DAVID BIANCULLI

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FRASIER: THE COMPLETE SERIES
June 18, 2015  | By David Bianculli
 
Cheers already has been awarded the TVWW Seal of Approval, and Frasier becomes one of the few TV spinoff series deserving to make the list as well. Frasier, just collected in a compact edition presenting every episode from the show’s 11 seasons – that’s 257 episodes, folks – seems surprisingly fresh, given that it premiered in 1993, the season after Cheers ended, and called it quits in 2004. Kelsey Grammer’s character of Frasier was gold-plated comic brilliance by then, as was his relationship with icy ex-wife Lilith (beautifully played by Bebe Neuwirth). But on Frasier, Grammer got two more spectacularly gifted comic foils: David Hyde Pierce as fussy brother Niles, and John Mahoney as no-nonsense father Martin. These shows are great fun to revisit, and almost every episode provides, as a bonus treat, an unexpected familiar face as a guest star. Or, at least, a familiar voice, courtesy of Frasier’s phone-in radio show. And right now, it’s offered by Amazon at a ridiculously low price: under $60 for the entire set. – David Bianculli
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Good news, TVWW readers: David’s new book from Doubleday, The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to The Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific is now available in paperback for under $15. Doubleday says: “Darwin had his theory of evolution, and David Bianculli has his. Bianculli's theory has to do with the concept of quality television: what it is and, crucially, how it got that way."

"The Platinum Age of Television is an effusive guidebook that plots the path from the 1950s’ Golden Age to today’s era of quality TV. For instance, animation evolved from Rocky and His Friends to South Park; variety shows moved from The Ed Sullivan Show to Saturday Night Live; and family sitcoms grew from I Love Lucy to Modern Family. Interviews with Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Norman Lear, Bob Newhart, Matt Groening, Larry David, Amy Schumer are high points... Bianculli has written a highly readable history." —The Washington Post

 

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