Set in the 1920s — two decades after the first series ended “The Forsyte Saga: Part 2 — to Let” follows the courtship of two star-crossed Forsyte cousins. Children at the close of last series, they are now 18 and in love, but as they soon find out, their parents hide a dark secret that ruins their romantic dreams.
The second series of “The Forsyte Saga,” based on John Galsworthy’s novel “To Let,” traces the aristocratic and feuding Forsyte family as the Edwardian age comes to an end. The drama focuses on a new generation of Forsytes, whomust shoulder the legacies of an aging and often bitter Soames (Damian Lewis) and his failed marriage to the willful and beautiful Irene (Gina McKee).
The lovely Fleur (Emma Griffiths Malin), Soames’ daughter by his second wife,Annette (Beatriz Batarda), and hunky Jon (Lee Williams), son of Irene and Soames’ cousin Jolyon (Rupert Graves), are falling in love, much to the dismay of their feuding parents.
Other characters move in and out of the Forsytes’ lives, including French businessman (Michael Maloney) and an art dealer (Oliver Milburn) with designs on Fleur.
The changes after the First World War as social barriers come down have a massive impact on the moneyed Forsytes.
“To Let” will feel familiar to anyone who has seen the impressive original 26-part, 1967 British TV version.
And like its legendary predecessor, this Forsyte Saga depends heavily on the seemingly soulless Soames’ slow transition from a bitter and grumpy man to a person who can show, and elicit, compassion.
As in the remake of the first part, Lewis again carries the load brilliantly, his Soames displaying a blend of repressed anger and regret with love and stubborn pride. The rest of the cast is uniformly excellent, with Michael Maloney having a great time hamming things up as a French con artist.
Once again the sumptuous production design, beautiful costumes and impressive use of locations make “To Let” a visual feast in the great tradition of British costume dramas.
This is an extremely well-scripted piece of work — Kate Brooke and Phil Woods handle the chore — and the resolution is undeniably moving.