on 30 May 2014
I have read all critical reviews regarding the packaging of this product. In my point of view, however, it's actually not that bad at all. Although I feel it would have been much easier to navigate if there were no more than 2 disks on each tray, I don't think it is "the worst packaging ever" kind of thing. I owned the previous set (Agatha Christie's Poirot The Complete Series 1-12 [DVD]) - and compared to the previous packaging, I actually like the new packaging better. At least, the new plastic inner cases are more durable and sophisticated looking than the previous paper & easily breakable plastic combo. If you own Jeremy Brett's Sherlock Holmes Complete Collection [DVD], the inner case design/material of the Poirot Definitive Collection is quite similar. The only downside is that unlike the Sherlock Holms collection that holds only 1 DVD on each pile (= max 2 DVDs on each tray), the Poirot collection is holding up to 2 DVDs stacked on several piles (= some trays holding up to 4 DVDs).
It is understandable some people worry about scratches and damages to the DVDs - but if you look closer, there is little space between the disks so the DVDs are not really directly contacted each other.
Anyhow, I guess "seeing is believing" - so I have uploaded some photos to "Customer Images". I hope they will help.
(UPDATE): In case if you still feel a pain in navigation, I would recommend you to reorganize the DVDs inside the box so that every tray holds 3 disks evenly (except the last tray of the second box which will hold 2 DVDs). First, take out all the DVDs from the box (at this point, I would also suggest you to check the back of each DVD to make sure there is no initially faulty disk. If you find any visible damage, contact Amazon immediately for exchange.) - then put 3 DVDs back on each tray. It may not sound like making much difference but I've found it better than dealing with 4 DVD trays :-)
on 6 January 2014
At last, we have a complete collection of Poirot episodes that can truly be called 'complete'. It boasts all 70 episodes of the ITV series starring David Suchet as the Belgian sleuth, from the first 'The Adventure of the Clapham Cook' to the final 'Curtain'. Everybody will have their own favourites. They can wander around the series, picking random stories, or do as I am doing, and starting from the very beginning and seeing them chronologically. As I haven't seen them for many years, the stories appear fresh, ready to see anew.
The discs have subtitles, should the viewer require them. The packaging is very poor, consisting of two large volumes of discs put in a larger case. Each volume has the discs crammed in, so that as many as three discs are squashed on top of one another, so that two have to be removed each time.
I can't help thinking that this clumsy presentation was thrown together in time to be released just after the final episode, and also for the Christmas 2013 market. I'm certain that there will be a better set coming out in the near future, most likely one on Blu-Ray as well. ITV have been very greedy in milking Poirot, putting out 'complete sets' every few years, although further episodes were still in production at the time.
Lastly, I have a massive gripe about the Piracy Warning. The one with the extra loud noise and the girl copying on the computer is shown, and unlike other discs that carry this, it cannot be skipped. We are forced to listen to it every time we put a 'Poirot' story on.
Grow up ITV! We are not naughty little children. That collection has been bought with our money, and we should not have to be forced to listen to that every time.
The Poirot stories are really five star, but I have to remove a star for the packing and that piracy warning.
on 6 December 2013
Of course, the Poirot series all together in one set is fantastic. A stunning televisual achievement, and wonderful to be able to work through from the very beginning again. The old episodes still hold up very well! Extra features are sparse, with the excellent ITV docs from the end of the series (Being Poirot) and the Orient Express adaptation, but only one feature new to DVD - a short interview with David Suchet. Similar features with other major cast/writers/etc. would have been very nice, but you can't have it all.
Now to the packaging. It's not perfect, but it really isn't the end of the world. When presenting 35 discs space is an issue, and unfortunately here discs are stacked in twos. Every fourth disc does require removing/replacing/holding/balancing three to unearth the one desired, which is annoying. I do feel that this set would be better in four DVD cases rather than two huge ones, as the sections can get a bit caught. This afternoon when replacing one of the first discs and closing the box, the next disc section caught a later disc and quite literally fired it across my living room floor at some speed. Obviously this is not ideal, but I don't expect it to damage the discs at any point. This first run of the set erroneously uses the collection nine disc art for the penultimate disc, which rather wrecks the aesthetic, but other than that the presentational style of the set is actually very good (look at the cover, it's really quite beautiful - and the two big DVD cases look pleasingly bookish when facing spine outwards from the cardboard casing). While it might not be the easiest to navigate through, this is absolutely no reason to be dissuaded from buying. Enjoy a piece of television history, complete at last!
on 5 February 2014
Suchet et al cannot be faulted for the series itself. It is without doubt among the best TV ever made in the UK, hence the two stars. Unfortunately the box set leaves much to be desired. Others have written about their dissatisfaction with the box itself and the packaging, but that doesn't concern me. The problem is with the disks. There are two faults - one is due to poor manufacture, and the other is due to poor judgement by the manufacturer.
The poor manufacture was what led us to return it. The collection comprises thirty-something disks. We happily (well, almost, but more of that later) watched disks 1 to 3, and then eagerly inserted disk 4. "Bad disk", our (perfectly serviceable) DVD player told us. Hmm. So we started on disk 5. This one froze repeatedly throughout the episode, making it unwatchable.
This may just have been bad luck, and so in the normal course we would have just asked for a replacement. However, this brings us to the error of judgement by the manufacturer. Every time you insert a disk into you player you are obliged to watch the 'you wouldn't steal a car' video. It is a video made for teenagers - loud music, steady-cams, filmed on an angle and with rapid cuts between camera angles.
The manufacturer is quite right - I don't steal. I am not a thief. Neither do I appreciate being forced to watch a video telling me that stealing is wrong. I have bought the disks - that is why I am seeing the message. The manufacturer's plea not to steal is aimed at the wrong person, and his insistence that I watch it every time I insert a disk is as annoying as it is insulting.
Because of the low opinion in which the manufacturer holds us, we elected to ask for a refund rather than a replacement. We will now look for an option that will allow us to watch Poirot without being repeatedly insulted by someone who has failed to properly consider the target for his anti-piracy message.
on 27 January 2014
It's a treat to own every Poirot episode on DVD, so that would be a five star experience. The image quality is as well as can be expected for the era and medium. No complaints there either. I doubt whether a Blu-ray version would make real sense - except for the last series perhaps - that's why I bought the DVD set instead of waiting for a Blu-ray version that may or may not come out later. I wanted this for a holiday home (which didn't have a Blu-ray player anyway) and was chuffed to bits whilst watching my old friends solve one crime after another, during the rainy and stormy days last December.
The 'Poirot era' has its own appeal, it shows you a world you maybe heard your parents or grandparents talk about. I love how it sweeps you away into another world. It feels very realistic, and for me it adds an extra dimension. The (now classic) cars and trains, the clothes and how polite people behaved back then... What a joy. And last but not least the beautiful settings, from luxury hotels and stately mansions to Poirot's own gorgeous apartment. It's a feast for the eyes, yes? ;-) I think the antebellum would be a great era to live in, despite the threat of another war looming overhead. But while the series make the viewer acutely aware of the past and coming war from time to time, it doesn't dwell on it too much, fortunately.
Most cases involve murder, or a jewel theft here and there, which are all delicate puzzles to solve of course, but Poirot and companions solve all crimes with a positive attitude and ample use of "the grey cells". Most buyers will probably be fans, so I won't dwell on the contents too much, but for the interested viewer who's less familiar with the series this will hopefully help you find out what to expect. Personally, I find it a very entertaining series, ideal if you want to escape for a little while from your busy daily life and dwell into a calmer, kinder world. That may sound strange for a series with so many murder cases, but in a lot of ways it's much less violent and graphic compared to modern detective series. (I like those too, but Poirot makes a nice change every now and again, if you know what I mean).
I've read some very negative comments about the packaging, but that's to harsh in my view. Sure, for the price it could have been a lot nicer, but it's basically OK. It's not the most elegant or luxurious box set, but it works. In fact it's rather ingenious if you want to save space, and definitely a whole lot better than the annoying spindle packaging you get with some box sets, where you have to take out the entire stack to find one single disc. Here they made a cardboard box containing two plastic, book like cases, where every 'page' of the 'book' holds 3 or 4 discs on each side. It's really not hard to figure out, and the release/hold mechanism works well, I have to say. The discs themselves simply list the episodes, and that's basically it. On the back (or front rather) of each of the two books is another simple episode list. There are no leaflets, booklets or what have you. If you want to know more about an episode you'll need to look up Wikipedia, IMDb etcetera on the Internet. I don't mind that. I often check my smartphone before, after or during an episode when I want some background details (Wikipedia really rocks for this!). Again, it's basic plastic and cardboard, but it works. It is a bit silly though that the 'book' covers are in fact on backwards / front to back. But hey, this way you'll see the episode list right away when you pull a book out of the box. ;-)
So why four stars and not five?
Because ITV apparently saw fit to put not only a WARNING but also a very LOUD and OBNOXIOUS anti-piracy video on EACH AND EVERY DISC! It's a wannabe hip (i.e. government style 'hip') video-clip showing several thieves, whilst visually shouting at you what you wouldn't steal, at the tones of some abrasive, droning wannabe 'music'. I know perfectly well what I would and wouldn't do, so therefore ITV really, really doesn't have to SHOUT it at me thank you very much ever so kindly...
First of all I have paid a solid £92.86 for this set when it first came out, so why should I have to watch this garbage every single time I put a disc in the player? Secondly, it's clearly targeted at teenagers, and let's be honest, they are probably not the biggest Poirot fan-base. And last but not least, this pestering ONLY strikes at PAYING customers! The download-community will simply delete the entire scene before sharing. So they will never watch it, or maybe once to have a laugh. This method is so last century, and proven ineffective and counter-productive. It'll only annoy your legitimate viewers! There are much better - and less intrusive - ways to protect one's earnings, like audio coding f.i., but you'll have to spend some to make some, ITV. This method is as CHEAP as it is ineffective (maybe even free) so that's probably why we, the paying customers, have to put up with this c.r.a.p. for as long as we own this box set!!
I can live with ONE (1) written 'nag screen' on something I bought and paid for. NOT with an abrasive barrage of sound and flickering images on every single disc!
A lady friend, who suffers from epilepsy, has to leave the room every time during this video-clip, because of the violent flickering of the screen. The noise is equally obnoxious. Especially if you watch several episodes in a 'marathon' fashion. Put a disc in the player and it'll be the first thing you see - and hear! The worst part is the fact that you can't skip it either, so you'll have to sit through it every time and again - or leave the room. In my opinion this is pure and utter SPAM. Unwanted and unsolicited garbage, stuck on something I bought and paid for. The BBC never pulls stunts like this, at least not on any series I have bought. It's not on any film disc I bought lately either, Blu Ray or DVD. So why ITV? Shame on you for pestering your customers this way. Next time I will think twice before buying anything ITV.
Frankly, there should be a warning on the box (and website) if they put any unwanted video/audio material on items you're about to purchase. We wouldn't allow the dealer to screw a 'safe driving' billboard on our brand new car, now would we? Sorry about the rant, but I really feel this policy by ITV is very, very rude, to say the least. And unnecessary.
Poirot gets five stars every time though. For everyone who loves to watch this series it will be a treat to own it in its entirety.
FIY: the episodes in the box are not in the same order as the books came out. (I'm not sure about the TV broadcasts, we don't receive ITV here). Either way, the time line is off. "The Mysterious Affair at Styles" for instance, Poirot and Hastings first case in the UK, is somewhere half-way the first box. By that time you'll have seen 19 episodes already. It doesn't really bother me, but be aware you will be doing some time travelling in this series. ;-)
Summarising, is it worth the money to own the full Poirot series? For me, YES, without a doubt. If you can live with the SPAM intro on every disc, by all means buy this set. If not, it could be worthwhile to look around for another box set, or a collection of individual series if they are without SPAM. In hindsight I would have looked elsewhere, given the opportunity of buying a 'clean' collection.
on 28 June 2014
As others have said, this is The Definitive Poirot collection. The acting, the costumes, the props, everything is superb.
However ITV have simply shoved the original 35 DVDs in 2 boxes with a nice picture on the front without re-ordering them or removing the stupid "You wouldn't steal a TV" (picture of two blokes shifting a huge old CRT telly out of a window) etc etc compulsory anti-piracy nonsense at the start of every disc except the last few or removing the nauseous Granada animated logo at the end of each episode obscuring the year of production. In order to understand how Poirot knows Hastings, you need to start with The Mysterious Affair at Styles, the first Poirot story. This is on Collection 2, disc 3!!! Evidently it was filmed a few years after the start and ITV left it there!
The difficulty of extracting these discs from their stupid packaging meant that 4 episodes were unplayable, presumably damaged by being packed in this fashion. Amazon supplied a replacement box set speedily but insist on getting the defective set back, even paying postage, which strikes me as nonsense.
Conclusion: use your little grey cells, overlook the awful packaging and enjoy the definitive Poirot!