One of the hardest things about rebooting or reviving old-time classic shows like Frasier is the balance between honouring the original material and appeasing its loyal fans while simultaneously attracting new viewers who are willing to look back at the rich history and catalogue of said franchise. The Paramount+ continuation of Frasier starts a little off-beat, especially in the first episode, which sees Frasier stopping by Boston before his flight to Paris. In it, the audience are introduced to a slew of new characters – from Frasier’s college friend Alan, his socially stoic and clumsy nephew David (son of Niles and Daphne from the original series), to Freddy’s roommate Eve. Already, the vibrant and diverse personalities of these new additions inject a whole new energy into the revival series. Of course, Kelsey Grammar’s classic Frasier Crane is also present alongside his son Freddy, played this time by Jack Cutmore-Scott. The centrepiece of this refreshing new cast is the strained father-and-son relationship between the two.
The rocky start is highly attributed to the exposition dump at the beginning, aiming to catch viewers up with Frasier’s life, as well as the mundane character introductions. There’s some infectious laughter and classic physical comedy, but the cast do take some time to warm up, both to each other and to the audience. The laugh track is also very jarring here; while it’s understandably in tune with the original series, it’s a very outdated comedic technique. However, by the second episode, all of these petty concerns melt away as the show finally gets into the heart of the new series’ premise: Frasier navigating through his relationship with Freddy while acclimatising to his new job teaching at Harvard.
What makes the focus of Frasier and Freddy’s relationship so interesting is the little nods the show makes towards Martin – Frasier’s father – and the parallels between Martin and Frasier’s dynamic with Frasier and Freddy. It’s endearing to watch Frasier unlearn some of the more problematic aspects of his relationship with his deceased father, while also relearning fatherhood at the late age and stage of his life. It’s a very welcomed tribute to John Mahoney’s character that also creates a brand-new angle of exploration for the two characters. The quote, “It’s just the way things are between father and sons,” hits the hardest and is surely something a lot of old fans will appreciate. As for the new characters, Nicholas Lyndhurst as Alan and Toks Olagundoye as Olivia are the absolute favourites. Their sarcastic interactions and Frasier playing referee between them is such a charming watch that cuts through all the emotional beats, keeping things fresh and interesting.
Frasier is a very endearing continuation of the character’s story, but it’s open enough that new fans can flock to it without the need for extensive research on the primary material. Despite its shaky start, it lands steadily on its feet in the following episodes and is definitely worth a try.
Fraiser is released on Paramount+ on 13th October 2023.
Watch the trailer for Fraiser here: