One of the period dramas that’s been around for years, I’ve never watched The Forsyte Saga. At least not until now. the forsyte saga series one
The Forsyte Saga Series One (2002) BBC TV Series Review
The Forsyte family has a long standing history of recognition and respect. Young Jolyon Forsyte (Rupert Graves) has a young daughter and is married to a woman he doesn’t love. When he falls for the young family governess, Jo decides to leave to be with Helene (Amanda Ooms). Much to the dismay of the elder Jolyon (Corin Redgrave), he ends up disowning his son while his daughter in law and granddaughter remain with him.
Some many years later, Jo’s cousin, Soames (Damian Lewis) is still unmarried despite being the favorite of his elder aunt whose desire it is that he marry. When he sees the beautiful Irene (Gina McKee) at a party, he decides she’s the one.
Sadly for him, she doesn’t share the same sentiments leading to a long standing series of events that is tragedy.
From the early 2000s, this period drama is not how the genre looks like now. The production quality isn’t its brightest with its awkward and close shot filming. Sometimes it even seems to “shake” too. This “look” extends beyond the filming, primarily the picture, too. To offset this, there’s some pretty scenery and the costumes are mostly quite pretty. Plenty of scenes take place in a park or the country which makes for some sweeping pictures.‘THE FORSYTE SAGA’: HEARTBREAKING GENERATIONS OF FAMILY LOVE AND LOSS #PERIODDRAMA #ROMANCE #PERIODROMANCE #MOVIES #AMAZON #PRIME Click To Tweet
It’s really the characters I think most of us have a bugaboo with. Honestly, there’s very few I enjoy. I like some of them, and enjoy their interactions, but honestly, even the characters that the script eventually writes to be sympathetic I don’t warm to. There’s something about Irene that I never care for. She has this quality that seems to come off as if, no matter what (pre what happens to her), she refuses to try or engage. She also has a manipulative streak (subtle) and she accuses someone of being something that she is too. Then there’s Soames. Ultimately not a good man but I did develop a soft spot for young Jolyon and even can admire June in many ways.
You’ll spy a host of familiar faces in these roles from veterans like Amanda Root, Barbara Flynn and Ben Miles, and then there is more of the (at the time) newcomers like Ioan Gruffudd and Julian Ovenden. It’s fun to see the many faces we recognize pop up and attempt to place them. However what the arrival of so many means is a fast timeline. Really, the entire timeline is sort of out of order and I think sometimes the writers forget how many years should have passed or perhaps the text denotes the time wrong? Either way, sometimes that timeline seems a bit too egregious and does kind of take me out of the story.
If you don’t mind period drama that isn’t quite as happy and charming as some of its peers, then you may like The Forsyte Saga. Based on a series of novels, this isn’t something BBC has ever reproduced so I don’t know how series by the numbers did. It’s probably not something I’ll revisit just because but as I do enjoy seeing a new production, there’s things about this series, which I’ve seen floating around for years, that were good.
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Content: There is a handful of sexual content. A couple “feels” each other (clothed) when they admit feelings; a married couple has sex (movement and lasts only about 15 or 30 seconds); a woman has an affair and we see them lying together in bed (2-3 times) after a passionate make out scene. There’s a (non graphic) scene of a woman using a device to prevent children. A man forces himself on a woman. A man dies, brutally, in an accident (we see it all, but it’s over quick and isn’t terribly graphic). There’s some commonplace profanity and crude humor; one character may have a leaning towards the same sex (very subtle). The series says its TV-PG, but I’d rate it TV-14.