Already suffering from the loss of "Friends", NBC also lost the long-running and award-winning "Frasier", which focused on Kelsey Grammer's 20-year-old Dr. Frasier Crane character, which originally appeared on "Cheers". Grammer's performance on that show turned a character that was originally supposed to be short-lived into a permanent position.
"Frasier" joined Dr. Crane with brother Niles (David Hyde Pierce), as well as their father, former police officer Martin (John Mahoney), who remained baffled at the more refined tastes of his sons. Joining the three were Roz (Peri Gilpin), Frasier's producer for his radio program and Daphne (Jane Leeves), the housemaid who takes care of Martin.
Paramount has taken the unexpected step of releasing the final season of the series before all of the other seasons were put out. This is the season prior to the final season, and still sees the series going along pretty smoothly, standing as an improvement over the couple of seasons that came before it, although still not matching the best seasons of the show's run. The season also continues the development of the relationship between Niles and Daphne, with Daphne moving out early in the season to be with Niles, to the dismay of Eddie and Martin. The season also sees the introduction of Julia (Felicity Huffman), who has a relationship with Frasier, but who eventually drives Roz to a new job.
One of the biggest highlights of the season comes early on, with "Enemy at the Gates", a hysterical episode where Frasier blocks the exit to a parking garage after the attendant tries to charge him two dollars after he decided not to park there a moment after getting in. When he tries to rally the stranded drivers behind him around his cause, he quickly realizes that he's on his own. "Door Jam" is also one of the best episodes of the season, as Frasier and Niles come up with a plan to work their way into an exclusive health club in one of their most entertaining schemes. Despite not even having been truly invited in the first place, Frasier and Niles become upset when they find there's another level of membership and want in on it, too.
Other highlights include: "Star Mitzvah" (Frasier is tricked into giving a Bar Mitzvah speech in Klingon), "Fraternal Schwinns" (Frasier and Niles enter a bike-a-thon, but don't know how to ride a bike), "Proxy Prexy" (Frasier tries to run for president of his condo board, which doesn't go as planned) and "The Devil and Dr. Phil" (Dr. Phil comes into town and Frasier agrees to introduce Roz to him, but Frasier is still upset because he feels Phil conned him out of $200 in a poker game years ago.)
217. 217 24 Sep 02 The Ring Cycle
218. 221 1 Oct 02 Enemy at the Gate
219. 218 8 Oct 02 Proxy Prexy
220. 222 15 Oct 02 Kissing Cousin
221. 219 29 Oct 02 Tales From the Crypt
222. 224 5 Nov 02 Star Mitzvah
223. 225 12 Nov 02 Bristle While You Work (1)
224. 223 19 Nov 02 Rooms With a View (2)
225. 226 26 Nov 02 Don't Go Breaking My Heart (3)
226. 227 10 Dec 02 We Two Kings
227. 220 7 Jan 03 Door Jam
228. 230 14 Jan 03 The Harassed
229. 232 4 Feb 03 Lilith Needs a Favor
230. 229 11 Feb 03 Daphne Does Dinner
231. 231 18 Feb 03 Trophy Girlfriend
232. 233 25 Feb 03 Fraternal Schwinns
233. 234 4 Mar 03 Kenny on the Couch
234. 228 18 Mar 03 Roe to Perdition
235. 236 1 Apr 03 Some Assembly Required
236. 235 22 Apr 03 Farewell, Nervosa
237. 238 29 Apr 03 The Devil and Dr. Phil
238. 240 6 May 03 Fathers and Sons
239. 239 13 May 03 Analyzed Kiss
240. 237 20 May 03 A New Position for Roz
VIDEO: "Frasier" is presented by Paramount in 1.33:1 full-frame, the show's original broadcast aspect ratio. The picture quality looked very good, as these recent episodes looked crisp and clear, with no noticable instances of softness or inconsistency.
Still, while sharpness and definition appeared consistently first-rate, I did encounter some minor issues. A few minor traces of pixelation were spotted a few times, but no edge enhancement was visible. Not surprisingly, no wear or other concerns regarding the source material were seen. Colors appeared bright and warm, with very nice saturation and no smearing.
SOUND: "Frasier" is presented here in Dolby 2.0. The show's audio was perfectly fine, if nothing to write home about - not surprising, given the material. Dialogue is nicely balanced with audience chatter and the show's score/theme music. Dialogue seemed well-recorded and easily understood throughout, with no concerns.
EXTRAS: Sadly, nothing.
Final Thoughts: While it doesn't reach the heights of some of the earlier seasons, the 10th season of "Frasier" - which offers some terrific episodes - is an improvement over the couple of seasons that came before it. The DVD presentation doesn't offer any extras, but audio/video quality remains just fine. Recommended for fans who want to complete their collection (this is the last of the seasons left to be released on DVD.)