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Nero Wolfe: Complete Series

4.8 out of 5 stars 233 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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.

Special Features

  • 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

Product Details

  • Actors: Timothy Hutton, Maury Chaykin, Colin Fox, Bill Smitrovich, R.D. Reid
  • Directors: Bill Duke
  • Writers: Paul Monash, Rex Stout
  • Producers: Delia Fine, Howard Braunstein, Michael Jaffe, Susan Murdoch
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 8
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: A&E Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: March 28, 2006
  • Run Time: 1496 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (233 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000CRR3CE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,419 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Nero Wolfe: Complete Series" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

The "Nero Wolfe" TV series (2001-2002) is brilliant - casting, colors, sound and scripts. Producers Michael Jaffe, Timothy Hutton, and Howard Braunstein did a superb job bringing Rex Stout's stories to the screen. Maury Chaykin, as Nero Wolfe, and Timothy Hutton, as Archie Goodwin, along with an excellent supporting cast - Colin Fox, Bill Smitrovich, Conrad Dunn, Kari Matchett, Saul Rubinek, R.D. Reid, Fulvio Cesere, Trent McMullen, and Francie Swift to name a few - do an exceptional job portraying Stout's cherished characters.

The "Nero Wolfe" DVDs have some extras (though fans of the series would be happier with more). Included with the set are: "The Golden Spiders," the 2000 TV movie which led to the series, "The Making of Nero Wolfe," a short documentary which offers interviews with Timothy Hutton, Maury Chaykin, and others involved in the production of this marvelous series, and a "bonus" widescreen version of "The Silent Speaker." To include the widescreen "bonus" of "The Silent Speaker" as an extra is ironic since all of the the episodes were shot in widescreen and should have been reproduced as such on the DVDs. And to make the set truly "mega" it would have been most gratifying if the European versions of the episodes were included in the set.

The producers choose some of Rex Stout's favorite Nero Wolfe stories for adaptation to the screen. "The Doorbell Rang," directed by Timothy Hutton, is the premier episode of the series. Nero Wolfe takes on "the big fish" J. Edgar Hoover to earn the biggest fee of his career. With the able assistance of Archie Goodwin, his intrepid legman, Wolfe triumphs over the F.B.I., earns his client's admiration (Mrs. Bruner, played by Debra Monk: "Is there anything you can't do?
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This series is just a joy from beginning to end. The cast work together well (especially Hutton and Chaykin), the scripts are witty and engage your brain, the sets and locations are impeccably filmed and the DVD transfer is decent. I am normally very much a "watch once" person, but I found myself watching the same episodes over again just to enjoy the "eye-candy" and the subtle nuances of the interactions between the characters.

In case you don't know, an unusual feature of this series is that the same core actors appear in all the episodes, but some are playing different roles each episode. We found that just added to the fun, but some folks might find it irritating, so be aware. Also look out for the use of colour - the series uses specific shades of green, red, and yellow all the way through.

I don't understand why this complete edition is cheaper than either of the two separate series. Sure, the DVDs are in slim-line cases, but I actually prefer those. The video quality is identical to the more expensive versions (I already had series 1 so I compared the two). Given the many hours of pleasure you will get from it, this complete edition is a fabulous bargain.

If A&E ever release these as widescreen HD DVDs I will likely buy them over again.

The tragedy is that A&E canned the show after the second season, so there will be no more Nero Wolfe.
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I have been a fan of Rex Stout for a long, long time. One reason I often dislike seeing books made into movies, or at least feel the movie pales when compared to the books, because often people see things differently. So when a beloved set of characters such as Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin is brought to film, I automatically cringe, because I am rarely pleased with the results. They tried in the late 70's with Thayer David playing Wolfe and Tom Mason as Archie. Excellent casting, but was a little late. Thayer David, a Sydney Greenstreet type actor, was perfect casting for Wolfe - the 1/7 of a ton genius detective that detects while never leaving him home. Only David was already ill, dying of cancer, so the weight loss and lacking of strength sadly hurt his performance. Later it was redone with William Conrad as Wolfe and too sexy Lee Horsely as Archie. Sorry, the series had Wolfe pacing when expounding to suspects and sitting on the corner of his desk. It made you wonder if the writers ever read Stout's books. So, when

Timothy Hutton stepped into Archie's shoes I had mixed reservations. I love Hutton, son of the brilliant Jim Hutton. While you see a lot of his daddy in him, he is definitely his own man, and cuts a smart style when fleshing out his roles.

So I thought, okay, he would make a good Archie. Then I wondered what about Wolfe? They cast Maury Chaykin. Brilliant! Wow, someone actually loved the books enough to follow them.

A&E is to be commended in letting Hutton run with the series for two seasons. They are to be CONDEMNED for canceling it because they deemed it too expensive to make. Shame on them! The series was a class act all the way. A delightful ensemble cast who changed roles episode to episode gave it a theatre feel.
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Nero Wolfe -- the agrophobic, orchid-growing gourmet with a penchant for solving the most complicated puzzles of all (those involving the complex motivations and machinations of humans)-- may be the world's greatest (fictional) detective of the 20th century. Even so, he couldn't do it without the smooth and street smart Archie Goodwin. Reading these mysteries is always a treat, and purists may argue that the book will always be better than anything made for the big or small screen. However, I must differ, which is something considering I used to be a reporter and one of the subjects I'm certified to teach is secondary English. In other words, I'm the type people would expect to be one of the aforementioned purists.

Maury Chakin (who does an admirable job playing the eccentric and egocentric Nero Wolfe) and Timothy Hutton (who just about steals the show as the debonair and determined Archie Goodwin) so skillfully execute their respective roles that the viewer may feel that he or she has walked into one of Rex Stout's books.

The rhythm, the dialogue, and the narration are all faithful to the author's voice. The pity of this series is that it is limited to 20 of the 73 stories Stout penned using Wolfe and Goodwin. It's my understanding that the series didn't produce the revenue expected by the powers-that-be at A&E, which I attribute to the erratic scheduling rather than the quality of the episodes.

Not only do I highly recommend seeing this series, but also reading Stout's Nero Wolfe mysteries.
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