27 February 2009

DVD: "Jeeves and Wooster - The Complete First Season"

Jeeves and Wooster
Directed by Robert Young
Based on the stories by P.G. Wodehouse
Dramatized by Clive Exton
Starring: Hugh Laurie, Steven Fry
DVD Release Date: 27 March 2001
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
List Price: $39.95

The Television Series
Bertie Wooster (Laurie) is a turn-of-the-century, upper class slacker who comes to employ Jeeves (Fry) as his valet.  Wooster and his companions get into all sorts of debacles, chiefly the sort that people who have too much free time get into--i.e., relationship woes.  Bertie takes it upon himself to help right his friends's woes, and Jeeves is often pressed to finesse the situation once his master has exacerbated it.

A&E completely botched this DVD release.  The first season is only five episodes, and they are split among two discs with nary a feature to be found.  As you can see in the promotional image above, each disc is housed in its own keep case, and these in turn in a slipcase.  It may be nice, but it will also consume a lot of shelf space for just five episodes.  Anne Dudley's theme music (chiefly reprised, if not outright recycled, throughout the episodes themselves) plays over the menu screens.  It may not overstay its welcome, but it certainly comes close.  A&E are out of their minds to price this at $39.95, though.

The Recommendation
Fans of Laurie's from his work on House, M.D. will be shocked to not only hear him speaking without an American accent, but playing a buffoon, to boot.  The chemistry between he and Fry is genuinely engaging, and the source material by P.G. Wodehouse is treated with reverence and whimsy.  Once you adapt to the vernacular (or at least find enough context clues to get the idea of what the characters are saying), it's a charming, fun little series.  As mentioned, though, there is no way even a dedicated fan of the series, Wodehouse or the cast can justify the $40 list tag.

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