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P.S. - These are in no specific order, so just look at my star ranking to see how much I truly like each film.
This show, not Seinfeld, is the best comedy of the '90's
That being said it's all a matter of opinion, of course, & I also think Seinfeld is a fine show, but for me nothing can touch Frasier. Both Seinfeld & Friends were more popular shows in that decade, ratings wise, but come awards season they probably dreaded having to go up against this marvel.
Not that that alone makes Frasier better in my eyes. I don't even necessarily think it should have won 5 consecutive best comedy Emmy's (the love could have been spread around)but the acting & writing made me keep tuning in without fail. I loved Grammar on Cheers & when I heard Frasier Crane would get his own spin off I was ecstatic, if also a bit worried. I was afraid they would water the character down somehow, or that as good as Grammar was on Cheers he couldn't be a lead - how I love to be wrong! Grammar could not only be a lead, I would easily rank him as one of the best actor's of the '90's (drama or comedy). The other masterstroke was to have such a talented ensemble surround him. The brilliant timing & chemistry between them all was evident from the 1st episode.
Speaking of that, watch just the first episode of the series again if you think I'm overdoing it a bit.I watch a lot of comedies & I don't know of another that from episode 1 hit the ground running in such a tremendous way. Not even great comedies like MTM, MASH, Taxi, or Seinfeld grabbed you in such a way to make you think you were watching greatness happen. From the performances to the writing (watch how they made Frasier's backstory clear, to why he was now in Seattle, to his less than harmonious relationship with his father & brother)to just being plain funny & heartfelt (the argument Frasier has with Martin, his dad, that could have damaged thing's between them permanently to the wonderful way Martin apologizes).
A few last words - the other thing the producers of this show did brilliantly was cast David Hyde Pierce. His Niles simply is one of the best creations ever, right up there with Ed Asner's Lou Grant & Danny Devito's Louie DePalma. Although I said they could spread the love around a bit with the best comedy series Emmy, I actually would have been OK with DHP winning not just 4 awards as best supp. actor, but 11 of them, 1 every year. He is that good that there is at least 1 episode in every season that is Emmy worthy. Seriously.
I was sad to this fine program go, but I own all 11 seasons on DVD & randomly stick a disc in to watch when I need a boost or just to witness fine comedy of the like I'm afraid may not get made again.
Ugly Betty (2006)
Great new show
I just watched "Ugly Betty" Thurs. night and I have to say that I think it is a wonderful new series.
Star America Ferrara makes the show completely worthwhile. I have seen most of the new show's that have premiered this season so far and, in my opinion, Ferrara gives hands-down the best new female performance out there. The portrait that she paint's as Betty is realistic, humorous, and makes you feel for her in everything that she does or wants to do. I doubt there is anybody that won't root for this lovely girl (and yes, she is lovely and MORE, even in the "Betty" get-up because she is such a sweet, intelligent, accomplished, and kind person).
The show as a whole is a bit formulaic, but what show isn't up to a certain degree? The rest of the characters are pretty well done (most especially the girls who become Betty's friends at the magazine), though it will take some time to make them as interesting as the main character.
My wife wanted to watch this first episode more than I did, but I'm very glad I watched with her. This will easily be classified as a "chick show" but I believe that anybody will like it once they give it half a chance. Everybody has felt the way Betty feels at some point in there life & that will be a drawing point into her world, I think.
All I can say is WATCH IT. It won't be for everyone but many will be pleasantly surprised. America Ferrara is brilliant. I think she should get her Emmy speech ready now.