If you could take a video to the beach, Fortunes of War would be it. This six-hour British-TV saga brings freshness to the well-worn terrain of World War II by following a husband and wife (real-life couple Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson in the production that brought them together) as they are hounded from one exotic locale to another — Romania, Greece, Egypt — by advancing German guns.
Best watched in digestible installments, Fortunes of War concentrates on character; it’s the petty concerns of people, undiminished during the world’s upheaval, that the series captures so wittily and well. As the left-wing, do-good professor who spreads himself too thin, Branagh’s Guy Pringle is a memorable creation — charming, repressed, and infuriating. Thompson shows more range than ever as his spunky, forgiving wife who ultimately, poignantly strays. Together they bring a ring of truth back to screen romance. B+