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Note: This production has been and is available seperately as The Forsyte Saga, Series One and Two. If you already own them, this is not an upgrade with new content and there is no reason to repurchase. This is for those new to the show, you can buy both parts together.

Previously released in two installments, "The Forsyte Saga" is finally being compiled in its entirety. The first six-part Masterpiece Theater miniseries was presented in 2002 with the second story arc of four episodes airing in 2003. Based on the works of John Galsworthy, this isn't the first time British TV tackled this epic family drama. A BBC production of the same name debuted in 1967, ran for 26 episodes, and figured in both the 1968 BAFTA and the 1970 Emmy races (after it premiered stateside). Some will contend that this original presentation is better or more complete and with a considerably longer running time, I'd be hard pressed to disagree with this assessment. Be that as it may, I think this interpretation of "The Forsyte Saga" fully stands on its own as a top-notch entertainment. A great cast (led by the tremendous Damian Lewis) brings this multigenerational story to life, and it is an absolute must-own for lovers of sophisticated adult drama. While I've seen Lewis excel in everything from "Band of Brothers" to the current "Homeland," this is ultimately the role and character that I most quickly associate him with. He's truly that memorable!

The tale initially centers around Lewis (as Soames Forsyte) and his cousin Jolyon played by Rupert Graves near the end of the 1800s (the story is set over several decades). The two cousins are left to carry on the Forsyte legacy, but the two men couldn't be more different. Lewis plays Soames as a tight wire act, upright and controlling, while Graves is given a more impulsive and carefree nature. But it is Gina McKee, playing the woman that catches Lewis's eye, that serves as the primary driving force for the early episodes. In fact, it is the relationship between these two that really stands out. Convinced he loves her, the two are wed before he can realize he doesn't really know her. And I'm not convinced he wants to know her, he just wants to possess her. Their tumultuous marriage becomes a virtual battleground and Lewis becomes increasingly brutal and petty. In a finely nuanced performance, though, Lewis never alienates the audience with his villainy. You fully understand him even as he crosses all lines of propriety. Eventually the two will be pushed further apart and she will befriend Graves, but even apart--the story of these two is the catalyst to almost everything that happens.

I absolutely loved the first six episode miniseries. McGee and Lewis are incredible. However, as the second series of four episodes takes center stage, another generation of Forsytes arrive. Centered principally around the children in the 1920s, the tale has Lewis's daughter taking a liking to Grave's son (I won't divulge where McKee stands at this point). It appears that mistakes from the past seem destined to plague Lewis, once again, as his precious daughter starts to distance herself. Although a worthy successor, I wasn't as captivated by this series as the previous one. The emotional highpoints still come from when McKee and Lewis intersect, but this set of episodes lacks the pair being front and center. All in all, though, this is terrific entertainment. About 4 1/2 stars for Part One and 4 stars for Part Two, I'll still round up for the massive 12 hour epic scope of this total production. KGHarris, 6/12.
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on December 29, 2012
The main theme in the saga is infidelity, which was a big deal in 19th century England, but for some reason the cheaters are favored by the author and portrayed as saintly heroes acting in pursuit of true love, and the wronged spouses especially Soames are portrayed as uptight or outright villains. It is especially annoying that the character of Irene, who obviously married Soames for his money, then treated him with disgust their whole marriage and ran off with another man, is treated by everyone as the most moral and desirable woman in the family.

The scenes are filmed in beautiful locations with 19th century and early 20th century gorgeous costumes, furnishings and lots of horse drawn carriages and so are delightful to watch. However, one strange element is that even though the saga stretches over more than 50 years, the adult actors never change their appearance at all; they look exactly the same in their 20's as they do in their 70's. Their children are born and grow into adults and the result is that the actors playing the adult children look almost the same age as their old parents. There could have been at least an attempt at making the old characters have grey hair or some other signs of age, but alas, nothing was done at all.
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on July 28, 2012
When Jane Austen and the world of technology came together in the 20th century it was exciting. Why? Because with the invention of movies, television and then, DVD's, a true reader could actually watch a perfect piece of literature come to life on the screen. Whether or not you like the book or the movie better is neither here nor there, what matters is that the characters enter your household and leave a lasting imprint on your imagination. THIS is The Forsyte Saga. THIS is yet another amazing gift for readers to watch and learn all about the pride, wealth and ups-and-downs of societal Britain during some of the most turbulent times in history.

The story truly wraps around the character of Soames Forsyte. This is a man who represents the higher echelon of society and loves the 1800's London world. He's a man of property who sees his future in the form of the lovely Irene - who he begins to pursue like a hungry lion chasing after a doe with only marriage in mind. Irene is not really fond of Soames, but when her stepmother tells her they will soon be destitute, Irene approaches Soames and accepts his proposal.

Now the Forsyte clan is beyond wealthy, and Soames is the manager of all that wealth who demands that the family be respectable. Soon they are celebrating the engagement of June Forsyte, daughter of Jolyon; Jolyon was cast out of the family for leaving his wife and running away with the governess (a major slip-up, which made Soames put him on the `out' list). June's fiancé is a young architect named, Philip Bosinney. When June introduces Philip to her relatives, she singles out Irene, whom she has become very friendly with. What she doesn't realize is that Irene is looking for love - real love. Soames treats Irene as yet another piece of property instead of a soulmate (even though he is completely in love and obsessed with her). So the ALWAYS unhappy Irene decides to begin a love affair with June's prospective groom and, to make matters even worse, the independent outcast, Jolyon, comes back into the picture.

These situations get everyone into a mess as Soames' ownership of Irene spawns a horrific moment that results in Irene running away and separating from Soames for the next ten years. Soames wants a child and truly wanted that child from Irene, so he tries to get her back into his life. What happens? He drives her into the arms of another family member.

What goes around comes around, so to speak, and Irene bears a son while Soames sires a daughter. And this son and daughter end up falling for one another, yet their parents won't allow them to be together because of the awful secret that the family holds. The daughter's name is Fleur, and she is JUST like her father. A Daddy's girl through and through, she will not be told that she can't have the man she wants and throws herself into the love affair body and soul.

This story runs from the Victorian era straight into the beginning of the 1920's. The changes in the world make Soames shudder at times. From women's rights to allowing them to ride horses in the Park to motorcars that fill the skies with black smoke - these are issues that Soames despises. He wants to bring back the good old days when respect and wealth went hand-in-hand. Not to mention keep his beloved daughter far away from Irene's son.

This is the beginning of Galsworthy's saga about the Forsyte family. This first trilogy opened the door for him to write two more, which showed how the later generations dealt with the wars, financial problems, lost loves and changes in the world. This is a classic story; extremely well written and amazingly well acted. You'll get emotionally involved with the characters -hating them one minute and loving them the next. Galsworthy's words put the modern love stories to shame proving, once again, that we need more of these tales and far less of the `fanged and furry' ones. This is a definite keeper that will be watched over and over again. Hopefully the next two trilogies will be filmed very soon because the books were truly phenomenal!
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on July 10, 2012
I have to admit i got addicted and find this series gorgeous - actors superb-costumes and setting sumptuous but i still cannot for the life of me find credible the interaction of Irene and Soames. She despises him for what seems to be no reason...and carries it forward as if he were an ogre of huge proportions which seems overblown--he is merely a controlling and uptight dude. And he has every right to be angry and frustrated with her, after all, SHE is the one who cheated, not my sympathy is actually more to Soames than Irene altho it is obvious that it is written to garner the feelings for her character....but anyway, it is enjoyable and well done despite my criticism and i give it 5.
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on May 13, 2014
I really liked this saga; even the bad guy had a humane side. As this story is about following your heart, it is probably not for the strict Christian. It is about a woman, who is raped by her husband (fairly graphic), has an affair with another man and runs away. It is also about not following the normal conventions of marriage at the time. With that said, the acting is award winning and the costumes are beautiful.
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on March 20, 2013
the acting in this series is outstanding. my husband liked it better than pride and prejudice and we both were just so sad when the last disc ended. i would recommend this series to anyone and everyone.
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on January 28, 2013
This is a wonderful series. So well cast and the costumes and scenery are spectacular. If you like Dowton Abbey you will also like this. It was fun to see Damien Lewis in another role besides Homeland!
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon June 19, 2012
30 years of Forsyte Victorian lust, drama, scandal, romance, flamboyance, indulgence, and lovely period perfection. I've owned the series on DVD for a decade. It's been watched repeatedly. Now sets are combined for this release. Stars of this series have grown to be mega stars in other series. It caused me to buy the John Galsworthy novels. The adaptation isn't perfect; no miniseries is, even though this attempt allows much, being over 700 minutes (near 12 hours).

Series 1 had 6 episodes, series 2 had 4. All have CC for the hearing impaired.
Two 1870s Forsyte men are conflicting opposite cousins who enjoy the upper middle class living as much as the next. Soames (Damian Lewis) is the abandoning wife, artist, loose, cruel man. Jolyon (Rupert Graves -Garrow's Law) is the posh lawyer, proper, and lover of Irene (Gina McKee -Borgias, Notting Hill) who does a stellar role. Soames daughter Fleur (Emma Griffiths Malin) is a big part of his life and the story in both series 1&2. Amanda Root and Alistair Petrie (Cranford) also appear in all 10 episodes. Offspring take the lead in the second series which takes viewers to the Roaring 20s, based on the book, "To Let."

This series is done in theatre style (my terminology) where scenes roll longer, not flashing away in seconds. That allows drama to unfold through excellent acting and dialogue, not special camera effects. To me, that's the only way to shoot a saga, a telling of lives over decades. One must get to know characters. There was a larger, longer, Forsyte book adaptation series with more episodes, covering more of the books. It was the 1960s, B&W only. Some may try to compare, as they will try to compare this miniseries with the books, but it's best to just sit back and enjoy this as an innovative, colorful, very compelling, UK period drama of a era gone by, but created for us on film in such a beautiful manner. The locations are, well...WOW. Costumes authentic. It's a step back in time, a thirty-year time travel of sorts.

Expect moving emotion. It's a lot of viewing, but you will find it hard to pause between episodes. A keeper for the Brit Period Drama shelf of the home library. Although it takes novel liberty, I believe Mr. Galsworthy would find this TV series worthy.
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on December 31, 2013
I was a fan of the original BBC Forstye Saga and curious as to the newer version of The Forstye Saga. What an improvement...photographically, of course, but I am a real fan of Homeland's Damian Lewis also. EXCELLENT cast, wonderful story and of course incredible technical improvements have taken place in production. Wonderful sets, costumes, etc. Definitely a must have for fans...hours of enjoyment.
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on January 19, 2013
I gave the collection to my sister and her husband for their 25th wedding anniversary. They texted me that they made it a family viewing that captured the entire family. They watched it nonstop until they watched every episode and were disappointed when it was over. Lends itself for multiple viewings. Downton Abbey is similar.
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