Nero Wolfe: Complete Series
DVD | Box Set
Like Sherlock Holmes and Watson before them, the brilliant but curmudgeonly Nero Wolfe and his streetwise sidekick Archie Goodwin are crime's greatest nemeses. With Nero preferring to solve crimes at home amid his orchid collection, it is Archie who does the legwork about town to allow Wolfe to unravel the most confounding crimes. Together the duo cracks cases of murder, deception, blackmail, and more, resulting in an unforgettable confection of mystery, suspense, and style.
Faithfully adapted from the best-selling stories by Rex Stout, THE COMPLETE NERO WOLFE MEGASET stars Maury Chaykin (The Sweet Hereafter) and Oscar(r) winner Timothy Hutton (Ordinary People) and features all 20 episodes of the critically acclaimed A&E series, including the feature-length series pilot, The Golden Spiders.
- All 20 episodes on eight discs, including the feature-length series pilot The Golden Spiders
- "The Silent Speaker" double episode in 16x9 format
- Bonus behind-the-scenes featurette: The Making of Nero Wolfe
- Cast biographies and filmographies
- Slim Case Box Set
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I just purchased the complete set (NOTE-the preview movie The Golden Spiders IS also in this very complete set) of season 1 and 2 from Amazon, and it is a region-free (or multi-region) DVD set that will play on any player (and was made in Australia, apparently). It was $77.69 with free shipping. Amazon item #ASIN: B00DM8LFZ6. 8 disks, nearly 1,500 minutes. It is superior! I had seen a few episodes back when they were broadcast, but I'd forgotten just how excellent the acting, production values, and costumes were.
And although I do own a region-free DVD player because of a collection I've put together of mostly UK TV shows, and I was prepared to play these on the player, I watched them all on my USA Region I Sony blu-ray player, so I know it will play on any player. I had never heard of region free disks, but I'm surely glad to know they exist.
So, to be clear, do not hesitate to buy this set, whether you are in the USA or the UK. You will be able to view it.
Highly recommended. A&E really ought to show this treasure again, and Amazon or Netflix should make this available for streaming.
Contents are identical to the 2006 release on the A&E label. *
Order whichever version is cheapest (usually this one).
The box under review was actually manufactured in Australia, but don't worry - it is region-free NTSC, which means it is compatible with all North American DVD players and televisions.
Eight DVDs in four standard-size double-DVD plastic cases; all in a cardboard slipcase.
- The 2000 pilot "Golden Spiders" (90 minutes)
+ Season One (2001) complete = Eight episodes (four are double-length)
+ Season Two (2002) complete = Twelve episodes (four are double-length)
+ Bonus: "The Making of Nero Wolfe", a 22 minute introduction to the series (2001)
(see end of this review for the titles of each episode)
HOW TO VIEW THIS SERIES:
-- Step One: Insert DVD number 8 (Volume 4, Disc 2) into your player.
Watch the pilot: "Golden Spiders".
-- Step Two: Watch the 22 minute bonus "The Making of Nero Wolfe" (also on DVD 8), an excellent introduction to the remaining episodes in the series (no spoilers).
-- Step Three: Watch DVDs 1 through 7 in that order. When you come to DVD 7, you have a choice of aspect ratio for watching "The Silent Speaker" -
The series is presented in the 4:3 aspect ration which was standard for televisions in 2001.
Apparently it was also filmed in the wide-screen aspect ratio of 16:9, common to modern televisions.
But only one episode is presented in wide-screen, "The Silent Speaker" on DVD 8.
"The Silent Speaker" can also viewed in the old 4:3 format on DVD 7.
If you have a modern TV set, by all means view it in wide-screen on DVD 8.
The pilot, "Golden Spiders", is rated M for Mature audiences, because of violence (Archie Goodwin actually tortures one of the bad guys to make him talk).
It is the best film in the series, and darker than the rest.
The remaining episodes (rated PG for Parental Guidance) are a bit flippant in tone, almost campy at times, but still rewarding for mystery buffs.
[a surprising number of Wolfe's clients are murdered after hiring him - seems like this would be bad for business.]
With Maury Chaykin as Nero Wolfe, and Timothy Hutton as Archie Goodwin,
this TV series was originally produced by the cable network A&E.
Hard to believe,
A&E has gone down-market considerably since then.
Back in 2000 they spent a lot of money and produced a quality product.
Set in 1950's New York, it was filmed in Toronto.
No problem. 2001 Toronto looked a lot like 1955 New York. Beautiful cinematography, sets, automobiles and costumes.
Not actual subtitles, but the DVDs are closed-captioned in English.
Closed-Captioning is activated while the disc is playing by pressing a button on your TV's remote.
"Subtitling" is activated by pressing a button on your DVD player's remote.
"Closed-Captioning" is obsolete, but it's better than nothing.
Unfortunately closed captioning will not work if your DVD player is connected to the TV using the preferred modern method of HDMI cable.
You have to use the three-cable (red-white-yellow) method to connect your player to the TV.
[a lot of the less expensive DVD players do not even give you the option of a three-cable output - one tip: DVD/VCR combo players always include a three-cable output.]
(old-fashioned coaxial cable also will work with closed captioning)
The remastering on these DVDs is pretty old, but looks gorgeous.
I think they would look even better on blu-ray, with everything in 16:9 widescreen.
Whenever it is released on blu-ray, I hope we will have subtitles instead of closed captioning.
* Earlier A&E DVD release: Nero Wolfe: The Complete Classic Whodunit Series (this is usually more expensive, though the contents are identical - including the bonus feature)
The A&E version is also available in separate volumes for Seasons 1 and 2, but that is really expensive.
- The Golden Spiders *
Season 1 (2001):
- The Doorbell Rang *
- Champagne for One *
- Prisoner's Base *
- Eeny Meeny Murder Moe
- Disguise for Murder
- Door to Death
- Christmas Party
- Over My Dead Body *
Season 2 (2002):
- Death of a Doxy *
- The Next Witness
- Die Like a Dog
- Murder Is Corny
- Motherhunt *
- Poison Ã la Carte
- Too Many Clients *
- Before I Die
- Help Wanted, Male
- The Silent Speaker *
- Cop Killer
- Immune to Murder
* 90 minute episodes, the rest are 45 minutes long (give or take a minute)
P.S. An earlier "Nero Wolfe" series (14 episodes) aired on NBC in 1981 starring William Conrad as Nero Wolfe.
It was preceded by a 1977 pilot starring Thayer David who passed away before filming on the series started.
Neither is commercially available at the present time,
nor are the two movies that Columbia Pictures made in the 1930s:
- "Meet Nero Wolfe" (1936) starring Edward Arnold
- "The League of Frightened Men" (1937) starring Walter Connolly
(but see my comment dated March 19)
Remember to start with Vol. 4 Disc 1 The Golden Spiders which is the TV pilot.
Episode Episode title Vol. Disc Parts
Pilot The Golden Spiders: A Nero Wolfe Mystery 4 2
1-1 "The Doorbell Rang" 1 1
1-2 "Champagne for One" 1 1 1 & 2
1-3 "Prisoner's Base" 1 2 1 & 2
1-4 "Eeny Meeny Murder Moe" 1 2
1-5 "Disguise for Murder" 1 2
1-6 "Door to Death" 2 1
1-7 "Christmas Party" 2 1
1-8 "Over My Dead Body" 2 1 1 & 2
2-1 "Death of a Doxy" 2 2
2-2 "The Next Witness" 2 2
2-3 "Die Like a Dog" 2 2
2-4 "Murder Is Corny" 3 1
2-5 "Motherhunt" 3 1
2-6 "Poison à la Carte" 3 1
2-7 "Too Many Clients" 3 2
2-8 "Before I Die" 3 2
2-9 "Help Wanted, Male" 3 2
2-10 "The Silent Speaker" 4 1
2-11 "Cop Killer" 4 1
2-12 "Immune to Murder" 4 1
"The Making of Nero Wolfe" 4 2
2-10 "The Silent Speaker" (16 x 9 Format) 4 2
Images have been good but the lack of subtitles is a deal breaker for me. The box indicates no subtitles, but no indication for closed captions. Had this been noted in the purchasing info on Amazon, I would have chosen a different version
I found closed captioning on the discs when I tried a new player. I used a sony bdp 3200 player which plays blu ray and has the dvd closed caption option. This changes my rating to 5 stars. Good Picture with closed captioning with HDMI ouput. There is no indication on the box for closed captioning but it is available on the discs I received.