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Frasier - The Ninth Season


TITLE: FRASIER - THE NINTH SEASON


Info:

DVD Release Date: May 15, 2007 (CBS DVD/Paramount)
Color/2001-2002
MSRP: $38.99
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 23 (1 is an one-hour episode)
Running Time: Approx. 8 hours, 47 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; No Subtitles; Closed captioned
Special Features: None


Introduction:

Emmy Award-winner Kelsey Grammer is Frasier -- the hilarious psychiatrist first seen on TV's Cheers and subesequently the star of this smash-hit comedy series. Celebrate Frasier's 200th episode in Season Nine, which has Frasier Crane (Grammer) commemorating his 2,000th radio show on KACL in Seattle. But where, oh where is that one missing that would make Frasier's collection of radio programs complete? Martin (John Mahoney) lands a job as a night-shift security guard, while Niles (David Hyde Pierece) and Daphne (Jane Leeves) must endure an overseas visit from her conniving mother Gertrude and lecherous brother Simon. And Roz (Peri Gilpin) is swept off her feet by a charming and handsome new boyfriend, but is less than thrilled with his career choice: he's a garbageman! Enjoy unending laughs -- as well as Frasier's reunion with some of his pals from Cheers in Boston -- with Frasier: The Ninth Season!


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

Frasier's ninth season premiered with a one-hour episode on September 25, 2001. It was pushed back one week due to the terrorist attacks of September 11th, in which series co-creator and executive producer David Angell was killed. It aired Tuesdays at 9:00-9:30 P.M. on NBC. Frasier moved up in the ratings to a tie for 14th place with JAG, although the rating went down from a 10.7 to a 9.9. Anthony LaPaglia won an Emmy for "Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series" for his role as Daphne's brother, Simon Moon. The show won additional Emmys for "Outstanding Multi-Camera Picture Editing for a Series" (editor Ron Volk) and "Outstanding Multi-Camera Sound Mixing for a Series or Special." The show won a record 39 Emmy Awards during its run.

Memorable episodes included "The First Temptation of Daphne," in which a woman who is a wealthy business executive and a patient of Niles' has a crush on him, so Daphne looks through his patient files and goes to meet her to find out if they are having an affair. An accident causes a mess on Frasier's carpet and the destruction of Martin's chair in "Blaz-Z-Boy." To attract youth to his radio show, Frasier appears on KACL's Teen Scene in "Juvenilia." Niles plans on proposing to Daphne, so he prepares his speech; buys a ring; and hires a choir, a string quartet, a trumpet player and Wolfgang Puck in "The Proposal." Frederick wins the National Spelling Bee, but the judges find that Frasier was mouthing the letters of the words during the competition in "War of the Words." Frasier and Niles return to their childhood home and recall what they believe to be a murder in "Deathtrap." The Cranes and Daphne head to Boston, and Frasier reunites with some of his pals from Cheers in "Cheerful Goodbyes."

Notable guest stars included Shelley Long as Diane Chambers in "Don Juan in Hell (Parts 1 and 2)." Recurring cast members Patricia Clarkson, Bebe Neuwirth and Jean Smart also appeared in the episode. Rita Wilson guest starred as Hester Crane, Shannon Tweed was Dr. Honey Snow and Gigi Rice was Regan in "Don Juan in Hell (Part 2)." Mary Hart appeared as herself in "The First Temptation of Daphne." Bill Gates appeared as himself, Adam Arkin was Tom, Larry Gelbart was Joe, Allison Janney was Phyllis and Jennifer Jason Leigh played Estelle in "The Two Hundredth Episode." Adam Arkin was nominated for a 2002 Emmy for "Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series" for his role. Kristin Chenoweth played Portia Sanders in "Junior Agent." Robert Picardo was Charlie Koechner, M. Emmet Walsh was Rich Koechner and Andy Garcia was Terrance in "Bully for Martin." Anthony LaPaglia returned as Simon Moon in the two-part episode, "Mother Load." He won the 2002 Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for his work in the episodes. Conrad Janis returned as Albert in "Mother Load (Part 2)." Wolfgang Puck appeared as himself in "The Proposal." Michael Keaton guest starred as Blaine Sternin in "Wheels of Fortune." Allison Janney was Suzanne and Bridgette Wilson played Kris in "Three Blind Dates." Cheers' stars and regulars John Ratzenberger, Rhea Perlman, George Wendt, Paul Wilson, Philip Perlman and Raye Birk appeared in "Cheerful Goodbyes." Joe Flaherty guest starred as Herm in "Frasier Has Spokane."


Packaging:

Frasier continues its long line of stylish packaging. Once again, this set comes in a thin cardboard box that holds the digipak. I'm glad that they have remained consistent and didn't switch to slim cases or Amaray cases for any of the seasons. The DVD cover art features a photo of the five main cast members. Eddie is photoshopped in the lower right corner of the box. A drawing of the Seattle skyline is in a purple background. This is the first time any of the sets have lacked the word "Complete" in their title. This set is just called "The Ninth Season." The overall color scheme of this set is various shades of purple. On the back of the box, there is a montage of 3 photos of scenes from the episodes. There is a short summary of the set, and a listing of the episode titles is given by disc. Eddie makes his return on the spine of the box. This marks his first appearance there since season six. The main digipak case, which features the same cast photo as the DVD cover art, slides out from the right of the main box. The back of the digipak is the same as the outer box. When you open up the digipak, there is a cast photo that is split with half on one side and the other half on the right side. The inside of the digipak has a light purple background, with a drawing of the Seattle skyline featured. The actual discs have a purple background with the Seattle skyline drawing. There is a photo from an episode at the top of each disc. The Frasier logo is in white on the left and a listing of the episodes on each disc is on the right. Disc 1 has a photo of Daphne and Niles and includes episodes 193-198. Disc 2 has a picture of Frasier and Niles and includes episodes 199-204. Disc 3, once again, features Niles and Daphne and offers episodes 205-210. Disc 4 has a shot of Frasier and Roz and completes the season with episodes 211-215.


Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus are, once again, very simple but stylish. Each main menu features a different photo of one or two of the cast members. They have the same purple background theme as the rest of the packaging. The episode titles are listed vertically in white on the left side of the screen. The Frasier logo is in white at the top of the screen, and a photo is on the right side of the screen. A white star is next to the episode you highlight. It turns yellow upon your selection. A "Play All" button is available if you want to watch the episodes together without any interruptions. Frasier is featured on Disc 1. Disc 2 has Roz. Disc 3 has a photo of Niles and Daphne. Disc 4 has a shot of Martin. When you first insert Disc 1, you are given an option for "Previews" or "Main Menu." The Previews (2:26) are for some other CBS DVD/Paramount releases. A second preview promotes the MacGyver sets. Why not promote some more similar shows like Cheers and Wings? There are chapter stops within the episodes but no separate scene selection menus.


Video and Audio Quality:

The video is presented in 1.33:1 ratio full frame color. As with the other Frasier releases, the picture quality is generally excellent. I can't tell much difference in quality from season to season. I suppose the most recent seasons would look slightly better than the very early years. The episodes are well spread out with no more than 6 per disc, so there are no compression issues. The audio is a Dolby 2.0 Digital English Surround track. There are no major problems that I noticed. The audio can be a little flat, but that is not a major issue, since most of the audio is just dialogue. Closed captioning is available on all of the episodes. For the closing logo enthusiasts, there is the usual one for Grub Street Productions. It is nice to see the Paramount logo retained as well, unlike so many other recent Paramount DVD releases which have omitted it.

The episodes are presented in their original broadcast order. They all appear to be unedited, with most running around 21 1/2 to 22 minutes in length. The season premiere aired as an one-hour episode, and it is presented that way on this set. It runs 44 minutes, 38 seconds. "The Two Hundredth Episode" ran a little longer (40 minutes with commercials) than usual originally, so it runs 27 minutes, 21 seconds here without commercials. Unfortunately they didn't include the "Frasier 200th Episode Special" which aired directly after it.

Here is the episode breakdown by disc, including the running times:

Disc 1
---------
193-194. Don Juan In Hell (44:38)
195. The First Temptation of Daphne (21:16)
196. The Return of Martin Crane (21:41)
197. Love Stinks (21:41)
198. Room Full of Heroes (21:22)

Disc 2
---------
199. Bla-Z-Boy (21:10)
200. The Two Hundredth Episode (27:21)
201. Sharing Kirby (21:41)
202. Junior Agent (21:40)
203. Bully For Martin (21:41)
204. Mother Load (Part 1) (21:41)

Disc 3
---------
205. Mother Load (Part 2) (21:42)
206. Juvenilia (21:43)
207. The Proposal (21:40)
208. Wheels of Fortune (21:41)
209. Three Blind Dates (21:41)
210. War of the Worlds (21:41)

Disc 4
---------
211. Deathtrap (23:40)
212. The Love You Fake (21:40)
213. Cheerful Goodbyes (21:42)
214. Frasier Has Spokane (21:41)
215. The Guilt Trappers (21:40)
216. Moons Over Seattle (21:41)


Special Features:

There have been no special features included on any Frasier releases since The Complete Final Season (Season 11) was released in November 2004. This has been the same pattern as the Cheers releases, so this is not a major surprise. It is too bad Paramount stopped including special features after the first 3 seasons of Frasier and Cheers.

One extra that would been great to see on this set is the "Frasier 200th Episode Special." This aired directly after "The Two Hundredth Episode" on NBC on November 13, 2001. It was hosted by Bob Costas. He interviewed the five cast members about their thoughts on the 200 episodes. Clips from previous episodes and outtakes selected by the cast were shown.


Final Comments:

It has been nearly a year since season 8 was released on June 13, 2006. The sets were released like clockwork in 2004 (3 seasons) and 2005 (4 seasons). Cheers has followed the same pattern, and they've usually been released on the same date. They still have 3 seasons left to be released, and season 9 hasn't even been announced yet. While I'm sure they won't abandon these series at this point, the long wait is very frustrating. Were lower sales for the June 2006 releases to blame for the long wait? Since season 11 of Frasier was released in November 2004, we only have season 10 left to go. I will speculate that we'll see that season sometime later this year and maybe a complete series boxed set in time for Christmas. I don't have any real complaints about this set. You know what you are getting with these releases at this point. The "Frasier 200th Episode Special" hosted by Bob Costas would have been a nice treat to see on this set. It would be disappointing for the fans that have bought the seasons individually to have new special features included on a complete series boxed set, but that is a trend we've seen lately with other releases.


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)

Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 05/03/07

To purchase the DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000MX7V5W/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20

Questions or comments about this set? Post on our message board:

http://www.sitcomsonline.com/boards/showthread.php?t=200011


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