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.