The revitalized “Frasier” tries hard to do justice to its predecessor, even while its protagonist embarks on a whole new phase of life unaccompanied by any of the supporting cast from his previous show. New addition, British comedy legend Nicholas Lyndhurst, nicely fills the gap left by David Hyde Pierce, who chose not to return as Frasier’s brother, Niles, and the first episode respectfully mourns the loss of John Mahoney, who played Frasier and Niles’ father on the original series. The show being set in Boston also lends it a faint familiarity, with Frasier wasting no time in poking fun at “Cheers,” and perhaps hinting at future potential cameos from erstwhile stars of the esteemed sitcom. But if it wasn’t for Kelsey Grammer, none of this would have been possible.
Speaking to the Seattle Times, writer and co-showrunner Joe Cristalli explained that at one point the producers were considering setting the “Frasier” revival in New York City. But it was Grammer that stepped in and suggested Frasier return to his roots by going back to Boston. Cristalli said, “Once we hit on that, knowing that this was going to be about Frasier trying to reconnect with his son — [Boston is] where we last left Freddy and [ex-wife] Lilith and that’s where Freddy grew up.”
Cristalli expanded on the genesis of the show’s setting in a Variety interview, saying:
“Kelsey was like, ‘You know what? He’s got unfinished business in Boston. He’s not happy with the self he was in Boston. Let’s bring him back to Boston,’ That’s ostensibly where his son would still be living, and that’s where he grew up. It really clicked into place then. There were a lot of stops and starts but we ended up, I think, in a pretty good place.”