[This is review of the series premiere of The Musketeers. There will be SPOILERS.]
BBC America's The Musketeers joins an ever-growing list of British imports, like Downton Abbey and Sherlock. While this new venture into the period-based drama arena may not garner the same critical acclaim as the aforementioned titles, it is still worthy of note, as Alexandre Dumas' classic tale comes to life in an enjoyable fashion.
Lead writer/executive producer Adrian Hodges (My Week with Marilyn) proves himself more than capable of adapting such a well-known story, which stems from the 'D'Artagnan Romances' penned by Mr. Dumas in the 19th century. The Musketeers themselves must be larger than life and to accomplish this feat, casting is of the utmost importance.
Fortunately, Hodges and company chose wisely in this regard, picking four individuals worthy of the title, Musketeer. While our young D'Artagnan (Luke Pasqualino) is not yet an official member, his journey should be an exciting adventure to behold. Pasqualino (Battlestar Galatica: Blood and Chrome) embodies everything a brash young hero should emulate. He's bravado, as well as his good looks and impulsiveness, are all equally matched by a strong performance. Being the new kid on the block is never easy and he'll have to prove himself worthy several times over before he can stand toe-to-toe with Porthos, Athos, and Aramis.
Of all the Musketeers, Athos (Tom Burke) is the one most shrouded in mystery. Burke (Only God Forgives) does an impressive job portraying the drunken and heartbroken soldier lost in a world of duty and honor. The source of his melancholy comes from a relationship he once had with a character simply referred to as Milady (Maime McCoy). Apparently, Athos believes he is responsible for her death, due to his deep love for the deadly beauty. Does he speak of her literal death, or is the wearisome Musketeer figuratively speaking of her transformation into a ruthless assassin for hire? Whatever the case may be, their relationship is worth learning more about. Though the two never share a moment on-screen (except for the flashback), it will be interesting to see what happens when Milady and Athos meet again.
With a title as masculine as Musketeer, one would assume this to be a "bro-centric" series, filled with swords, guns, and lovely ladies aplenty for our leading men to fornicate with; however, Hodges has done a marvelous job of giving the women of this show the same ferocity and backbone as the men. McCoy (Milady) is quite possibly the most dangerous character, with her gorgeous features matched by her skill with a knife. Constance, played by the talented Tamla Kari (Being Human) doesn't fall for the charms of D'Artagnan right away, which is a welcomed site. The look of horror on her face said it all after she killed a member of the Cardinal's Red Guard. Constance's "safe" life will continue to become more complicated as her relationship with the Musketeers deepens.
Porthos (Howard Charles) and Aramis (Santiago Cabrera) were given the least amount to do in terms of plot, but their characters are likely to be fleshed out more as the season progresses. Some of you may remember Mr. Cabrera from BBC's popular series, Merlin, as the devilishly handsome Sir Lancelot. The Venezuelan-born actor seems born to play the romantic Musketeer. Again, without a strong kinetic bond between these men, The Musketeers wouldn't work. Thankfully, for all of our sakes, Adrian Hodges has the foundation for what could be a compelling story for a 10-episode season.
For those of you interested in seeing more of the Musketeers in action, BBC has already announced that a second season has been commissioned to air sometime in 2015 (First in the U.K., then in the U.S. at a later date). What are your thoughts on this new take on Alexandre Dumas' work, and which of the Musketeers is your favorite? This reviewer has always fancied Porthos. Keep watching to see how it all unfolds.
The Musketeers continues with 'Sleight of Hand' next Sunday @9pm on BBC America.