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Season: 1

Episode: 10

Actors: Kelsey Grammer, Jack Cutmore-Scott, Nicholas Lyndhurst

Release Date: Friday 13th October 2023

Genre(s): Comedy

Running time: 200 minutes

There's a moment, early in the first episode, where Frasier drolly remarks that he's "no stranger to an underperforming dinner party."

There's a kind of comfort in a line like that. It mirrors a similar line from the original series, where Kelsey Grammer almost winks at the camera when someone (Laurie Metcalf, to be precise) talks about the horrors of playing the same character for decades. 'Frasier' ran for 11 seasons, totalling 264 episodes with some of them being the finest sitcom episodes ever produced. Quite smartly, 'Frasier' kicks off the new series like it's following on from the old as if it were in a hiatus.

Kelsey Grammer is much as he was, and the new cast takes up much of the places left by the old. Erudite and drily funny, Grammer clearly enjoys returning a familiar character and playing off a new cast. Chief among them is Jack Cutmore-Smith, who plays Frasier's son Frederick - now preferring to call himself Freddy - but is effectively taking the place left by Marty Crane, Frasier's dad. In fact, there's a touching tribute to the late, great John Mahoney at the end of the first episode - which is set just a few days after Marty's passing. Anders Keith plays David, the son Niles and Daphne Crane and fills in for an absent David Hyde Pierce, while Nicholas Lyndhurst and Jess Salguerio are pastiches of Roz and Daphne at various points and situations.

In the space of a couple of episodes, the old rhythm returns and it's like it's 1993 all over again. Frasier and Freddy bounce off one another, the embarrassment of the other playing out much the same way it did between Frasier and Marty, while David literally walks through a scene with a dry remark every so often. Nicholas Lyndhurst's fuddy-duddy professor character has the kind of drollness that Peri Gilpin delivered with ease. Even the set has the same kind of high-brow gawdiness of the original series. Technology, the internet, Kelsey Grammer's brief stint on reality TV - all of it fades like a distant memory and you begin to recall a comforting time of frothy, unchallenging sitcom humour with witty repartees, delivered neat and dry in thirty minutes or less.

Compared to other revivals - 'And Just Like That...', for the most part - the dynamic and the concept is defined by how familiar it is. There's no need to rewrite the playbook when it's working absolutely fine as it is. Yes, that might seem cynical and uninspired to some, but 'Frasier' as a show was borne out of a time when it could sustain itself almost indefinitely on the strength of its cast and its writers. There's an agelessness to the format, and in the here and now, the kind of smart and witty humour 'Frasier' provides is sorely missed and feels like something new in the current TV landscape.