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  • I have read every Nero Wolfe book printed and own most of them. I have been reading about the undertakings of the great Nero Wolfe and his right-hand man, Archie Goodwin, since I was in school. It was with great trepidation that I viewed this series; fully expecting to see miscast characters, loss of the very meticulous detail which makes the books so enticing, and a total loss of plot. I was genuinely and wonderfully surprised to find that my expectations were way off the mark.

    I could not have cast the characters better had I been permitted to choose them myself. I have been casting these characters in my mind since I started reading the books. I chose Raymond Burr for the part of Nero Wolfe, and although I do believe he would have done the part justice I sincerely do not believe he could have done a better presentation than Mr Chaykin. I was never able cast Archie's part in my mind to any satisfaction and when I read that Timothy Hutton would be playing the part I thought that was a serious error. However as it turns out Mr Hutton plays a perfect Archie. I am at a loss for words to describe why he is so fitted to the character. He looks like Archie, he acts like Archie - he simply is Archie.

    The detail that the series has managed to preserve is amazing. If you've read the books you are familiar with the red leather chair and the yellow leather chairs and who gets which and when! Not only are the chairs brought to life, the elevator, the decor, the orchids, Fritz in all of his self righteousness, Wolfe's pushing in & out of his lips, the froth on the beer, the milk, the typewriter....the adherence to the novels is outstanding!! This show feels familiar the first time you watch it.

    As it turns out my estimation on the probability of the plots falling apart was also unfounded. The plots are not compromised. We are not shorted a good run down of the clues. I have yet to find a question unanswered. Another wonderful adaptation.

    This series has also taken a fairly unique approach to casting the supporting roles in that with the exception of the recurring roles of Wolfe, Goodwin, Fritz, Saul, Orrie, Fred, Cramer and perhaps one or two other minor characters all of the supporting cast appear to be made up of the same actors every week. For example, Christine Brubaker has shown her wide range of acting capability playing parts from a night club singer to a newspaper columnist. This concept not only impresses the audience with the amount of talent but also adds to the feeling that this series is an old friend who has returned for another treasured visit.

    I would highly recommend this series to anyone. If you've read the books, I promise that you will not be disappointed. If you have not read the novels then you will be introduced to some of the most complex, human and entertaining characters you will ever meet.

    A+ to all involved.
  • tina-silber20 December 2004
    Magnificent performances: Tough to fill Archie Goodwin's shoes, and even tougher to fill Nero Wolfe's, but Timothy Hutton and Maury Chaykin do it in these splendid, remarkably faithful adaptations of Rex Stout's addictive detective novels. Bill Smitrovich as Inspector Cramer, Colin Fox as Fritz; Conrad Dunn, Fulvio Cecere, and Trent McMullen as the 'Teers; and R.D. Reid as Sergeant Purley "I tawt you wuz already gone" Stebbins are also dead-on and delightful. Plus a tour-de-force for the non-recurring roles, in the best theater tradition but unique for television -- a talented repertory cast, led by Kari Matchett, Debra Monk, Francie Swift, James Tolkan, Nicki Guadagni and the late great George Plimpton.

    Kudos especially to head writer Sharon Doyle for not only keeping the faith with Stout's marvelous language – the dialog and Archie's first-person narrative (here as voice-over) – but actually enhancing the stories with worthy-of-Stout inventions of her own. Some standouts: In "Disguise for Murder" and "Eeny Meeny Murder Mo" we get ringside seats at the card games which are unseen teasers in the books; in "Poison a la Carte" we share a beautifully poignant, wordless concluding scene that speaks volumes about the relationship between Wolfe and Fritz; in "Christmas Party" and "Door to Death" we get priceless gems from a jealous Lily Rowan;and joy of joys, in "Silent Speaker" we get the Nero Wolfe series' own "Mrs. Columbo" – Mrs.Cramer, in person, joining forces with Archie for fun with Fergus.

    The sets are stunning, especially the beloved Brownstone in all its glory.

    This is the show that introduced millions of viewers to Wolfe and Archie and catapulted their creator, whose last book was published 30 years ago, to the top of the used book sales charts. Season One and Season Two Nero Wolfe on DVD are treasures for new and longtime fans alike. The absence of a Season Three on A&E and DVD is sad evidence of a once proud television network gone to the dogs.
  • sleepycat-119 December 2004
    The "Nero Wolfe" TV series (2001-2002) was brilliant, and if you missed it on TV or, like its myriad fans, want to see it again and again, "Nero Wolfe" is available on DVD. Producers Michael Jaffe, Timothy Hutton, and Howard Braunstein did everything right - the cast, the dialogue, the sets, the wardrobe, and the music. Everything that Rex Stout put into his stories can be seen on these DVDs. ("Nero Wolfe-The Complete Season One" and "Nero Wolfe-The Complete Season Two") And the quality of the DVDs, both the audio and the video, is superb.

    The Doorbell Rang (the first episode on the Season One DVD set), starring Timothy Hutton as Archie Goodwin, and Maury Chaykin as Nero Wolfe, is an exceptional adaptation of Rex Stout's 1965 novel. Nero Wolfe, with the assistance of Archie Goodwin, his intrepid legman, takes on "the big fish," J. Edgar Hoover.

    The Season Two DVDs are every bit as fine as the Season One set in audio and video quality. Season Two has the added fillip of bonus material which was sadly lacking in the Season One set. The Season Two set includes "The Golden Spiders," the 2000 TV movie which led to the series, and "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. Also included as a "bonus" is a widescreen version of "The Silent Speaker." (It is unfortunate that A&E did not see fit to offer all of the episodes in widescreen.) After enjoying Nero Wolfe Season One and Two you'll want more adaptations of Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe done by Jaffe, Hutton et al. You'll also wonder what fit of nincompoopery came over A&E and made them cancel this exemplary series.
  • I love this series passionately. A murder mystery set in the late 50s, with fast-paced wit and style. It gets you thinking not just about the murders, but about the people; how they really behave and how sharp one has to be to keep up with the threads of so many suspects lives and possible motives.

    The books are just as fast paced and difficult to follow as the TV series can be. Definitely not for mothers who intend to get the knitting/ironing done while half concentrating on the TV.

    But you've never seen such quality on American television - in fact, you'd almost swear it was British. The script is impeccable, the cast perfect, the performances true to the novel, and obviously Timothy Hutton is loving every minute of his role as Archie Goodwin. (a role which he has made successfully jump straight from the pages of Rex Stout's novels, onto the screen.)

    But the best part; you can watch them over and over, because there'll always be an angle you missed, a glance, a witty line, a plot twist. And knowing how often TV shows are repeated isn't this a godsend? Haven't we had enough of the crud you can watch with your eyes closed, while-knitting-on-the-phone-doing-the-ironing?
  • This series is one of the bright spots of television broadcasting. An intelligent and engaging action detective show with a fabulous ensemble cast. Each episode is a sparkling adaptation of one of the 74 popular mystery novels or novellas written by Rex Stout and featuring the 1/7th of a ton, brilliant, orchid loving, gourmet detective Nero Wolfe and his free wheeling and wise-cracking assistant Archie Goodwin. The best screen adaptation of a detective book series since William Powell and Myrna Loy in The Thin Man series in the 30s and with much of the charm and sophistication that made Nick and Nora Charles so beloved. Don't miss Nero Wolfe, Archie Goodwin and the other denizens of the brownstone on 35th Street in NYC, home of the world's largest and greatest detective.
  • Witty dialogue, accurate representation of original characters. Something to watch without all the smarmy content that is on much of TV. There is humor, mystery and an excellent ensemble cast. Timothy Hutton is the perfect Archie Goodwin and we are able to see how well he inherited his father's light touch with humor.
  • How could they Cancel Nero Wolfe. Starring Timothy Hutton as Archie Goodwin the assistant to the Famous Nero Wolfe played by Maury Chaykin. The plots are Fantastic I have never seen a Nero Wolfe I didn't like, Archie is hilarious when he annoys the Wolfe and Wolfe would never want to get rid of Archie because he is the best assistant. The characters are very well rounded and very versatile. The regular characters like Lon Cohen and Saul Panzer are very intriguing. I bought the box sets and just wish that I could see new ones every week. I recommend all of you TV watchers out there that like Detective Shows watch this they should be available on A&E every now and then or even at your local video store but it is well worth it.
  • I really love 4 am, because that's when Nero Wolfe movies turn up on Sky Satellite here in the UK. The logic of them is as impenetrable as the dialogue, the plots as murky as an old fog, but they're fun. Nero Wolfe, the character, absorbs me. He has wonderful taste in food, but likes canary yellow shirts, an impeccable library, a wonderful orchid room, and he lives totally in his head. I love the scenes where they show you all the delicious food and old Nero sets poor old Fritz impossible tasks - like finding Iranian coriander, or meat during the great meat shortage. I love old Cramer the detective and his sidekick, Curly. Those two are so full of malice, I'll bet they don't have to pull their guns out to kill anyone. Archie's pretty good too, though if he was my assistant I'd slap him for his cheek. The women are pretty exotic, along the lines of 'dames' or 'broads' in writers like James Hadley Chase.The sets are classy, the graphics incredible, the mis-en-scene terrific. But the best bit is the food. Only one thing, you never see old Nero drinking wine, his favorite tipple is beer. Personally, I like beer, I've got nothing against it, but for a real haute couture man, I feel red wine would be classier.John Olsson
  • jackkryst29 April 2002
    This is the best of all film and TV attempts to capture the environment and characterizations of the world of Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin that Rex Stout created. Timothy Hutton's Archie Goodwin is dead on. Fans of the books will delight in the wealth of detail in the environment and in the characters.
  • I was begining to wonder, with one boring TV season after another, and "Frasier" being the only show to watch. Now I have "Wolfe." I hope A & E will keep it around for awhile. Timothy Hutton and Maury Chaykin are brilliant in their roles as Archie Goodwin and Nero Wolfe. My dad is a big fan of the books, and he says they're excatly how he would have pictured them to be.

    The show seems to air in segments of two-part episodes, that will most likely be marketed as movies. They're worth buying! Fast-paced and and full of fun, "Nero Wolfe" seems to be the best show that has come along to television in a long time! At first I thought it would just be an excuse to watch Timothy Hutton (SWOON) once a week, but it's got a whole lot more than just a really great actor.

    Thank you, A & E, for this quality show.
  • To anyone who craves wit, style, atmosphere and actors truly enjoying their roles, "Nero Wolfe" is pert-near unbeatable.

    Each episode crackles with wit and style thanks to writers such as that lovely former "Soap" actress, Jennifer Salt. Each and every actor has a riotous time chewing up every available inch of scenery in delightful fashion!

    It's such a joy watching the brilliant, blustery and rotund Maury Chaykin huff and puff his way through each script as he deduces "who done it."

    And Bill Smitrovich, who was so good as the dad who is forced to change with the times in the terrific mini-series "The '60s," is a dandy foil for Chaykin, matching bluster for bluster, huff for huff, puff for puff with the master detective as Inspector Kramer.

    Series star/Executive Producer and sometime director Timothy Hutton, son of Jim Hutton (who was terrific as TV's mystery writing detective "Ellery Queen" from 1975-76), is masterful as Wolfe's street-wise, dame -chasing flirt & right hand man, Archie Goodwin, who does all Wolfe's leg work.

    Colin Cox is essential as Wolfe's personal gourmet chef, Fritz. To watch Fritz and Wolfe kibbitz in the kitchen over even the most minute details of each and every delectable meal is to be royally entertained by two outstanding actors.

    R.D. Reid as the abrasive police Sergeant who truly hates Wolfe and especially Archie, and Conrad Dunn as Saul Panzer, another street-wise shamus occasionally employed by Wolfe are also memorable.

    What's so cool - and unique to my experience - about this series is that its ensemble cast of regulars, including the stupendous Kari Matchett, James Tolkan, George Plimpton, Saul Rubinek, Francie Swift, David Schurmann, and others.

    But what's unique about "Nero Wolfe's" use of these ensemble actors is that they portray different characters each week. And they do it in such a way that, when watching, you never recall their last character the last time you saw them. They are usually vastly different from appearance to appearance. This adds to the fun.

    There's really nothing wrong with Angela Lansbury's "Murder, She Wrote" or even Andy Griffith's "Matlock" or Dick Van Dyke's "Prescrition: Murder." They are fun entertaining time fillers. But they aren't even on the same planet wit-wise, creativity-wise, script-wise, acting-wise, atmosphere-wise or any other wise.

    In many ways,"Nero Wolfe" is too good for television.
  • Where to begin? Based on the works of rex stouts (which they lifted most of the dialogue from), Nero Wolfe is the world's most brilliant detective.

    Maury Chaykin is perfectly cast as the man who wishes to do nothing more than to eat the finest food and tend to his flowers. Nero's eccentric life style is costly, so he applies his honed intelligence to solving cases that are nigh unsolvable. Unwilling to leave his home (do to pride or girth), he has hired Archie Goodwin (Tim Hutton) to be his leg man, and occasional provoker.

    This is not the series for the procedurialist (CSI) viewer - instead Nero and Archie take off at a breakneck pace, with quick, smart dialogue, colorful characters, and occasionally the use of black mail to get what they want. Even though you are often left clueless about who committed the crimes, the show was and absolute joy to watch.
  • linda-16417 December 2005
    This show should always be on the air. It is never disappointing. I can always count on a fascinating story, a thought-provoking plot (!) and the very best casting. Really, there is nothing wrong with this series. It is one of two TV shows that I actually look forward to and never miss. All the casting is perfect and the sets are too. Cannot say enough good things and I hope I can always find it on some channel. The combination of Tim Hutton and Maury Chaykin is priceless. They have opposite personalities but they work so great together. Archie's humor provides great comic relief to Wolfe's seriousness and idiosyncrasies. (Don't call him Nero.)Another appealing quality is the return of the supporting cast in many episodes. They come back playing other roles and it is fun to see them pop up again. Inspector Cramer, Lon Cohen, Fritz and Saul Panzer all are played perfectly too, as well as the rest of the recurring actors - too long a list to continue. It is addictive.
  • Edie8617 June 2002
    Please, please, please keep this show on the air. Do not even consider taking it off. Keep doing the show as this family very much enjoys it.

    Growing up, I remember my Mom reading all of the Nero Wolfe mysteries.

    Tim Hutton doing a great job.

    Thank you. Edie Anderson
  • jfd-1416 January 2007
    This is a truly fine series. Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe books not only contain two of the most original detectives since Holmes and Watson but they span remarkably diverse eras of American history. These factors make the books very difficult to bring to the screen. This series, however, succeeds completely on all fronts. Hutton and Chaikin do an outstanding job of making Goodwin and Wolfe interesting and off-beat yet entirely human and believable. The ensemble cast is fantastic (especially Kari Matchett and Colin Fox),the direction is wonderful and the productions are handled very creatively, right down to the variety of looks provided in the opening credits. Well done!
  • Just what we need … another rave review for A&E's "Nero Wolfe". Well, perhaps we will find a few things to say that haven't been said before.

    Alas, this fine series lasted only 2 seasons – actually, 1 more than I expected after I saw it. Not for the reason that it's too high-end for the channel. We might do well to recall that at the time A&E was doing other high-quality (read: British) mysteries. The actual reason is much more organic. In the main Nero Wolfe is an extremely unattractive character. And Maury Chaykin is such a fine actor that he can't help but bring this quality out and right in the viewer's face.

    Timothy Hutton, who played Archie Goodwin, also directed and co-produced the series. Brilliantly, by the way. One of his best touches was to downplay Wolfe (to the extent that this was possible) and up-play Archie. I believe we heard rumblings of "ego" at the time, but not so. Archie is a much, much more likable character, especially when represented by Hutton's puckish face. By giving more prominence to Archie Goodwin, Hutton gives the show a friendlier face and Wolfe becomes a foil for Archie instead of a less-pleasant center of attention. Still, Chaykin is so good – and in a rôle he was born to play -- that he tends to dominate any scene he's in, but at least it's not so much.

    There also the question of the setting. Blurbs on this series indicate the setting is the 1950s. Now, while it is true that Stout was still writing Wolfe stories in that decade (they ranged from 1934 to 1985), there are problems. Chaykin turned 52 in 2001, the first year of the series. Wolfe would have been 52 in 1944, having been born in 1892, the son of Sherlock Holmes and "the woman", Irene Adler. In the 1950s, Wolfe would have been in his 60s, rather than his 50s. Furthermore, the ambiance of the episodes seems ambivalent as to timing – as we might expect from a set of stories covering about 3 decades. The Depression, World War II, and the Korean War are not in evidence. Most of the episodes are not dateable, save to assume the date the story was published.

    One episode, however, is absolutely dateable in the sense that it cannot be later than 1939/40. That is "Over My Dead Body", in which a member of the Serb nobility is angling to sell logging concession in Bosnian forests to a U.S. company. This would have been absolutely possible during 1939/40-1945 because Europe was at war. It would have been even more impossible after 1945 because Yugoslavia was under the control of Tito and the Communist party. The original story was published in 1940 and presumably written earlier when Serb toffs might still be able to manipulate their nation's resources for their own advantage.

    As for the rest of the ambiance of the series, there are gadgets that appear more modern than the 1930s, but the Big Band era is still in full swing when pop music was already moving away from that and Frank Sinatra had already coined (or at least first used in a song) the ominous phrase "rock and roll". On the whole, however, the whole effect is charming and effective, letting Wolfe's world float in a Neverland of a generalized American past. Many of the colorful costumes and outfits lend credibly to this impression.

    The various episodes move along crisply, with excellent and literate scripts. That's another reason the program vanished so quickly: clever use of good vocabularies is of course a turn-off for most couch potatoes. One wonders how West Wing made it past its 1st season.

    "Nero Wolfe" is in the best sense of the term presented by an ensemble cast. The main characters work well together, of course. But beyond this, a larger crew of actors appears again and again, playing different roles. This is far less disconcerting than we might imagine, owing to the talents of the actors and of the make-up/costuming people. It's more disconcerting while watching the episodes seriatim rather than once a week.

    It's impossible to recommend this fine series too strongly. It's one of the very few top-notch mystery programs not produced in Britain. Buy it or at least rent it and watch it all the way through.
  • I have to agree with the previous comments posted here. The A&E production of "Nero Wolfe" is an excellent adaptation for TV. The cast members are extraordinary, capturing ideally the chemistry between Wolfe and Goodwin as well as between Cramer and Wolfe.

    In a nutshell, even if there were 5 or 6 of my favourite shows on at the same time as "Nero Wolfe" (Sundays at 8pm), "Nero Wolfe" would be the one I would definitely not miss.
  • As a fan of the show, I wish I would have liked the books better (see the handful of negative reviews).

    Actually, the show isn't the books and the the books ain't the show. Stout's series started in the 30's and remained pretty much timeless so you could set a TV series virtually anywhere between 1934 and 1979 and it'd work just as long as you kept elements of the '30s milieu, which this interpretation does masterfully. It might be set in the '50s but it's really contemporary with every '30s detective from Nick Charles to Philo Vance and distinctly avoids both war-time and post war influences.

    And setting it in the '50s was a stroke of genius - the series echos the background of an innocent era with a playfully darker underbelly that contemporary viewers can relate to much more easily as a '50s incarnation than a '30s, while maintaining a similar sense of style and class with the venerable '30s detectives: kind of like Nick Charles meets Cary Grant (To Catch a Thief).

    As for Wolfe - you can play him straight or you can take liberties but, above everything, you have to keep the counterpoint between him and Archie. If Maury Chaykin had played it straight, we'd have to have had a different Archie; Hutton's lovable, wise-ass Archie would have fallen flat and the whole series would have morphed into something like the short-lived 1981 version with William Conrad.

    Instead, Chaykin plays an infinitely more human, humane, insecure and likable Wolfe - a near-genius totally out to sea with the world who adapts by building his own little, self-contained, Brownstone Sanctuary. Chaykin's Wolfe is clearly using everything from his girth to his telephone as talismans to ward off that scary world beyond the front door - all implied in Stout's Wolfe but overshadowed by Wolfe's brilliance as well as each story's plot.

    Loved everything about this version - everything, everything, everything and was devastated when it never made it to a 3rd season.
  • I have been re-watching my DVD's of this series, and I continue to be amazed at their universal high quality and how well everything adheres to the Rex Stout books. Nearly all the characters (and stories) are very close to what Stout created (even Wolfe and Archie!), and the sets and dialog are absolutely brilliant!

    Purley Stebbins and Fritz Brenner (and the latter's relationship with Wolfe) are very slightly different in the series than in the books, but the modifications definitely work. The Wolfe-Brenner relationship in the series is fantastic, even if it is more regularly confrontational than in the books!

    Anyone else notice differences in the televised vs. the written series?
  • Just hoping that they could produce another season of these mysteries. There are a lot of detective movies in which the detectives are eccentric; such as Sherlock Holmes, Poirot, Inspector Morse, Inspector Frost to name a few. However, there is none with such humor and fun as in this series, nor is there another in which the actors seem so perfectly cast and seem to be having as much fun with their roles. The dry wit, the tone of the movie, the perfection of the sets, the reuse of some of the actors, the plot also make this series perhaps the most fun and interesting to watch. The Nero Wolfe series is fresh and completely absorbing.
  • What can I say about the Nero Wolfe Mystery the Series; it was television as it should be; though it was more like dinner theater, honestly; excellent dinner theater. There was so much to love about this series; the plots the music the sets, and the costumes were first rate. The actors were superb and their occasionally over the top characterizations, fun and entertaining. This must have been fun for the actors as well; as an ensemble cast, the actors got to try on different characters, portrait different attitudes and experiment with different acting styles from episode to episode; no getting into an acting rut here.

    Depending on the episode, the two main female characters, at least for my money, Kari Matchett and Francie Swift could be ladies, femmes fatales, sweet innocents, guileless victims of circumstance, broads, B-girls, ambitious entertainers murder victims or murderers; so, while the actress became pleasantly familiar; you had no idea what her character was capable of, no idea what shenanigans lay in her purse, hidden beneath her dress, or residing in her heart; no idea what possible evil was being concealed by her beautiful and illustrious eyes. Therefore, each wonderful week you're starting from scratch. If you ever listened to old time radio shows, much about this series would strike you as pleasantly familiar and soothing; like wrapping yourself in a warm comfortable blanket on a chilly night, and sipping hot coco from your favorite mug. For the life of me , I can't understand why this series only lasted two seasons; perhaps the production costs were too high; but my gut feeling is that the American viewer is so enamored with low brow fare they simply can't appreciate a quality show.
  • I have read all the reviews and agree with most of the comments. (I've also read all the Nero Wolfe books.) I agree this is an exceptional television production (it's quite interesting it was made in Canada, not Hollywood), and that the late Maury Chaykin, though skillful and entertaining, doesn't interpret Nero Wolfe correctly. For my contribution, I offer a little perspective.

    Detective literature has been the most popular fiction of all time. Beginning with Sherlock Holmes--whose film and television interpretations encompass the entire history of film and television--, through Inspector Morse, Miss Marple, Perry Mason, Magnum PI, and on and on and on, people have loved the chase; especially if there's a smart guy doing the chasing. Nero Wolfe is one of the smartest, the greatest fictional American detective, and it's sheer joy to watch him go. But, actually, he doesn't go!

    And that was the interesting facet of Wolfe persona when the books were being written: his fictional peers were all over the place, but his creator decided to leave him at home. So, even more than this series shows us, Wolfe almost never leaves his house! Imagine Sherlock staying ensconced in Baker Street for all those years. Wolfe is Mycroft with a burr under his saddle, named Archie Goodwin. Well, every hero needs a personality or the books wouldn't sell.

    Wolfe battled murderers, gangsters, and scheming in-laws. He turned up in a couple of movies in the '40's, a radio show in the 50's, and a TV show in the '80's. His bad guys weren't as ugly as Ed McBain's, but much nastier than Holmes'. There was a Moriarty, named Arnold Zeck. If he had been introduced halfway through the second season of this show, there would have been two more seasons. (Oh well.) There were brilliantly constructed heroes and hangers-on. And the plots were up there with Agatha Christies'.

    The point I'm making is that this genre is a lot of fun. A lot of people have made fortunes writing it, and acting in it. I personally never mind that the protagonist is always miles ahead of me: feeling dumber than the hero is part of the fun. Good guys are admirable; bad guys are not. Issues are right and wrong, which in this confusing world is comforting. It's escapist; it's entertaining; and I maintain it's great literature.

    Will we see a better filmed version of Wolfe? I doubt it. Will there be other, better detective stories? I doubt that too.
  • I always watch these. They're fun. I have no idea what's going on. Perhaps reading the book, one could take notes and make sense of the plot, but on television, even with the miracle of the rewind button, the intricacies are buried under a thick layer of eccentric personality. In the episode I'm watching now, why is Nero Wolfe dressed like a Pilgrim? They never say. Naturally, it is expected that the genius detective be an oddball, but absolutely everyone else speaks in riddles, too. Is the writing bad? Or is it exceptionally clever? No one talks like any human being I've ever heard, but it's a pleasant diversion (albeit a vain one) to decipher the meaning behind the patter. At the end of each episode, the mystery is solved, and I have no idea how, or even sometimes what the mystery really was.

    This series is also interesting in that many of the same actors appear in different roles from one episode to the next. They really ought to be credited in the IMDb listings.
  • When A & E was striving to be the premier network they brought good TV like "A Nero Wolfe Mystery". Then they joined the race to the bottom with TLC and now they bring us "Storage Wars". Thanks A & E for proving that in the 500 channel universe quantity is never quality. And Thank You Timothy Hutton for this great show.
  • This show lasted two seasons and is a blessing for intelligent viewers with a taste for sophistication; solid, if thin, plots; great settings; high production values on a not so high budget; excellent jazzy recreation of early 1950's; and extremely good acting. The t.v episodes are consistently good because they are based on the actual Nero Wolfe novels and stories by Rex Stout.

    That said, an obvious weakness in this show is the fact that the t.v. shows lose a lot, too much at times, when an entire novel is reduced to 47 minutes. So if you are interested in complete plots with twists and turns and a level of complexity this show could disappoint you. Even the 90 minute double episode shows suffer because of the necessary dilution of a novel to such a short time.

    So why watch? Well, Timothy Hutton as Archie, Wolfe's sidekick (a bigger role on t.v. than in the novels), is given the main role and his performance sparkles. The non-recurring characters (played by a repertory cast) are generally good and often are very interesting. Wolfe's bloated ego, justified in the books, seems a bit out of place and silly, rather than comic and satirical, in the t.v. episodes. Meaning he doesn't seem to earn the applause thrown at him by his clients, the inspector and Archie.

    But this show is not about "reality" but about having a jaunty good time, laughing along with Archie and Wolfe. Since most t.v. viewers prefer fast-paced nonsense, exemplified by NCIS, it is a true miracle that this thinking-man's show made it to the air. Hutton's character, Wolfe's charming bluster and Hutton's own pushing for the show (He is listed as a producer and directs some of the episodes) probably are responsible for this show being aired. A very entertaining and "slick" show, pulsating with the "joy of life."
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