Frasier was like the Energizer bunny of television shows. The darn thing wouldn’t go away; it just kept running and running. Entering the show's ninth season, the Frasier staff was rocked by personal tragedy when David Angell, the series' executive producer and co-creator was killed on American Airlines flight 11, which struck the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Just two weeks later on September 25 2001, Frasier began its new year on NBC.
After the Niles/Daphne drama that dominated the eighth year, year nine feels like a letdown. Much like when Sam and Diane finally got together on Cheers, it feels like the best years of Frasier were gone once Miles finally got the girl. I was by far not the biggest fan of the show, but Miles was always my favorite character. David Hyde Pierce played him with such a dry wit and clueless sincerity that it was hard not to giggle at almost everything he said. Jane Leeves (Daphne) was Pierce’s perfect sidekick, always ready with the perfect comeback to one of his lines. Actually putting Niles and Daphne together took away some of the spark and originality between the two and made them seem like an old married couple.
The rivalry between brothers Frasier and Niles seemed to lose some of its edge in season nine as well. It just doesn’t appear that Kelsey Grammer and Pierce were enjoying their onscreen sniping as much as they had in earlier years. At times, their performances seemed mailed in, at others I wondered if the death of David Angell just cast a dark shadow over much of the season for everyone involved.
Frasier was one of the shows that is what it is. Over the course of eleven seasons on the air, things pretty much stayed the same — Frasier hosted a radio show, couldn’t find love, and struggled with having his elderly father living in his house. The entire show was built around the humor to be found in these issues. That’s pretty amazing when you think about it, and speaks volumes to the talent of Kelsey Grammer and his cast mates to pull off such a consistently fumy show year after year.