Cheerful, comparatively low-cost and intensely bingeable, the standard three-camera sitcom is the embattled streaming business’s new obsession. The 2021 Associates Reunion was a big media second whereas Netflix has efficiently disinterred That ‘70s Present (as That ‘90s Present). Now it’s the flip of Frasier (Paramount+ from Friday), one of many defining sitcoms of its period – and a collection which carved out a novel house within the Nineties by interesting to the mental self-importance of its viewers.
The large promoting level with Frasier was that it was a present about smarty-pants intellectuals for smarty-pants intellectuals. Whether or not or not that was true, Frasier was actually beloved. Alas, its return after almost 20 years is a letdown.
Kelsey Grammer is again as follicle-impoverished egghead psychiatrist Frasier Crane. He has swapped Seattle for Boston, the place he’s in search of to patch up his relationship with grown-up son, Freddy. Really, Boston is merely supposed as a stop-off earlier than he heads to Paris.
However Frasier’s dedication to fix bridges with Freddy is such that he decides to remain in his outdated Cheers stamping floor in spite of everything. That’s after he places behind him the crushing disappointment of Freddy changing into a fireman – a plebeian pursuit to which Frasier struggles to reconcile himself.
Frasier wouldn’t work with out Grammer and returning to the present clearly means so much to the now 68-year-old. He’s nice too: whipsmart as ever but with an undertow of melancholy.
The opposite huge star is, of all folks, Solely Fools and Horses’ Nicholas Lyndhurst. Sure, Rodders has made it to America. Solely he hasn’t: Lyndhurst is enjoying a toff overseas named Alan who lectures at Harvard.
He impacts a faux-posh accent – he appears like Ian McKellen’s Gandalf chewing a toffee – and exudes an air of harried befuddlement. It’s an uncanny efficiency, significantly for those who grew up on the adventures of Del Boy and Rodney. What’s Rodders doing in an episode of Frasier? What subsequent – Uncle Albert sipping a soy latte at Central Perk cafe?
Sadly, Frasier 2.0 should slog on with out the great David Hyde Pierce as Frasier’s much more stuck-up brother Niles. Likewise lacking is the late John Mahoney as their grouchy blue-collar father Martin Crane (Mahoney, who was born in Lancashire however got here to treat himself as Irish, died in 2018).
Of their absence, Frasier huffs and puffs. An underpowered assist forged doesn’t do Grammer any favours. As Freddy, English actor Jack Cutmore-Scott struggles to take up the salt of the earth baton from Mahoney. In the meantime, the house the place Niles would have slotted is plugged by Anders Keith as Niles and Daphne’s son David.
He’s a Frasier Crane mini-me who walks round in a cloud of raffishness. Keith does his finest – sadly David is an underwhelming stand-in for Niles.
Worse but, the gags are so reheated you may virtually hear the microwave ping each time Grammer opens his mouth. The “Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs” music is similar. However, and maybe it’s simply me, wasn’t the theme-tune essentially the most annoying factor about Frasier again the day?