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4.7 out of 5 stars
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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 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 16 January 2009
There were some fantastic British comedies created in the 1970-1990 period and this would have to be in the top 3.
The production team have re-created work from PG Wodehouse as if it was especially written for Fry and Laurie.
Even the American episodes are carefully worked into the series.
Good content (modern writers please note), good actors, good production. Wonderful outcome!

Some people have criticised the quality of the picture. I found the Amazon version very good - at least it doesn't look like a kid with a little video camera has taken it- hence is unlike some modern shows.
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on 10 January 2009
I remember at the time how well Fry & Laurie slotted into these characters - almost as if they had been written for them (which of course they weren't.)

One thing that stood out as soon as episode one had passed the credits is the pretty awful picture quality in places. The box proclaims "digitally restored" but the parts of the picture that are particularly annoying are actually digital artifacts. Part of the picture freezes in the background when there is no movement and there is additional digital blocking in places too. And another thing!!! - this looks like it was shot on film, transferred to tape and then to DVD. Possibly the worst TV DVD I've seen picture wise.
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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 4 September 2010
Coudn't get a better series; acting, story, locations and periodicity are all first class. 5 stars! What is very dissapointing to the point of actually detracting from the episodes is the unbelievebly bad quality of the viewing experience, as if it was filmed in video 8, transferred to VHS and played a 100 times that then badly digitised. The colour is so washed out that at times it is nearly black and white, little contrast and very low detail, to the point of not having pixels making up the picture but big blocks. Digitally enhanced?!! my phone produces better video than this. Zero stars for the video quality!
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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 26 January 2016
I love these two. Some episodes are better than others - the Wodehouse storylines are of course the best. Using different actors to play different parts is a bit annoying but you maybe only notice it if you watch several in close succession (which we did!)
There is no index with it which is frustrating if you want to revisit your favourite episode later on, but all these small irritations are worth overcoming for the sheer brilliance of Wodehouse, Fry and Laurie.
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on 2 June 2009
You know that "You wouldn't steal a car"-video? This DVD box has 8 discs and all of them start with that silly propaganda. And you're forced to watch it! I tried to press the "menu" button on my remote, but then I was forced to watch it AGAIN! I mean, I BOUGHT this collection, why do they treat me like a criminal?

Anyway, let's move to the contents: Nice-looking menus and pretty easy navigating (although sometimes a little hard to see which choice is marked), subtitles in English for the deaf/hard of hearing (very good!), good quality audio/video and a nice box that looks pricey.

For those who are not familiar with Jeeves & Wooster, it's a comedy show about a rich bachelor and his valet in 30's Britain. The humour is both intellectual and silly, mixing an old-fashioned way of talking with slapstick sound effects. Almost every episode is about Wooster getting rid of enamoured ladies (or pairing them with friends of his) and keeping his exasperating aunt Agatha satisfied. His humble valet Jeeves always comes up with ingenious solutions to the farcical mess.
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