18 March 2003 | flagstar16
Excellent in every way shape or form.
Nothing I say here will be new, save for a few words on Lewis Smith I'll get to momentarily. I loved everything about Book I and Book II of the North and South saga. (As far as I'm concerned, Book III doesn't exist.) And although the series strays from the book in many ways, that shouldn't and doesn't matter when speaking of the series as a seperate and totally independent entity. It stands on its own and tells the story it wants to tell regardless of Cooper Main or any other plot lines ommitted. To include every single detail of John Jakes's novels would be utterly pointless and drag down the flow of a story in a medium that demands action and visual stimulation to keep its audience interested. Too much exposition is never good for a movie or a series. I for one, who DID enjoy the books just as much, applaud the directors and screenplay writers for NOT trying to parallel the text word for word.
As everyone has said, the acting in both parts was superb. James Read and Patrick Swayze yes, but also Leslie Anne Down, Wendy Kilbourne-Read (she and James really did get married in real life, isn't that cool?) Parker Stevenson (a drastic improvement from John Stockwell) Phillip Casnoff and David Carridine (whom we all love to hate) Terri Garber and Genie Francis. But I have to say I'm disappointed that more people here have not commented on Lewis Smith's portrayal of Charles Main in both books, who perhaps goes through just as much development of character as Orry, and Smith does it flawlessly. A great actor and a highly overlooked and underrated performance, Lewis Smith is simply awesome as Charles Main.
The story is about passion, love, romance, desire-yes. But more than that, it is about friendship. No other series, movie or tv show has ever displayed such a complex love story, love not only between lovers, but between friends, and no one should ever try. Rating North and South on a scale of 1 to 10, I give it a smashing 95!