TELEVISION | Sitcom reboot has funny moments but carries the unwholesome ethos of the original
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Have you ever rediscovered a candy you enjoyed in your youth and felt a little sad when it didn’t taste as delicious as you remembered, leaving you with empty calories and disappointment? Watching the new sitcom Frasier on Paramount+ provides a similar experience.
Kelsey Grammer’s pompous but lovable Dr. Frasier Crane began as a fixture on the ’80s sitcom Cheers before starring in his own show that ran from 1993 to 2004. Now the neurotic psychiatrist has moved back to Boston to be closer to his son Freddy (Jack Cutmore-Scott). Unlike his dad, Freddy is a man’s man—a firefighter, sports fan, and poor decorator—and the tension between Frasier and Freddy sparks laughs in the first episodes. These scenes recall the similar relationship between Frasier and his own father in the former series: Martin Crane was a retired police officer who’s baffled by his son’s general lack of manliness.
This new Frasier is a professor at Harvard, and his struggle to connect with today’s elite university students offers another humorous angle to the story.
Kelsey Grammer has professed Christianity in recent interviews, but his faith is not evident in the new show. Viewers might remember the “old” Frasier as part of a more innocent time: It was well written and made gentle sport of the main character’s pomposity without being mean-spirited. But as I rewatched episodes of the former series, I noticed how normal it was for characters to have adulterous relationships, and how casually and often the Lord’s name was used in vain. Regrettably, this same ethos permeates the new show, particularly on the language front. Despite some witty lines and funny setups, the new Frasier won’t leave viewers with anything memorable.
TV series reboots
- Newhart / 1982
- Columbo / 1989
- Battlestar Galactica / 2004
- Doctor Who / 2005
- The Electric Company / 2009
- MacGyver / 2016
- DuckTales / 2017
- Magnum P.I. / 2018
- The Wonder Years / 2021
- Goosebumps / 2023