If your main exposure to Damien Lewis is through his role on Showtime’s smash hit Homeland, you should check out [amazon_link id=”B0083HXKMC” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Forsyte Saga[/amazon_link], now on DVD in a collection after being released previously in two installments. The first six-part Masterpiece Theater miniseries aired in 2002, and the second story arc of four episodes in 2003.
Based on the works of John Galsworthy, this is the second time British TV has tackled the epic family drama. A BBC production debuted in 1967 and ran for 26 episodes, figuring prominently in the 1968 BAFTA and 1970 Emmy races.
If you love dramas like Downton Abbey (an absolute must-see), then you’ll no doubt love The Forsyte Saga, led by the multi-talented Lewis, who plays Soames Forsyte.
Set over several decades, the story follows two cousins (Rupert Graves plays Soames’ cousin, Jolyon Forsyte, Jr.), who are tasked with carrying on the Forsyte legacy. But these two guys couldn’t be more different. Soames is tightly wound and controlling. Jolyon is impulsive and carefree.
When Irene (Gina McKee) catches Lewis’ eye and eventually his hand in marriage, their tumultuous relationship leads Lewis to become brutal and petty. As in all his performances (have you seen [amazon_link id=”B0019Z3P84″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Life[/amazon_link]? Again, must see for all Damien Lewis fans, even though it only ran for two seasons), he gives a nuanced and believable performance. You can understand where he’s coming from in this marriage and this life.
The Forsyte Saga continues to the next generation, and it’s really fine entertainment for anyone loves British dramas or any of the players here. Stunning locations, authentic costumes, Victorian lust, drama, scandal, romance, flamboyance, and indulgence — this series has it all.
Buy [amazon_link id=”B0083HXKMC” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Forsyte Saga on Amazon[/amazon_link]. Bonus features include a making-of featurette, photo galleries, John Galsworthy biography and booklist, and cast biographies and filmographies. Here’s Part One to get you started.