"Hornblower - The Complete Collection" is a welcome rarity among TV series in that each of its twelve episodes is good enough to be shown on the big screen as a full-length feature film. The production values are incredibly high offering spectacular vistas, sea battles and action sequences as good as anything seen in the cinema. The scripts not only do full justice to the beloved novels of C.S. Forester, they also capture the solid spirit of shipboard life in the British navy during the Napoleonic era. The characters - from the smallest part to the leading roles - are portrayed with unerring accuracy and conviction. Ioan Gruffid is perfect as the young Hornblower and seeing him mature and toughen with each episode allows us to experience the journey of a fully-rounded character. Equally impressive is Robert Lindsay as his superior and mentor, Captain Pellew.
Offering some 13 hours of utterly compelling viewing tracing Horatio Hornblower's progress from Midshipman to Captain, one can't help wishing that this series - now some ten years old - could be continued so that we can see the rest of the Hornblower saga ending with his being appointed Admiral. But, alas, the production costs involved in making these wonderful films proved to be too expensive for the TV market. As an excellent appendage to this series,I can wholeheartedly recommend the 1950 film "Captain Horatio Hornblower.RN" starring Gregory Peck, which picks up where the TV series leaves off. Perhaps some enterprising producer should consider mounting the Hornblower story as a major feature film with Mr. Gruffid in the title role. In the meantime, there is plenty to savour and enjoy in this reasonably-priced box set which is unquestionably the best TV adventure series ever. I can't recommend it too highly.