Ask Jeeves
April 30, 2008 3:36 PM   Subscribe

I have come into some credit, and I want to spend it on the Fry/Laurie Jeeves series; although I have never seen it, I adore the Wodehouse books and the two stars so I don't see how I could go wrong! I can't afford all the episodes, though. Which season would you recommend to me, and why?
posted by misha to Media & Arts (14 answers total)
Get the whole set, we just did and we love it. We used a coupon at Barnes & Noble and got it for a song. The story sems to go along building on prior tid bits and recuring characters.

posted by Freedomboy at 3:44 PM on April 30, 2008

Sorry "seems"
posted by Freedomboy at 3:44 PM on April 30, 2008

Jeeves and Wooster was all really good, you may as well start at the beginning and build from there.
posted by fire&wings at 3:46 PM on April 30, 2008

I always thought Season 1 was the best overall, and I guess I still do, but the later ones are still amazing. I didn't like the ones set in America (part of Season 2 or 3, I think?) that much when I first saw them; then I saw them again and decided they were great after all.
posted by transona5 at 3:49 PM on April 30, 2008

I, too, adore Wodehouse and Fry (though not Laurie so much) but I didn't care for this series. Could you not rent from Netflix first before committing to a purchase? I have to admit I have yet to see a Wodehouse adaption that I DO like--the crafting of his impeccable sentences, his exquisite word choice is what makes Wodehouse so transcendent and so (aside from dialog) most of his brilliance is lost when it is translated to film.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:51 PM on April 30, 2008

Best answer: The quality decreases with each season - the first is very good, the second not quite so good, the third is sadly disappointing, I'd skip that one for sure.

And while I'd agree with Secret Life of Gravy in general about film adaptations of books that depend so much on the bon mot as Wodehouse, and while I also prefer the books to the television show, I don't think anyone could have done a better job than Fry and Laurie, especially in the first season.
posted by buxtonbluecat at 4:01 PM on April 30, 2008

Definitely start with the first series. I have 1-3 and love them.
posted by nerdcore at 4:15 PM on April 30, 2008

If you've already read the books, I recommend "Wodehouse Playhouse" over "Jeeves and Wooster". For one thing, Wodehouse himself was involved with the making of Playhouse, whereas J&W features the ham-handed "adaptations" of Clive Exton.

If you insist on J&W, I believe that only the first season is watchable. (Jeeves in drag? Never. Bertie and Jeeves as long-haired castaways? Ridiculous.)
posted by phliar at 4:23 PM on April 30, 2008

Definitely the first series - which was sublime. Subsequent series descended into slapstick in many places, losing a great deal of the Wodehouse-ian wit.
posted by idiomatika at 5:14 PM on April 30, 2008

I also love Wodehouse and love the stars. I have always found the shows pretty flat, and haven't even liked them reliably as light entertainment. I've thought a lot about why that is, and I realized that the shows are reduced, essentially, to Wodehouse's ridiculous plots. I admire Wodehouse so much for his effervescent writing, and the bulk of his humor and charm (for me) is in his similes and pithy asides. The shows obviously don't have these. Just this past weekend I was at Daedalus books and I saw the DVDs available at a substantial discount and passed them up for just this reason. (And, yet, my copy of the Jeeves Omnibus is stored on my bedside table.)

I really would recommend renting before buying, in this case.
posted by OmieWise at 5:56 PM on April 30, 2008

Gee, I think the Laurie and Fry series is amazing, and much better than "Playhouse," and I like the whole series. Just start at the beginning.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 1:27 AM on May 1, 2008

I've always thought that A Bit Of Fry and Laurie, which I do own on DVD, was a much better showcase for the duo's amazing talents. I still can't drink any hot beverages while watching that for fear it'll come out of my nose. I love them both but have always just settled on the occasional showing of Jeeves and Wooster on TV, even though I am a sucker for anything set in the 20s-30s.
posted by thread_makimaki at 2:20 AM on May 1, 2008

Start with season one, as has been said. We bought the entire set and though I found them all watchable, they did lose something as time worn on.
posted by maxwelton at 2:39 AM on May 1, 2008

First series awesome. Then decreasing from there. The last series is god-awful.

Also, seconding what thread_makimaki said above - all three seasons of A Bit Of Fry & Laurie were excellent.

(And, if I'm going to pick nits, Stephen Fry, whilst practically perfect in every way, was (and still is) too young to play Jeeves IMO. He makes a superb fist of it, but its the only thing that he's ever done (ever!) that left me feeling a bit "Feh!".

/controversy over.
posted by Jofus at 4:50 AM on May 1, 2008

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