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Reviewed by Josh Mahler
nlike so many other series that deteriorated in their final years, the ninth season of "Cheers" is as sharp and clever as ever. While other shows seem to lose their focus down the stretch – whether it's actors trying to launch movie careers or staff writers moving on to their own series – this is not the case with this classic Boston bar comedy as the stellar ninth season finished first in the 1990-91 ratings.
This installment of the series was so solid that it even landed the Emmy award for Outstanding Comedy Series, and cast members Kirstie Alley and Bebe Neuwirth took home Emmys for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy and Outstanding Supporting Actress, respectively (James Burrows also walked away with the Outstanding Directing honors).
Carla, Norm, Cliff and all the regular barflies return for season nine as Sam Malone (Ted Danson) has finally been able to buy the bar back. This comes at a cost to Rebecca Howell (Alley), however, as her billionaire boyfriend Robin Colcord (Roger Rees) is now on the lam (Sam turned him in on insider trading charges at the end of season eight), but has now asked Rebecca to wait for him while he is in prison. He is finally released on parole only to have Rebecca leave him at the altar as she realizes that she was only in it for his wealth, which – she thinks – is now gone.
In addition to an annual episode featuring the bar's biggest nemesis, Gary (Joel Polis) from Gary's Old Town Tavern (Boston Celtic great Kevin McHale also guest stars), a new adversary is introduced for Sam in the form of John Hill (Keene Curtis), the new owner of Melville’s (the restaurant that resides above Cheers). Fellow bartender Woody Boyd (Woody Harrelson ) is also confronted with an opponent of his own as the womanizing Henri (Anthony Cistaro) has followed Woody’s girlfriend Kelly home to Boston after her year in Paris.
The popular 1990’s talk show host Arsenio Hall pops in for a cameo, in addition to legendary sitcom producer Sheldon Leonard and former White House hopeful Michael Dukakis. There is also a special clip show celebrating the 200th episode of the series that is hosted by John McLaughlin and features the cast and crew answering questions between the clips.
The ninth season of “Cheers” will be a welcomed addition to any fan's collection. With some of the most focused writing and strong performances by an elite cast, it is unlikely that we will see another season of a comedy series so highly adorned ever again.
Special Features: Sadly, there are no special features on this five-disc set.