers Peter Casey and David Lee provide a commentary track on the pilot episode. In a 20-minute making-of segment, they and the principal cast members discuss the creation of the show, casting (Lisa Kudrow was the other finalist for the character of Roz), and the mystery of the omni-absent Maris. "Frasier Crane's Apartment" looks at the set and props, and each disc spotlights a few of the celebrity voices that appeared as the radio show's callers. --David Horiuchi
Season One of FRASIER finds the recently divorced Boston psychiatrist, Dr. Frasier Crane (Grammer), at a new place in his life. Last seen gracing the bars of Cheers, Frasier has a new life in his home town of Seattle as a popular radio psychiatrist, which has given him the chance to spread his words of wit and wisdom to the masses. Sharing an apartment with his ex-policeman father, Marty (Mahoney), and his fathers English physical care assistant Daphne (Leeves), Frasier must also cope with his psychiatrist brother Niles (Pierce) and Eddie the dog.