No Niles, Daphne, Roz, Lillith or Marty (some surprises coming, however). Hmm, okay. Will this work? Could Kelsey Grammer carry this without such recognisable support? Are CBS relying on merely goodwill and a cosy nostalgia to pull this off?
Well, we're currently five episodes into this new take and Frasier has shrugged off a successful tv career and moved back to Boston, moving in with his son Freddie (Jack Cutmore-Scott). He does still have some support, of course, not least Nicholas Lyndhurst as Alan, old friend and Harvard colleague. Quite the step away from Rodney Trotter in Only Fools & Horses, however. It was something of a surprise to see him popping up in this.
A new audience may find this project a little cheesy and a tad twee, given what else they could be watching instead. For seasoned viewers of a more mature vintage and accompanying memory, there is just enough here to suggest a little wistful jaunt every so often. Frasier has matured, as you would expect, and is maybe not quite the paranoid and curiously anxious psychotherapist that could never take the advice he confidently dispensed to others in days gone by, but he still has his moments of selfish, pretentious narcissism.
Good intentions notwithstanding, and whilst this is still in its infancy, the script isn't of the same quality as the franchise would demand. There are genuine moments of joy, most often spawned from references of greatness past and most of the humour still lands, but the script is quite often beneath the players, whose performances are nothing if not professionally delivered.
It's never easy to recreate the lightning in the bottle, but as honest to goodness attempts go, this is a good example of having a half decent stab without really expecting it to truly catch fire.