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HTF REVIEW: Frasier - The Complete Second Season

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#1 of 14 OFFLINE   Scott Kimball

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Posted January 04 2004 - 06:31 AM

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Frasier: The Complete Second Season



Studio: Paramount

Year: 1994-95

Rated: NR

Length: 9 hours, 13 minutes

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Audio: DD 2.0 English

No Subtitles

Special Features: Celebrity Voices, Commentary on "The Matchmaker", 5 featurettes
Release Date: January 6, 2004





Frasier may have “jumped the shark” a couple years back, when
Niles and Daphne got married,
and it may have been on weak legs for a season or so before that - but these, the early seasons of Frasier are original and funny. Season two is among the most consistently funny seasons of a television sitcom I’ve seen.

The writing in season two was fresh and original. The actors had settled into their roles, and the show developed the Crane brothers relationship far more than in the first season. It is this relationship which would come to define the series.

There really isn’t a clinker in the whole season, but here are the episodes that stand out for me.

“The Matchmaker”
Frasier, wanting to set Daphne up on a date with his new station manager, invites the manager to dinner, unaware that he is gay. The humor may be obvious, but it’s funny, anyway.

“Flour Child”
Niles, desperately trying to ready himself for eventual fatherhood, begins to carry a ten pound bag of flour around as a child, for practice. This is a showcase for David Hyde Pierce, and he turns in an outstanding comic performance.

“Duke’s, We Hardly Knew Ye”
Frasier and Niles discover that they are investors in the development group that is planning to tear down Martin’s favorite hangout.

“The Botched Language of Cranes”
Frasier insults the whole of Seattle on his radio program.

“Adventures in Paradise”
Frasier takes his new lady friend to Bora Bora, only to find Lilith there. Diane Chambers also appears, briefly.

“Seat of Power”
Frasier calls a plumber to fix his toilet. The plumber happens to be a former school yard bully who used to pick on Niles, while the plumbers helper used to be Frasier’s childhood nemesis.

“Roz in the Doghouse”
Roz leaves Frasier’s show to produce for Bulldog. Bulldog wants more than a producer.

“The Show Where Sam Shows Up”
Sam Malone comes to town after running out on his wedding. This show also settles some continuity errors that arose between the Cheers and Frasier shows.

“Daphne’s Room”
Frasier accidentally invades Daphne’s privacy - three times.

“An Affair to Forget”
This episode contains one of the funniest scenes I’ve ever seen on television. Niles takes up a sword in defense of Maris’ honor - against a man who doesn’t speak English. Three languages are used in the scene. Niles speaks English to Frasier, who speaks Spanish to the maid, who speaks German to Gunnar, the German swordsman.

“The Innkeepers”
Fraiser and Niles open a restaurant, and create new meanings for the word “disaster.”

The Video

The Video for Frasier season two is good, but not without its problems. Contrast is high, with good definition in the whites as well as in the shadows. The picture is fairly sharp. The DVD does allow you to notice things that you may not have noticed on broadcasts - like the use of split-diopter lenses in some deep focus scenes. Colors are well saturated. There is some apparent high-frequency filtering, along with artifacts such as occasional aliasing and mosquito noise. These problems are minor, though. These episodes look better than you’ve seen on television.

The Audio

The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0. Not much to say, here. There is good frequency response. Dialog sounds great and is pinned front and center. Music sounds excellent, with good bass response. Surrounds are used primarily for music reverb and laugh track.

Special Features

Disc 1

Commentary
on “The Matchmaker” by director David Lee and writer Joe Keenan. This commentary focuses mostly on the writing of the episode, and on writing “farce” in general. Topics also include casting and editing.

Celebrity Voices (3:42)
Lily Tomlin, Amy Madigan, Alfre Woodard, Sandra Dee


Disc 2

Celebrity Voices
(4:25)
Sydney Pollack, Kevin Bacon, Betty Comden, Adolph Green, Carly Simon, Rosie Perez


Disc 3

Celebrity Voices
(2:36)
Mary Steenburgen, Gary Sinise


Disc 4

Marching on to Season 2
(6:00)
Interview with Peter Casey and David Lee, with clips.
Discussion focuses on the expanding of the brother relationship; a “calmer” and more mature Frasier; the best, most consistent season.

The Mystery of Maris Continues (3:08)
Brief comments from Peter Casey and David Lee, and David Hyde Pierce precede comic clips about Maris

Roz’s Dating Tips (2:52)
Kelsey Grammer comments, with Roz clips

The Niles and Daphne Attraction (4:06)
Peter Casey & David Lee and Jane Leeves comments with clips

And Then There Was Eddie (4:53)
John Mahoney comments on the highly trained “Eddie.” The only scene stealer in the cast. Followed by clips.

Celebrity Voices (3:06)
Glenne Headly, John Lithgow, Shelley Duvall


Final Thoughts
Paramount delivers an adequate presentation of one of the best seasons of Frasier on DVD for fans of the show. Picture and sound are good for the genre, and there are a few interesting extras.

#2 of 14 OFFLINE   Joseph J.D

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Posted January 04 2004 - 03:17 PM

Good review Scott. I will be buying this set. However, I am continually disappointed in Paramount for not providing enough extras in their TV product. Cheers, Frasier and their Star Trek sets are really lackluster in this area....They should take a look at sets like the Highlander series which are packed with material- audio & video commentaries, interviews with cast & crew, gag reels, deleted scenes, scripts, etc. You'd think a big company such as Paramount could match something like that. Posted Image
Recently watched- Simon & Simon: Season 3, Lost: Season 5, I Am Legend, Krull, The Beast Within, Subspecies, Lost: Season 4, District 9, Lost: Season 3, The Warrior's Way, The Twilight Zone: Season 1, Godzilla 3D, The Walking Dead: Season 4, Lost: Season 2, Dracula(1979), Lost: Season 1, True Grit(2010)

Currently watching- Planet Earth, Cheers: Season 6, True Blood: Season 2, Gatchaman: The Complete Series, The Equalizer: Season 2, Lost: Season 6, Tales From The Crypt: Season 2
 

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#3 of 14 OFFLINE   Richard Hardbattle

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Posted January 05 2004 - 09:02 PM

Thanks for the spoiler in the first line of the review - I didn't know that........Posted Image


Rich

#4 of 14 OFFLINE   Sam Davatchi

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Posted January 06 2004 - 09:09 PM

Quote:
Thanks for the spoiler in the first line of the review - I didn't know that........
Exactly. I didn’t know that also and you spoiled a major thing for me. It’s with all due respect but why do you have to spoil a major thing that comes in a later season in the first line of a review that is 5 lines! Again, with all due respect, not spoiling people in an official review would be the very least I would be expecting from an official HTF review.

#5 of 14 OFFLINE   Richard Hardbattle

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Posted January 06 2004 - 11:17 PM

Please Scott, although you've already spoiled it for me, can you hide this with spoiler tags?

#6 of 14 OFFLINE   Scott Kimball

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Posted January 07 2004 - 02:31 AM

Here in the US, the "spoiler" in question was so highly promoted on NBC before the episode aired, it was not a surprise to anyone... so I didn't consider it a spoiler.

Still, I've put it in spoiler tags.

#7 of 14 OFFLINE   Dane Marvin

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Posted January 07 2004 - 05:51 AM

Let me be the first to say thank you for the review, Scott. I knew virtually nothing about the show until buying and watching the first season. But, of the things I DID know going in, one of them was the spoiler in question. However, I guess there are those silly Europeans. Posted Image

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Looking forward to this set! Perhaps I'll buy it today.

#8 of 14 OFFLINE   FrankT

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Posted January 07 2004 - 12:40 PM

I would not worry about the spoiler. I would have did the same thing myself. Good review.

#9 of 14 OFFLINE   MatthewLouwrens

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Posted January 07 2004 - 02:57 PM

Quote:
“The Show Where Sam Shows Up”
Sam Malone comes to town after running out on his wedding. This show also settles some continuity errors that arose between the Cheers and Frasier shows.
Was this the thing where Frasier said in an episode of Cheers that his father was dead? I know that was an issue, I never heard anything about them clearing up the problem. What was the answer, in the end, if I could ask?
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#10 of 14 OFFLINE   David Williams

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Posted January 07 2004 - 04:55 PM

Quote:
What was the answer, in the end, if I could ask?

It was something like: Frasier and Martin weren't speaking at the time, and Frasier was really upset so he told everyone that his father was dead.
"Only two things are infinite––the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not so sure about the universe." ––Albert Einstein

#11 of 14 OFFLINE   Sam Davatchi

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Posted January 07 2004 - 07:01 PM

I have already said this in another topic but here it goes again. Frasier is like the big revelation and surprise of the last year for me. I like it even more than Cheers. I’m watching one episode of Frasier season 2 and one episode of Cheers season 2 concurrently right now. The first few episodes of Cheers season 2 is throwing me off with the 2 leads’ relationship! YAK! Hopefully I will enjoy Cheers more when Frasier enters!

#12 of 14 OFFLINE   Scott Kimball

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Posted January 08 2004 - 12:25 AM

Sam,
Cheers did take longer to find its legs than Frasier did. Give it time. It evolved into a great show... though not generally as funny as Frasier.

-Scott

#13 of 14 OFFLINE   MatthewLouwrens

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Posted January 08 2004 - 10:47 AM

Quote:
It was something like: Frasier and Martin weren't speaking at the time, and Frasier was really upset so he told everyone that his father was dead.
Thanks. That makes sense.
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#14 of 14 OFFLINE   Casey Trowbridg

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Posted January 08 2004 - 11:11 AM

The funniest part of that episode for me was when Niles met Sam, who said "I didn't know you had a brother." Frasier also mentioned in Cheers episodes about his father being a scientist, which they handled in this episode.

I love this show, I have this set and am 3/4 of the way done. I prefer this show to Cheers, but I will buy them both.

Thanks for the review.


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