October 13, 2023
Frasier ended perfectly. Why go back?
-- Shares Facebook Twitter Reddit Email Television’s Memory Lane has as many versions as there are Atlanta streets named Peachtree, with only a few of those causeways seeing heavy traffic. Avenues memorializing “ Frasier ” may not be among them , despite Kelsey Grammer's “Cheers”-spinoff being a ratings force in its day, snagging five consecutive years’ worth of best comedy Emmys and running for 11 seasons. It also ended well in 2004, satisfying longtime viewers by leaving its characters in good places, especially Dr. Frasier Crane, who had long been unlucky in love and finally found a love match in Laura Linney’s Charlotte. Our last glimpse of Frasier shows him choosing Charlotte over a TV show in a bigger market than his longtime home Seattle and choosing Chicago over Seattle or San Francisco — a flawlessly symmetric bow on a story that began long ago in Boston. Where’s the value in unpacking that? Related The totally real "Frasier" reboot episode guide Networks are perpetually giddy to answer that question. If “ Will & Grace ” can crawl out of the grave and “That ‘70s Show” can return as “ That ‘90s Show ,” there's no reason to assume the good doctor is immune to the affliction we'll call revivalitis. But there’s a difference between breathing new life into a three-decade-old title and whatever awkward necromancy unnaturally extending the life of “Frasier” achieves without adding fresh layers to its eponymous figure. Remember how terrific “ Murphy Brown ” was for 10 seasons before it ended in 1998? What did you think of season 11 , which ran in 2019? (Yes, there was season 11.) This revivalitis outbreak may not be so forgettable, but it does rely on our affection for resuming familiar patterns. We rejoin our attentive therapist on his way to Paris, which he precedes with a stop in Boston to visit his son, Freddy (Jack Cutmore-Scott), last seen dutifully following the nerd map written into his DNA. Since then, Freddy ditched his parent-approved Harvard undergraduate track to become a firefighter — Mr. July on his department’s calendar, in fact — thereby disappointing his father. This revivalitis outbreak may not be so forgettable, but it does rely on our affection for resuming familiar patterns. Before we get into that dynamic, you may be wondering why the show is airing on Paramount+ instead of NBC or Peacock . While the original series premiered on NBC, “Frasier” was produced by Paramount, which now has a streaming service to feed. Thus, Grammer’s return to the field of psychiatry in some respect was probably inevitable. As for the ensemble’s other regulars, David Hyde Pierce opted to leave Niles Crane packed in amber. John Mahoney, who played Frasier’s father Martin, died in 2018. Peri Gilpin is set to return as Frasier’s no-nonsense Seattle producer Roz, but by the time it happens, we may wonder what purpose it serves beyond reminding us that this new show has threads of connection to the old. (Bebe Neuwirth, who plays Freddy’s mother and Frasier’s ex Lilith, is also scheduled to drop by.) But we’re already getting these through the characters showrunners Joe Cristalli and Chris Harris have arranged around Frasier, which are basically new versions of the old gang. Since Freddy and Frasier are estranged, and with Harvard in need of his magnificent insight and wit, Frasier decides to return to Beantown, triumphant. In the 19 years since we last saw him, Frasier became the host of a successful TV talk show, making him as recognizable Dr. Phil, minus the abusive trauma theater. Toks Olagundoye as Olivia, Kelsey Grammer as Frasier Crane and Nicholas Lyndhurst as Alan in "Frasier" (Chris Haston/Paramount+) Joining Harvard’s faculty alongside his old friend, Alan Cornwall (Nicholas Lyndhurst), and Olivia Finch (Toks Olagundoye), the head of Harvard’s psychology department, allows him to be a better father to his son and remove whatever tarnish his talk show left on his intellectual credibility. The new “Frasier” moves to the same structural rhythms as the old “Frasier,” which would be a comfort if we didn’t already have more than a decade’s worth of the character’s adventures to revisit whether via Paramount+ or Hallmark , where it lingers on by way of a syndicated afterlife. But what's the value of recreating the same dynamics in the namesake character’s life without establishing new challenges for him? The revival forces us to ask that question, especially in the creaky two episodes currently streaming, directed by the legendary James Burrows. Before you watch those, you may want to revisit the two-part 2004 finale. We need your help to stay independent Subscribe today to support Salon's progressive journalism Provided you remember “Frasier,” you might not need to. Crashing the Crane brothers’ highbrow sensibilities against their humble origins is the show’s comedic fuel, of which we’re constantly reminded in the first go-round by Martin, a retired cop, and Martin’s caretaker, Daphne moon (Jane Leeves). It's also the source of Frasier’s winning vulnerability, distilled by Grammer into a cocktail of haughty sangfroid, grumpiness and keen loneliness. Frasier injected a similar energy into “Cheers” once he joined that cast in its third season. But when “Frasier” creators David Angell, Peter Casey and David Lee spun him off from said classic, they didn’t recycle the used clay that was Sam, Norm, Cliff, Woody and so on into Seattle counterparts. Cristalli and Harris didn't follow that example. Niles’ son, David (Anders Keith), is essentially a combination of Niles and Martin’s wire-haired Jack Russell terrier Eddie instead of Niles and Daphne. He's all elbows, left feet and tail-wagging eagerness. Niles' sensible half shows up in Lyndhurst’s Alan, Frasier’s confidante providing the adult insight David lacks. Jack Cutmore-Scott as Freddy Crane and Jess Salgueiro as Eve in "Frasier" (Paramount+Chris Haston/Paramount+) Jess Salgueiro’s Eve, Freddy's roommate, takes over Leeves’ dual purpose as a live-in reality check, with Olagundoye’s Olivia on Roz duty, which is to say she’s attractive and capable of wrestling Alan and Frasier into submission. All told, it’s the same show with one character in common who, like us, is looking and feeling older, except he’s back in Boston now, where the struggles he once had with his working-class dad resume with his working-class son. Every Seattle resident will tell you the dreamy view from Frasier’s condo in those classic episodes is as non-existent as Café Nervosa. The producers’ efforts to tip their hat to the place resulted in some comedic mispronunciations of locales like Lake Chelan . It’s much easier to cultivate the show’s Ivy League bona fides by dropping lines such as, “Explain it to me like I’m a student at Tufts.” It didn’t matter if the cast and writers didn’t quite nail Seattle as a character because the action revolved around Frasier and what he represented, especially as a figure straddling the end of the Clinton Era and the first four years of George W. Bush’s presidency. Want a daily wrap-up of all the news and commentary Salon has to offer? Subscribe to our morning newsletter , Crash Course. Frasier was and is the embodiment of the wine-swilling coastal elite clowned and vilified by conservatives from Rush Limbaugh to every Fox News pundit one can name. He drove a BMW, not a Volvo (still, the stereotype fits). Grammer is a lifelong Republican, but regardless of one’s politics, everyone laughed with and at his fussy therapist, and the empathy he engendered was nearly ubiquitous. Both then and now, the scripts allow for stillness, letting the audience marinate in a character’s sensitive insights and confessions between the zingers. Like Frasier’s profession, this strategy is portable. But the audience has changed enough for the past version of the show to seem of its time even as the character remains timeless. The “Frasier” revival acknowledges its therapists’ part in our modern obsession with fame and fortune in the third episode, where we receive a glimpse of where his show began — as a serious healing endeavor — versus the audience-pandering vaudeville act it became in its final seasons. The “Frasier” revival acknowledges its therapists’ part in our modern obsession with fame and fortune. Frasier Crane is a man divided between his need for validation and his urge for refinement and solitude. Perhaps the most touching part of the 2004 finale arrives when Frasier closes the door on a man who has removed Martin’s beaten-up old lounger. He places his beloved Eames chair in its spot, sits down and quietly listens to the rainfall exactly where he’s always wanted to be. A beat after we experience this satisfaction with him, Frasier makes a phone call we’re made to believe is launching his next chapter — in a new city, and with the fresh challenge of mounting a TV show. We can only imagine the possibilities that could have emerged from depicting the character’s steadfast standards butting against the crass, psychologically draining demands of a viewership-driven business. Instead, we’re invited to settle for a version of history repeating itself. Who knows how many people want to go down that road again? The first two episode of "Frasier" are streaming on Paramount+. Read more about sitcom revivals The show the internet forgot Why did the television reboot become all the rage? Here's why a "Full House" reboot is an insane idea By Melanie McFarland Melanie McFarland is Salon's TV critic. Follow her on Twitter: @McTelevision MORE FROM Melanie McFarland Related Topics ------------------------------------------ Frasier Kelsey Grammer Paramount Plus Review Tv Related Articles Advertisement:
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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