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4.7 out of 5 stars381
4.7 out of 5 stars
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For me, Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie were, are and always shall be, the quintessential Jeeves and Wooster! As English as Pimms and cucumber sandwiches, this glorious P.G. Wodehouse creation lifts the veil on the altogether more carefree life in 1920's high society, ironically observed through the wit of one of our great writers. And who better to bring it to the screen than two of our greatest comic talents.

Sadly, P.G. Wodehouse has suffered of late from the tight mouthed disapproval of Political Correctness. Landed gentry, dutiful servants, dim-witted police characatures, debutantes obsessed with marriage and black and white minstrel groups are not always popular topics today. I wish that some people could just get over their angst about "toffs" though, and see this for what it is - a wry and witty gallop through an entirely different era. This is comic farce, and it pokes fun at absolutely everyone.

I doubt this series could have been made today, but thank heavens it was, getting on for twenty years ago. As such, please remember that fact when watching these DVDs. The style of filming is a far cry from today's frenetic jump-cut output. But that just adds to the experience, and enhances the other-worldly feel of an altogether more innocent, genteel era.

There have been some voices of dissent about the story line here and there in this series. One feels that new scripts - partially removed from the writings of Wodehouse and involving a trip to the States - were created to help sales of the series in the US. They are, occasionally, less than wholly successful. Having said that, the majority of episodes are true to form, and the American settings do provide an interesting contrast to the usual round of English country houses and the glorious Drones club. If you too enjoy the episodes so much that you watch several back-to-back, you may notice also that one or two of the characters are played by more than one actor. These are minor niggles though in what I otherwise treasure as a real high point in television.

When the big box set was originally released by Granada the picture quality was - as is much of their shoddy output by the way - horrible! Note to Granada - pay more attention to quality!!! Luckily, this and the preceding re-packaged set of the complete four series collection are much better, having been digitally re-mastered. I just wish they'd filmed more episodes. Reaching the end of the final disc left me feeling sad that there were no more to view - my evenings would not be quite the same.

I heartily recommend you buy this set - it will give you many hours of enjoyment. Mix yourself a cocktail, pull up a chair and say PAH! to political correctness!
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on 11 May 2009
Fry and Laurie as Jeeves and Wooster... What a perfect pairing of perfect pairings.

So what if Clive Exton sometimes plays fast and loose with the original material? The adaptations are still written with the greatest respect for that material so that the spirit of the world of Wooster is there in spades and Wodehouse's mastery of the English language would, I suspect, still shine through no matter what you tried to do with it.

Modern ITV drama and comedy generally comes in for quite a lot of bashing, but back in the 1980s and 1990s, Granada TV was producing an output that was amongst the best that British television has ever produced, and this series, produced at during the same period they were creating their definitive SHERLOCK HOLMES series lives up to that fine pedigree. The productions are beautifully performed - the comic timing is spot on - and always look expensive with a fine attention to the period detail.

Perhaps the biggest shock of all comes when you see just how young Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie actually look at the time of filming, but also how utterly convincing they are. Is Stephen Fry still channelling Jeeves when he presents QI? I suspect so. I also suspect that any HOUSE aficianados might be amazed at Hugh Laurie's performance here as the difference between the two characterisations is nothing short of phenomenal.

Special mention should also be made of the gallery of actresses performing the parts of the terrifying selection of Wooster Aunts that arrive to befuddle and bewilder the life of Bertie Wooster who manage to convey their matriarchal power to such great effect, and also of the young men and women (many soon to find greater fame elsewhere) who play Bertie's bizarre selection of chinless chums so convincingly, a bunch who, quite frankly, young Bertie should pack a bag and skedaddle away from as soon as poss, if he knows what's good for him.

Maybe the picture quality could be better, maybe some modern viewers would be uncomfortable with the nature of the stories themselves, and maybe the productions might now seem a little slow to the modern viewer, but they are productions of their time and should be viewed as such, so sit back, pour yourself a large Pimms (or whatever your preference - other comestibles are available) and (if you're in that sort of mood) savour 23 of the most sublime hours of TV entertainment that you're likely to see.
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on 5 February 2014
I originally bought the region 1 DVD set many years ago and now that I have a large screen LED tv, the shortcomings are appalling. Low resolution, washed out colors, overall a poor transfer with obviously no remastering. Since I have a region free blu ray player, I opted to buy this version from amazon.uk, and am immensely pleased. Beautiful, rich colors, sharp picture, wonderful sound. It really does justice to the art direction and design of the show. Highly recommended for Jeeves/ Laurie/Fry fans!
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on 22 August 2011
My husband and I just can't wait to get home from work to watch another episode or two of this superb series. It is the epitome of classic British humour. Jeeves is always one step ahead of his charge. The era in which the series is set is just perfect for this type of comedy. Love the costumes, the elegance, and the decadence of the times. I would definitely recommend this one and will be re-watching over again.
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on 9 December 2008
A Bit of Fry & Laurie: Season One [1989] (REGION 1) (NTSC)

A fine set of tales that make one chortle away like crazy ! Stephen Fry & Hugh Laurie do justice to some top-notch scripts that capture the art-deco , jazzy era of the 1930's but to perfection. They are very entertaining as Jeeves navigates young Bertie through one social awkward situation after another. Clive Exton did a superb job with this as he did with various Poirot adaptations during the 1990's. He did produce fine episodes of both that delighted the public and this fine series is a great legacy.

It is a massive mickey take on the 1930's as Aunt Agatha terrifies both Bertie and the viewer ! One gets the feeling the master & servant routine is not so clear cut as Jeeves is thankfully for Bertie really in the driving seat. This does cause one to think about Black Adder The Third and Up Pompeii as they where based upon a similar premise !

If you are a fan of Poirot but fancy art deco & dry humor but without the dead bodies then this is the show for you ! Likewise admirers of Mr Fry & Mr Laurie are in for a great treat. So don't delay buy today !

It will make the time fly by !
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on 24 November 2009
An absolutely wonderful adaptation of P.G.Wodehouse's stories about the wealthy layabout Bertram Wilberforce Wooster and his personal Gentleman's Gentleman, Jeeves. Or, that is to say, while Jeeves and Wooster are the central characters in every episode, the real story is as much about the peculiar mores of well-to-do society in England in the 1920s and 1930s, as conjured up by Wodehouse with impressive doses of warmth, humor and keen insights into human psychology.

It all clicks, from the introductory jazzy tune by Anne Dudley and the accompanying art deco animation, which immediately tells us where we are in time and style, to the simply brilliant casting of Stephen Fry as Jeeves and Hugh Laurie as Wooster. Fry glides through the scenes, amused and totally in control (except when Jeeves is confronted by unexpected and ungentlemanly wardrobe choices), while Laurie gets most of the lines and can ham it up as the amiable and essentially generous and decent Bertie Wooster, who, while clearly one of more intelligent members of the Drones Club, is nevertheless not quite as clever as he imagines himself to be, and inevitably will require the supreme manipulative abilities of Jeeves in order for everything to sort itself out by the end of each episode.

The story will very often turn around an engagement, either due to the machinations of one of Bertie's aunts and their desire to see him married off (and Bertie's desperate and not very well thought out plans to avoid the intended fate) or a similar predicament involving one or more of his fellow members of the Drones Club (and Bertie's not very well thought out plans to assist his friend).

The 23 episodes are collected in four series of two DVDs each. One mildly irritating bit is the inability of the producers to retain the actors playing the various recurring characters from one series to the next, with the exception of Fry and Laurie. Recurring characters like Gussie Fink-Nottle, Madeline Basset, Cyril "Barmy" Fotheringay (Fungy) Phipp or Bingo Little reappear with different actors playing the parts, which is a minor letdown in that it makes it slightly harder to immerse oneself in the universe, being constantly reminded that these are just actors. But that is a niggling and decidedly minor quibble. Otherwise the evocation of the time period, the sets, actors and entire production gets it all right.

In the middle Laurie and Fry inhabit their characters perfectly, and suffusing everything is the crisp and simply supreme dialogue written by P.G. Wodehouse.

The image and sound is excellent, but there is no extra material on the DVDs. You get the series and that's it. But what a marvelous series.

Highly recommended
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on 6 August 2010
Fry and Laurie ARE Jeeves and Wooster but someone really needs to explain to the producers what 'digitally remastered' means. Classic comedy it might be but the quality is video at best.
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on 4 September 2009
This set is perfect for when there's nothing on telly that you want to watch (seems to happen more often nowadays?), but when you also don't want to watch a feature film. Each episode is beautiful - something to be savoured. Jeeves' remarks are priceless, and to cap it all everyone in my family loves them - even my 5 year old daughter. Well done (again) Fry & Laurie.
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on 10 February 2004
Much was already said about the story itself, so I'll just add on a few technical details. The picture quality is quite low - obviously, no remastering was made, and the quality is much similar to that of VHS - with lots of noise and quite dimmy colors. Looks like this Granada company is just plain copying VHS to digital (they did the same with Sherlock Holmes series, and the R1 release is WAY better in terms of picture quality, probably the R1 Jeeves & Wooster megaset is also better). The sound is 2.0, but this does not really matter, as it is more about the story, than about how it sounds :-)
And what's most embarassing - no subtitles! And this set DOES require them - hey, we're not all native English out there, and some visual help would be much appreciated, as the language can be quite brainswarming :-).
But overall, quite a nice set.
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on 26 September 2009
This has to be the best comedy bargain on Amazon. 19 hours of fun for under 13 quid - I call that value. The picture quality of my box set from Amazon is perfect - although I do have to play it on an all regions DVD player here in Australia. Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie are like ham & mustard in this box set - the perfect combination. Stephen Fry's immaculate and ingenious valet, Jeeves, and Hugh Laurie's boneheaded but affable Bertie Wooster are endearing and hilarious. Watch Bertie dodge the terrifying Aunt Agatha's attempts to marry him off (mostly to the equally terrifying Honoria Glossop)! See Jeeves rescue Bertie from innumerable hare-brained schemes! Goggle as upper class inbred nitwits with impossible names (some favourites: Gussie Fink-Nottle (newt fancier extraordinaire) and "Barmy" Fotheringay-Phipps) embroil the hapless Bertie in doomed scenarios. Fun for all the family, and what a hoot to compare the dapper Bertie to todays "House"!!
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