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  • Writer's picturePaul Gainey

Frasier

The wait is over. The reboot is here. Frasier – played, though you hardly need me to tell you, by Kelsey Grammer – has relocated back to Boston, where it all began.


My dream from the moment that the reboot of history’s most immaculate sitcom was greenlit would be that the new Frasier be great.


After 15 years of a successful TV series, he wants a quieter life and to be near his now grown-up son Frederick (Jack Cutmore-Scott) who still lives in Boston after – to his father’s profound bafflement – dropping out of Harvard to become a firefighter.


The first episode is a test of faith as backstories are filled in, pieces are arranged and new characters are introduced. There is Eve (Jess Salgueiro) who lives with Freddy, though the precise nature of their relationship is only uncovered over the course of the half hour.


There is Frasier’s nephew, David (Anders Keith) – Niles and Daphne’s son who has her sunny optimism, a way with a handkerchief that can only have come from his father and a laminated card listing his allergies.


There is Olivia (Toks Olagundoye), the highly strung, wildly competitive head of Harvard’s psychology department. And there is Frasier’s best friend from his bright college days – Alan, played in full corduroy by our very own Nicholas Lyndhurst.


Lyndhurst and Grammer met while working on a production of Man of La Mancha a few years ago and Grammer, untrammelled by any indelible knowledge of him as Peckham’s greatest plonker, recognised immediately what he could do. So here he is, as the magnificently laconic psych lecturer Alan, and perfect foil to Frasier’s fussiness.


All this setup work means that there is little of the original show’s fine-grained beauty. Grammer plays his man as perfectly and with as light a touch as ever, moving seamlessly into emotional scenes from comic ones and out again.

The jokes are subtle, the relationships – especially the hate-hate one between Olivia and the albatross Alan around her ambitious neck – are growing.

By the fourth episode, the chemistry, the ineffable magic, the ease, the unbottleable perfect combination of them all is there.


Frasier’s team has managed to update the comedy’s situation, incorporate Frasier’s greater age and its different challenges and diversify its casting without apparent strain.


There are many lovely comic callbacks to the original episodes (“I am no stranger to an underperforming dinner party,” says Frasier, as he steels himself for another) and some even lovelier ones to original characters and actors.


Frasier returns to Boston after the funeral of his father, Martin, played by John Mahoney who died five years ago. “He was a hell of a guy,” Frasier says of character and actor to his son. “A tough act to follow.”


The Cheers-esque bar in which Eve works is called Mahoney’s and the episode is dedicated to him, to Cheers and Frasier script supervisor Gabrielle James, and to Lyndhurst’s son Archie who died in 2020 at the age of 19.


It is a fitting touch to what still remains a class act. Keep the faith and enjoy the new reboot.




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