Picks and Pans Review: Frasier
NBC (Thursdays, 9:30 p.m. ET)
In this cute Cheers spin-off, Kelsey Grammer again assumes his role as haughty-toity psychiatrist Frasier Crane. Now divorced from Lilith, he's moved to Seattle, where he has his own radio call-in show. His crass, cranky father (John Mahoney) has moved in with him, because Frasier's even more starchy brother (David Hyde Pierce) won't have the old man. Jane Leeves plays Mahoney's daffy British home-nursing attendant, and Peri Gilpin plays Grammer's radio assistant.
In the tradition of Cheers, the show thrives by selling up distinct, contrary personalities and making them collide for a half-hour each week. So far the writing is sharp and punchy.
The weak link is Mahoney. Though he's a wonderful character actor (as he proved again this summer in the film In the Line of Fire), his forced comic touch here punches a small hole in the show's texture.
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