Frasier reboot divides critics in first reviews

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The revival of Frasier starring Kelsey Grammer and Nicholas Lyndhurst has received mixed reviews from critics.

Led by showrunners Chris Harris and Joe Cristalli, the series sees Frasier Crane (Grammer) return to Boston – where the character was first introduced in 1980s sitcom Cheers before his own spin-off, Frasier, which was set in Seattle.

Aside from the return of Grammer, the show largely features a new ensemble cast, including Lyndhurst as university professor Alan, Jack Cutmore-Scott as Frasier’s son Freddy, Anders Keith as Frasier’s nephew David, Jess Salgueiro as Eve and Toks Olagundoya as Olivia.

Critics, who have viewed the first five episodes, have been left divided on the show’s new direction however. In a four-star review on the Guardian, Frasier is described as a “joy to watch” once you get past the early episodes.

‘Frasier’. Credit: Paramount+.

“Unlike the wretched reboot of Sex And The City, 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,” the review reads. “It feels like an organic progression rather than something flung together by a frightened committee.”

NME was similarly positive, describing the show as being “funny and warm” despite the notable absence of David Hyde Pierce as Frasier’s brother Niles.

“It’s a neat set-up, crisply executed by a cast more than capable of the mix of physical and character-driven comedy required,” NME’s James Mottram wrote. “Grammer effortlessly slips back into his sherry-swigging, opera-loving fop, while Lyndhurst’s boozy, lazy academic makes a good foil for Frasier.”

Some however felt the revival paled in comparison to the original Frasier, which came to an end in 2004 after eleven seasons.

In a C+ review on Entertainment Weekly, it describes the rare “moments of joy” in the revival as underscoring the fact “that this Frasier is just not that Frasier”.

“The original series boasted one of television’s all-time greatest ensembles, a group of extraordinary actors who shared an uncommon chemistry from the very first episode,” the review reads. “The revival’s cast suffers by comparison – as almost any sitcom cast would. The actors are all perfectly likeable, but they’re not quite able to operate at Grammer’s comedic level.”

In a particularly negative review on Rolling Stone, the reboot is described as an “unfunny, uninspired dud” which “feels like a superficial read of what makes the character, and what made the Nineties version of Frasier, work”.

“The revival is built almost entirely on whatever built-in affection we have for its title character, and for Grammer’s performance in the role,” the review reads.

The first two episodes of Frasier arrive on Paramount+ on October 12 in the US and October 13 in the UK. The remaining eight episodes will be released weekly from these dates.

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