Jeeves and Wooster, full series

[Screenshot]I first encountered this charming little bit of British TV in the company of my high-school girlfriend (I also encountered Doctor Who for the first time then, and I’ll admit I didn’t and still don’t quite get the appeal there). I liked it well enough then, but I don’t think I really appreciated its excellence until much later, after reading some Wodehouse and appreciating Fry and Laurie on other shows (particularly Blackadder) and returning to watch all four seasons. It is about as good an adaptation of Wodehouse to the screen as one could ask for. The dialogue between the two leads crackles with personality, as it ought to, and some care has been taken to translate into dialogue and mannerisms the inimitable narrative voice of Bertie Wooster from the original stories. The supporting cast is mostly one-note but they deliver it well, and the locations are really quite well-done (shot on location in London and in a number of British Stately Homes).

The New York segments are the weakest, in my estimation, although I think that’s in no small part because of the source material; Wodehouse was better at writing British folks at home than expatriates, I think. All in all, though, it’s a quite faithful adaptation, and conveys the tone and style of the original works quite effectively. Fans of Wodehouse will generally like it; people who can’t stand Wodehouse (which I can certainly understand, as I like his style but can reasonably sympathize with those who find it indigestble) probably won’t. If you don’t actually know if you like Wodehouse, well, a few episodes of this series are as good an introduction as any, and they’re largely stand-alone so there’s not too much of a buy-in. I think the second season is the strongest in many ways, but not so very much better than the first season that it’s worth breaking the (loose and easily ignored) chronological ordering of the stories.

See also: IMDB, Wikipedia.

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About Jake
I'm a mathematics professor at the University of Louisville, and a geek.

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