1. The Forsyte Saga (1967). James Galsworthy’s three novels about the Forsytes, a nouveau riche Victorian family, have been adapted for both film and television. Errol Flynn and Greer Garson starred in 1949’s That Forsyte Woman (derived from the first book, A Man of Property) and a popular 2002 adaptation of the trilogy appeared on Masterpiece Theatre. However, the most renowned version remains the 1967 26-episode series starring Eric Porter (simply sensational as Soames), Nyree Dawn Porter (a stunning Irene), Kenneth More, and Susan Hampshire. Yes, it's in black-and-white, but the costumes and settings are splendid. The Soames and Irene story dominates the first 8 episodes--and is the series highlight--but The Forsyte Saga holds interest throughout its running time.
2. Man in a Suitcase. One of the best--and least-known--spy TV series of the 1960s, this sharply-played, well-written series stars American actor Richard Bradford as a disgraced former espionage agent called McGill. Branded a traitor by U.S. intelligence, McGill makes a living doing free-lance work in Europe and Africa--dealing with blackmailers, protecting stool pigeons, finding kidnapped victims, recovering lost art treasures, etc. He charges $300 to $500 a week, depending on the job, plus expenses. When a potential client gripes about the high fee for a "disgraced American agent with a gun for hire," McGill quips: "I'm expensive...I call it my self-respect bonus."
3. Columbia Best Pictures Collection. Even at a discounted price of $79 or less, this 11-film collection may seem pricey. Still, it's an impressive collection of Oscar winners covering six decades--from It Happened One Night (1934) to Gandhi (1982). There's something for everyone in the family whether their film tastes gravitate toward comedy (Capra's You Can't Take It With You), social drama (On the Waterfront), sweeping historical drama (Lawrence of Arabia), or Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr on the beach.
five favorite episodes of this classic series. True, you can watch selected episodes on the web and it's still broadcast on television. However, for $14.99 or less, season 1 of AHP is a great stocking stuffer. You get 39 episodes, including one of the best in "Revenge" starring Vera Miles and Ralph Meeker.