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If ever there was a case of "stupid suits mucking up something good," it would be A&E's Nero Wolfe Mysteries. Launched in 2000 by a movie/pilot episode and then running for two seasons, this was a practically-perfect adaptation of Rex Stout's terrific detective series about the fat, rude genius Wolfe and his snappy-dressed wiseacre sidekick Archie Goodwin. It was classy, it was well-made, it was popular -- by every law of common sense it should have kept on going for years.

Why, if it was all that and a tall glass of milk, did it only last two seasons? Because A&E got a new programming director with an ego the size of Staten Island, who didn't want any successful choices by a predecessor cramping his style. So Mr. Tabula Rasa tossed everything -- good, bad, indifferent, or great -- and remade A&E in his own image.

Le sigh!

For what it's worth, laurie_robey and I have the series on DVD (but of course, it was released with some scenes deleted, because obviously it would be asking to much for them not to hash it up somehow), so I can watch what of it there is. The only problem is, like Jeeves and Wooster, Columbo, and Star Trek, I have seen it all several times and have large chunks of it memorized. What I want is new Nero Wolfe episodes. But let's face it, Monk notwithstanding [1] the day of the Sunday Mystery Movie are long past and not likely to return. Timothy Hutton, Maury Chaykin, Bill Smitrovich et al. are all still alive and well as far as I know, and there's no real reason they couldn't come back together to do it again -- other than the fact that they're not going to.

Ah well. I've still got Rex Stout's books to get through! They're all very good and there's lots of them.

-The Gneech

[1] FWIW, I consider Monk more of a situation comedy than a mystery series -- the mystery element of Monk is always very lightweight, taking a back seat to being a character study of Mr. Monk's eccentricities.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 3rd, 2007 02:37 pm (UTC)
On Sundays, Hallmark Channel runs Diagnosis Murder, Columbo, and Matlock. Perhaps one of those might fidn your interest?
Oct. 3rd, 2007 02:57 pm (UTC)
Never cared much for Diagnosis Murder or Matlock -- a little too "for the Geritol lover in you" for my taste.

Columbo is 100% awesome, but as I say, I've seen it all, some of it several times.

-The Gneech
Oct. 3rd, 2007 02:40 pm (UTC)
There's always House, MD if you don't mind graphic medical procedures and Hugh Laurie using an American accent.

FWIW, they're still making episodes of Poirot with David Suchet, even if they don't play them very often.
Oct. 3rd, 2007 02:59 pm (UTC)
Poirot is way cool. :) I catch him when I can. House is sorta "eh," even with Hugh Laurie in the spotlight. Not his fault -- totally the writers'.

-The Gneech
Oct. 3rd, 2007 06:10 pm (UTC)
House at least makes me laugh; the sharp, snarky interplay between the characters is more humorous than practically any of the insipidly derivative sitcoms on the air these days...
Oct. 3rd, 2007 04:18 pm (UTC)
an ego the size of Staten Island

*jaw drop*

You KNOW about Staten Island?! Wow. I didn't think anyone who wasn't from there knows about it. I mean, I grew up there, but I know people from NYC who forget there's a fifth borough :)

As for other good British shows, have you watched Campion? I particularly like it, although I still have to get season two on DVD.
Oct. 3rd, 2007 04:21 pm (UTC)
Well, I know the name, anyway. Don't think I've been there, tho. (My few trips to NYC have been, for the most part, just passing through.)

-The Gneech
Oct. 3rd, 2007 06:14 pm (UTC)
Nero Wolfe is one of those characters that, I have to admit, works better on the page than any live-action version. It's just me, I guess, but some people are more flesh-and-blood the farther away from live action they get.
Oct. 4th, 2007 08:44 pm (UTC)
I'd never really looked into it, but I was sort of wondering why the programming for most of the A&E channels went to pot about five years ago ...
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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