Spoilers are marked with an (S)
So, after binge watching all three seasons of BBC’s ‘The Musketeers’ in just over a weekend, I felt like it was mandatory to review it here on my blog.
Watch the official BBC trailer here.
Just a bit of background:
BBC’s Musketeers is a new take on Alexandre Dumas’ famous novel ‘The Three Musketeers’, which takes place in 17th century Paris (during the reign of Louis XIII). It follows the story of a young Gascon, d’Artagnan who gets entangled in the affairs of the Musketeers after going to Paris to avenge the death of his father.
Honestly, I don’t think I even have words for this. I feel like nothing I write could possibly do this amazing series justice (in fact, I still can’t understand how it was cancelled after only the third season).
I am going to be entirely honest here, the primary reason why I started watching the show was because it starred Santiago Cabrera. To my great surprise Aramis (Cabrera’s character) didn’t turn out to be my favourite Musketeer. Don’t get me wrong though, I still loved Aramis infinitely. He was, as Cabrera often puts it, charming and dangerous. While he was definitely the flirt in the group, he was also the most religious.
The spot of my favourite Musketeer though, has to go to d’Artagnan (portrayed by Luke Pasquilino). He was everything I looked for in the series’ protagonist. He had a hunger for justice, was incredibly brave (possibly stupid), humorous, but he could also be dark and intimidating if the situation called for it. Oh, and pretty pleasing to look at as well.
Then Athos (Tom Burke) who completely ruled ‘mysterious, handsome and brooding’. Porthos (Howard Charles) still remains one of the best written characters in the show.
All four of them were given rich and realistic backstories, and they were (overall) very well written. None of them seemed one-dimensional, or flat. The acting was phenomenal. I think that in such a case, the main characters need to be well liked as well as imperfect, and this was without a doubt, achieved.
The Cardinal was a classic villain. A clear and intense hatred for the main characters, an evil plan to seize complete power… but he was still my favourite from the show? There was a point during season 1 where I thought he was going to die, and then I was so relieved when he didn’t. Peter Capaldi was brilliant.
I loved how different Milady was though. And aside from that, how complex. She was just a woman who was born into a time dominated by men and ha
d to suffer for it. I think, in the end, she was doing what she knew could keep her alive. (S) I would’ve liked to see her have a slightly happier ending then the one she had, it seemed only fair.
Rochfort was evil and I hated him. Period. Especially after the way he treated Anne.
With Grimaud and Feron, I never really found myself invested that much in either of their storylines. It was great to see that Feron had ultimately changed. It was also a nice breather that Grimaud (unlike Rochfort and the Cardinal), wasn’t a villain pretending to be someone he wasn’t and plotting from within the kingdom.
God, I hated Louis (Ryan Gage). Initially, he was just so annoying and irritating and insufferable. Of course, this may have been the plan from the beginning and if that was so, it was definitely achieved. His character development was also evident from season 1 Louis to season 3 Louis. In fact, I think he was particularly interesting in Season 3.
Anne (Alexandra Dowling), on the other hand, was pretty likeable. Her character had to endure so much, from (S) not loving, and not being loved by her husband in the way that she should’ve, to being in love with a man whom being with would’ve meant treason. She was strong though, and didn’t invite pity.
The first episode was rather cliché, with illicit relationships and fights over cheating at cards. However, by the second episode, it became clear that many great things were in store for the series.
One point I want to note on is the role of the women in the show. We all know the about the roles of woman during that era. ‘The Musketeers’ on the other hand managed to keep the historical style, with having powerful female characters. Constance was married to a cloth merchant, doomed to have the typical wife role in society. Yet, she still sought out adventure and knew that she could do more. Milady was an assassin. And then of course, Anne.
There was the perfect amount of action. The perfect amount of romance (Constagnan, anyone?). The perfect amount of politics and humour as well.
The Everything Else
The costumes were marvellous. The designers clearly went for a more modern wardrobe (i.e. a LOT of leather), but they made it work.
The uniforms didn’t seem out of place, and I (personally) thought they looked better this way than if the designers had chosen to go the traditional route.
The special effects deserve a shout out though. One word, they were convincing. Nothing was clearly CGI, and a lot of effort must’ve gone into having believable special effects.
Even the stunts were all real. The cast had to go through boot camp before season 1 even began filming. The week long training included lessons in combat, shooting, fencing and horse riding.
The set as well was perfect. The show was shot in the Czech Republic, because of its similarities to 17th century Paris. As a result of this, everything from the garrison to the gorgeous palace looked impeccably authentic.
Despite my love for this show, it’s not something I would recommend to everyone. If you’re generally into more contemporary high school kind of stuff, I don’t think this would be your cup of tea. However, if you love classical period dramas, then give this one a chance.