When it comes to swashbuckling adventures, I’m not sure modern cinema has anything better than Disney’s original Pirates of the Caribbean with Johnny Depp. Clearly, the British thought it’d be fun to challenge this with a re-imagining of Dumas’ classic. This time it’s simply titled, The Musketeers (2014).
The Musketeers (2014), Season One
17th century France doesn’t adhere to the law. This leaves the people to find justice for themselves. This is where young D’Artagnan (Luke Pasqualino) finds himself when, after travel to petition the king in Paris, the inn he and his father stop at is ambushed. Worse yet, it’s by a troupe of the King’s Musketeers, and the cost of their stop is the life of D’Artagnan’s father. Armed with the name of his father’s killer, D’Artagntan sets off to avenge his loss in Paris. Once there, he calls out his father’s murderer, Athos (Tom Burke), a king’s Musketeer. Only trouble is, after a dual, Athos convinces D’Artagnan – and his fellow comrades, Porthos (Howard Charles) and Aramis (Santiago Cabrera), that he is not the man who killed his father. Instead the Musketeers learn someone is implicating them in crimes around the country. Something they aim to put a stop to.
Under the leadership of Captain Treville (Hugo Speer), the Musketeers are in an endless battle with the Red Guard, and their leader, the Cardinal (Peter Capaldi). Furthermore, he’s the one man whose ear the king seems most lost without. With such a young ruler at the throne, King Louis (Ryan Gage) is bases his decisions on the Cardinal’s say so. This leaves the Musketeers vulnerable, and often without the support of their king.
I haven’t had THIS much fun in a British (BBC) series in I don’t know how long. If this “first series” of The Musketeers is anything to go by, it’s going to be grand fun. The approach to this story is unique. Previously, film has been this story’s medium, which is confining. This 10-part series takes individual stories with exception to one or two minor plot lines that do run over, mainly each script finishes itself in the installment. To be honest, I love this approach. It offers more opportunities to come up against new enemies (enemies to defeat in an hour instead prolonged exposure) and allows for some fun guest appearances (like Zoe Tapper, Mr. Selfridge). This is something the script has fun with until the finale when, much as we want to giggle over the dashing heroes antics, our hearts are a teeny bit disappointed for their misfortunes.
As I sit here typing this two hours after finishing season one, I’m still smiling. In a nutshell, this is a fantastic replacement for some of BBC’s lighter series. Ironically all three of their “family-friendly” series (Robin Hood, Merlin and now, The Musketeers) are from favorite legends. Looking at the track record of the prior two, I’d be lying if I said that there isn’t skepticism about how this series will shake out. But enough of that, let’s get to the good. First off, let’s talk the cast.
Seriously, how does anyone resist this ensemble? Everyone is dynamic, and the camaraderie that forms is fantastic. I enjoy everything about the scenes between the guys, and the women who steal their hearts. Fans of Merlin will appreciate (and maybe swoon over) seeing Santiago again. The rest of the cast is more like a newcomer lot with exception to Peter Capaldi. Next, I feel compelled to discuss the costuming which in and of itself is really a character of its own. I’m never sure how to describe the costuming in these “adventure” pieces because it’s really not true to the time period yet retains the general style of its period. This design has a steampunk vibe, and isn’t afraid to use harsh statement pieces depending on the wearer.
Quoted as being a “contemporary version” of the Dumas classic albeit set in 17th century France, this series definitely has a mind of its own. I admire this. The writer’s give us a new look at the legend. What this does is infuse the story with some diverse perspectives of what otherwise could have been a tiresome jaunt. Some of the twists I’d never seen done before, and some are similar, which helps to keep us connected to the story we know. When I finished these 10 installments, I wanted more, and luckily, there is a season two order.The Musketeers is fun, sometimes bittersweet and always willing to invite us on an adventure. There are new kids on the scene. Watch out Captain Jack Sparrow.Relive the heroics of BBC's 'The Musketeers' in season one of the swashbuckling #British series! Click To Tweet
Content: there are 5-8 bedroom scenes with sheets always appropriately placed and the couple in various state of undress. D’Artanan starts up with a married woman [we see them passionately make out before the scene cuts away]. There is plenty of swordplay though if I remember right, nothing graphic even when death results. Men are murdered at the pleasure of the Cardinal and others imprisoned. There are flashbacks to a woman being hanged. The series is TV12.)