The sixth season of "Frasier" marked the first time the show didn't win an Emmy for best comedy and it was probably deserved. However, it does have a number of gems and is well-worth getting for the "Frasier" fanatics out there.
Oddly enough, the problem episodes bracket an otherwise very good season with some priceless moments. "Good Grief" is a good example of what is not right as it finds Frasier out of work (which he would be until "Roz, A Loan" nine episodes later) and the entire cast pushing the comedy, instead of relaxing and letting the writing do its work. Kelsey Grammer in particular is somewhat frantic in the first few episodes and each punchline gets an unnecessary yell or emphises that works against the humor.
The really good episodes begin with "First, Do No Harm" featuring Teri Hatcher who completes a trifeca of comic highlights here, after her unforgetable turns in "Night Court" & "Seinfeld". The fun continues on the Disc 2 starting with "The Seal Who Came To Dinner" and "Merry Christmas, Mrs. Moskowitz", a killer combo of classic Frasier laughs highlighted by the appropriate yell of "JESUS!".
Disc 3 contains the single finest moment of the season in "Three Valentines", a perfect, nearly wordless scene with Niles preparing for his date at Frasier's place, only to have one disaster follow another with Eddie looking on. Woody Harrelson turns in one of his best "Woody" performances in "The Show Where Woody Comes Back". The final toast at the end of the episode is both touching and appropriate.
At first, "Decoys" plays like last season's best farce "The Ski Lodge" and while it's not quite as good, it's still very funny. Niles' relationship with Maris finally ends with "To Tell The Truth" and has one of the best reaction shots as Niles realizes just where Maris' fortune came from.
Disc 4 takes a downturn as the focus shifts to Daphne and her relationship with Donny (Saul Rubenek). While I admire Saul and his talents, he seems like an odd fit for Daphne and there wasn't much chemestry there to make me believe she was in love with him. An exception is the "Dr. Nora" episode which is rather funny although Christene Baranski does overplay her "Dr. Laura" impression somewhat.
Once again, we are plagued with needless previews on Disc 1 (which you can get through quickly using the chapter advance button) and no extras at all. I suppose that Seasons 7 - 10 will be presented in the same manner, which is a real shame when compared to the "Seinfeld" DVDs.
Overall, Season Six turned out somewhat better than I had remembered, featuring some classic moments and big laughs. However, the seeds of "Frasier's" downturn are apparent as the writing begins to suffer under the weight of the Niles/Daphne relationship which would become more problematic over the next few seasons.
- Look for a young Erika Christensen ("Traffic", "Swimfan") in "Frasier's Curse", she's in an early scene in the Cafe' Nervosa.
- A continuity blooper happens in "The Seal Who Came To Dinner", the lid of Niles' coffee keeps appearing and dissapearing during a scene at the Cafe' Nervosa.
- Unfortunately, there is no Lilith or Bebe this season.
- Although I didn't believe it at first, it apparently is true that Roz has no idea Niles loves Daphne until the episode "Decoys", halfway through the sixth season.
- "Dinner Party" features only the cast (no special guests or extras), a first for "Frasier".