Frasier Premiere Review: Is It Worth the Return Trip to Boston?

I’ll admit, I had mixed feelings going into this Frasier reboot on Paramount+.

I was never the biggest fan of Cheers, but I loved the original Frasier and have watched it from pilot to series finale numerous times. The cast of that series possessed the unique mix of talent and chemistry that resulted in TV magic.

The odds were long that a reboot could recapture our love for Frasier and his family over those eleven seasons. Longer still, with most of the original cast missing. I was heartbroken to hear that David Hyde Pierce would not be returning as Niles. 

So, upon viewing the new  Frasier Season 1 Episode 1, I wasn’t surprised that the show had its flaws, but it also has a lot of potential.

Frasier is starting over yet again, this time back in Boston, but expect only a scant aside to his days at that famous bar.

Then, why did Frasier move back to Boston? His alma mater, Harvard, is there, but his son, Freddy, dropped out years ago in order to pursue a career as a firefighter, much to Frasier’s dismay.

This is where Frasier will find his new start and look to repair his broken relationship with his son.

Frasier: I admire what you do. It’s just that you did so well in your psych classes at Harvard.
Freddy: Right, but I wanted to do something important.
Frasier: What I do is important. It’s at least as important as what you do.
Freddy: Okay. Sure. Let’s find someone who has low self-esteem and is also on fire and see which one of us they run to first.

Permalink: Okay. Sure. Let’s find someone who has low self-esteem and is also on fire and see which one…

Added: October 11, 2023

You’ll find that there are parallels between Frasier and Freddy’s relationship that are reminiscent of the one Frasier had with his father, Martin, played by the late John Mahoney. Thus far, that is the strength of the show.

Kelsey Grammer and Jack Cutmore Scott, who plays Freddy, have a chemistry that works, and they are able to play comedy and heartfelt moments with aplomb.

Their knack for humor really shows through during Frasier Season 1 Episode 2. It has to do with an air hockey table, and there were some moments using the pucks that had me laughing out loud.

Nicholas Lyndhurst plays Alan Cornwall, Frasier’s old friend from Oxford who is now a professor at Harvard.

Lyndhurst is clearly a talent, and we can only hope he will have more to play than drinking heavily and using his tenure to ditch his own classes as the series progresses.

But so far, Alan is Frasier’s sounding board, and it’s difficult not to draw comparisons to Niles, which isn’t entirely fair.

Anders Keith is David Crane, Niles and Daphne’s 18-year-old son. He doesn’t have much to do in these first two installments, but he has his mother’s quirky sense of humor mixed with his father’s persnicketyness.

Frasier: You know, you remind me of your mother. Perpetually optimistic. Always seeing the…Do you have to put in eye drops right as we’re having a nice moment?
David: You can’t tell me it’s not Sahara dry in here.
Frasier: Now you remind me of your father.

Permalink: Now you remind me of your father.

Added: October 11, 2023

David is intellectually gifted, unsure of himself, and craving his older cousin Freddy’s attention and approval.

Overall, David has an awkward cuteness that I’m hoping will morph into more as the series continues so that he becomes his own character and not just a caricature of his father.

Then there’s Eve, Freddy’s roommate, at least for now. I’m not quite sure how Eve will fit into this new dynamic long-term, but she’s got an energy that meshes well with Freddy and Frasier.

The weakest link seems to be Olivia Finch, the head of the psychology department at Harvard, who is determined to convince Frasier to take a job at the University.

So far, Olivia comes across as a one-note sitcom boss, and it’s difficult to see where she’s needed moving forward.

It’s almost impossible not to make comparisons to the original series, and if Olivia is supposed to fill the role of Frasier’s producer, Roz Doyle, she’s falling far short. If anything, Eve has more of a Roz vibe than Olivia.

I’m grateful the pilot episode addressed the passing of John Mahoney. We didn’t get to see Martin’s funeral, but we heard about it and why Freddy couldn’t bring himself to attend.

You missed your grandfather’s funeral. He had everything planned to the last detail, and you missed it. The police send off. Daphne’s toast. Bulldog’s Ave Maria. What possible excuse could you have for not being there with your family?


Permalink: You missed your grandfather’s funeral. He had everything planned to the last detail, and you…

Added: October 11, 2023

It’s comforting to know that Freddy and Martin developed a much closer relationship as Freddy sought his own path, but it did make me yearn to see Martin consoling Freddy over the loss of his friend.

Martin Crane cannot be replaced. He will be missed, and it made me appreciate the reference to his recliner all the more. Actually, seeing John Mahoney at the end of “The Good Son” almost brought me to tears.

I am disappointed that the show decided to end Frasier’s relationship with Charlotte off-screen.

One of the many highlights of the original series finale was that Frasier took the chance to follow his heart and impulsively headed to Chicago.

Alan: I still can’t believe how big TV personality Frasier Crane walks away from his talk show.
Frasier: It was time. I told them get off your knees and stop begging. I’m already out the door.
Alan: And things with Charlotte?
Frasier: She told me the same thing. But it was for the best. After 20 years in Chicago, It was time for George Bailey to get that old bag out of the closet and see the world.

Permalink: She told me the same thing. But it was for the best. After 20 years in Chicago, It was time…

Added: October 11, 2023

Apparently, it worked out, as he had a successful TV show, and he and Charlotte lasted almost two decades. But according to Laura Linney, she wasn’t even asked to appear in this reboot, which is a shame.

I know that Frasier being single opens up a slew of storyline possibilities, but at the same time, we saw Frasier chase new romantic partners for eleven previous seasons.

It would have been a nice change of pace to see him in a successful long-term relationship.

There are things I look forward to in this series.

With Bebe Neuwirth scheduled to make an appearance at some point in the season, I can’t wait to see how Lilith feels about her son ditching psychology to become a firefighter.

Also, Peri Gilpin is set to visit the series as Roz. I’m not sure how she’ll fit in here, but as the original Frasier did well incorporating guest appearances of the crew from Cheers, I hope Roz’s visit will be equally entertaining.

So what did you think, TV Fanatics? Have you watched the first two installments of this reboot? Can it possibly live up to the original? Are you willing to give it a chance?

Hit that SHOW COMMENTS button below to let us know what you think. Then check back in for our Frasier Season 1 Episode 3 review here at TV Fanatic.

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