Nero Wolfe: The Complete First Season
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Top Customer Reviews
Nero Wolfe (Maury Chaykin) has often been called the American Sherlock Holmes, though he actually takes after Sherlock's older brother, Mycroft. Wolfe is an enormous sedentary genius with a penchant for fine food, orchids, and books (in that order), and a distaste for work. He loves his routine, and never leaves his Manhattan townhouse on business if he can help it. To help with the food, he employs a Swiss gourmet chef, Fritz Brenner (Colin Fox). To help with the business, he employs Archie Goodwin (Timothy Hutton).
Archie, the narrator of both Stout's books and the series, is Wolfe's complement and factotum. A licensed private detective himself, he not only does all the legwork (often assisted by freelance operatives Saul Panzer (Conrad Dunn), Fred Durkin (Fulvio Cecere), and Orrie Cather (Trent McMullen)), but also badgers Wolfe into doing his "genius" part. Suave, cute, witty, charming, ebullient, confident, and very attractive, Archie takes more after Sherlock: He loves to work. (Though of course, he also knows how to play.)
This series is truly a delight. Each episode stands on its own as an entertaining, exquisite work of art. The attention to detail is remarkable. Each frame is a painting; each line is music to my ears (and many are quotable). The actual music (ranging from Jazz to Classical) always fits the setting, and is expertly recorded under the direction of Michael Small.
The actors above (and Bill Smitrovich as Inspector Cramer and R.D. Reid as Sgt. Purley Stebbins both of Manhattan Homicide) fit their characters the way Jeremy Brett fit Sherlock Holmes. It's a pleasure to spend time with them.Read more ›
The genius of Rex Stout's work is that he combined the classic American hardboiled private eye (Mike Hammer, Sam Spade) with the intellectual British style of sleuth (Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple, Poirot). Bringing these characters of Archie Goodwin and Nero Wolfe to the small screen was a labor of love for Timothy Hutton, and I for one am thankful for his work. The repertory style group of guest stars was another unique aspect to this series, where the same group of guest actors would play different characters each week, sometimes villians and sometimes victims. The quality of acting is top notch. The banter between Wolfe and Archie is a real treat to watch, and Hutton's version of Archie is so convincing, that I hear his voice when I read Stout's novels.
A word to parents, this is intelligent, well-written drama/adventure that the whole family can enjoy. The "curses" of choice are "Nuts!" and "Flummery!" - nothing worse. While there are murders, we do not see the murders happen, and there is no gore seen. Also, despite Archie being a ladies man, there is no overt sexuality. Sadly, as with many 'failed' shows today, it was probably too intelligent for the average viewer used to equating 'shock value' and 'crassness' with entertainment.Read more ›
If you watch Monk I would guess you'd like this show as well. Both take serious situations--murders--and allow colorful, interesting characters do the investigating, totally escaping the redundant and melodramatic "ripped from the headlines" mysteries depicted in countless derivative programs on even the most prominant networks. Oh, and those twists you like so much if you watch Law and Order or the Practice... Nero Wolfe often has those as well, better ones even.
Nero Wolfe, like Monk, is classy television. Every frame shot and every word spoken oozes with creativity, and the result is a fun, light-hearted, and intelligent murder mystery every time. In short, its about a shut-in, obese, extremely proud, and utterly brilliant private detective (Nero Wolfe, played by Maury Chaykin), and his clever, resourceful, and oddly loyal leg man Archie Goodwin (Timothy Hutton), and their combined effort to solve murder mysteries for a fee (Wolfe is well off, and it's easy to see why). I say oddly loyal because frankly they have almost nothing in commmon. For instance: Nero hates women, he barely tolerates them, but Archie is the quintessential ladies-man. Nevertheless, the relationship between them is very special, and their exchanges are priceless. Such an accomplishment is a credit to the writers and performers. Making that relationship work--every episode, mind you--was a formidable task.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Occasionally, but all-too rarely, one comes across a movie or television series that is cast absolutely perfectly: one thinks of Sean Connery as James Bond, David Suchet as Hercule... Read morePublished on Sept. 24 2010 by Edward S. Franchuk
I read books for entertainment and am not one well versed in criticism. I got hooked on Wolfe years ago while travelling a lot. Read morePublished on Sept. 12 2005 by Devon Taylor
If you like the books you will enjoy watching this series. Entertaining and faithful Rex Stout's unique writting style. I just wish A&E had continued adapting the books to filmPublished on July 16 2004 by S. Taylor
Most television adaptations of iconic mystery sleuths are faithful to the source material but the casting is usually the problem, but it is the opposite here--Chaykin and Hutton... Read morePublished on July 11 2004 by criderman
Unlike the other reviewers, before seeing any of these movies I had read all of the Rex Stout Nero Wolfe stories and books. Read morePublished on July 7 2004 by Richard A. Rodman
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