Becker: The First Season (1998)

Genre(s): Comedy
Paramount || NR - 370 minutes - $36.98 || April 1, 2008
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2008-04-06


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: NA
Writer(s): Dave Heckel (creator)
Cast: Ted Danson, Terry Farrell, Hattie Winston, Shawnee Smith, Alex Desert


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
    None


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Full Screen (1.33)
  • English (Stereo Surround)
  • Subtitles: None

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.::THE FILM::.

“Becker” is a semi-hit TV series that ran on CBS from 1998 to 2004, an impressive six seasons. It was created by Dave Hackel, who also served as executive producer on “Wings” and was a creative consultant on “Frasier”. The series follows Dr. John Becker, a grouchy fart who always speaks his mind even though nobody asks for his input. His only friends consist of a blind man (Desert), a coffee shop owner (Farrell), his office assistant/secretary (Winston) and a ditzy assistant (Smith).

“Becker” is the kind of show that is enjoyable enough and produces some good laughs, but never produced classic material compared to shows like “Cheers”, “Frasier” and even “Friends”. But what makes the show good is that is it has a certain heart at its core.

The first season shows promise and overcomes the series premiere jitters many suffer as it try to establish characters (within 23 minutes no less). But it is Ted Danson who shows why “Cheers” was such a success for 9 seasons. Even as a grump, his Dr. Becker character never crosses the line as obnoxious or unlikeable, helped primarily by episodes showcasing his softer side like paying for a sick kid’s medical care or staying by the bedside of a dying patient.

The supporting cast also works well together, developing a nice chemistry only a few episodes in. Terry Farrell as Reggie is cute, a bit feisty and an interesting inclusion as a sort of love interest for Becker, though nothing develops until, if I remember right, later in the series. The addition of Jake provides Becker with, I guess, his only male friend and although they use the blind jokes sometimes too often, he’s a fun character and Alex Desert plays him with good comic timing. Hattie Winston as Nurse Margaret plays the mother type to Becker grounding him and never taking crap from him either. Last, Saw fans will recognize Shawnee Smith and if anything, “Becker” shows she has a good amount of range able to handle thankless comedy to drama to horror-thriller.

“Becker” isn’t that great of a show and occasionally the gags/jokes fall short, but with Ted Danson in the lead and a solid supporting cast, it is far from an average series. For fans of Danson, or perhaps those yearning for ye ole days of the annoying laugh track, give this a try again. All 22 episodes are now available on DVD for the first time!

EPISODE LISTING:
01. Pilot
02. Take That Pill And Shove ‘Em
03. Sex In The Inner City
04. Tell Me Lies
05. My Dinner With Becker
06. Man Plans, God Laughs
07. City Lights
08. Physician, Heal Thyself
09. Choose Me
10. P.C. World
11. Scriptus Interruptus
12. Love! Lies! Bleeding!
13. Becker The Elder
14. Larry Spoke
15. Activate Your Choices
16. Limits And Boundaries
17. Partial Law
18. Saving Harvey Cohen
19. Truth And Consequences
20. Drive, They Said
21. Lucky Day
22. Regarding Reggie



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

No features included save for previews.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Given the show is going on 10 years old, the picture doesn’t look half bad. It is presented a full screen and I did notice some grainy elements at times, but it’s decent. I can say the same for the audio, though I would save using your surround sound and stick with TV speakers. Consider it your way to save the environment.



.::OVERALL::.

As I said, this isn’t that great of a show nor is it a memorable one, but it does offer good laughs and a nice cast. It would’ve been nice if there was at least a featurette with cast interviews, but given Paramount didn’t give much for “Frasier”, not all too surprising.