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BBC's The Musketeers
#1


Found this one at the library and unfortunately I had to start on season 3 to check it out. I've always loved the musketeer stories and sans 2001's Musketeer, most of the cinematic outings have been great. The opening episode of season 3 has a huge battle that was filmed well and wasn't too over the top. I'm usually not a BBC fan, but this one seemed like I might have found a gem. I did a quick imdb check and it had a rating of 7.8/10. Based on the high score, my initial favorable reaction to the season 3 opener, I very uncharacteristically bought the first two seasons for a decent price on blu ray. Kind of kicking myself for this now. Here's why:

Narrative: 5/10
While the look and presentation is great and pretty spot on, the characters and story are very much diminished. What we know as the Musketeers story is spread out over multiple episodes in a disjointed fashion as to kill any narrative continuity. Each episode is a stand alone fragment, but never really connects in a coherent way.

Characters: 7/10
The casting choices are pretty spectacular. Athos is great, Aramis is great, Porthos is probably my favorite and D'Artagnan fits the mold well. Where the real issues are for me are in the portrayal of D'Artagnan and Constance. In this presentation, noble D'Artagnan is reduced to an adulterous entitled tag along for the musketeers. Constance, who repeatedly informs D'Artagnan that she is married, houses him and their love affair grows from there. This isn't even mentioned or implied in the third season or even in the trailer for the show so I wish I would have held off and caught the first season first. It's hard to care about a character who's integrity is shot, especially when they talk about his loyalty and goodness as defining characteristic. The actress playing Constance is less than stellar as well and I'm not sure why she was cast to be honest. Most everyone else does a good job and is convincing in their roles.

Enjoyment: 5/10
This one gets old really fast, and I mean really fast. I put it on and found myself gravitating to other things and not paying attention. It's painfully formulaic and once you've seen one episode you know what to expect. Character enters, some dialogue to establish some sort of plot, bad guys show up and the musketeers fight them. What's worse, the entire show is riddled with a constant synthesized score that's presented in 2.0 stereo and repeats itself throughout. It becomes audio diarrhea after awhile. This pretty much kills any hope of re purposing this show to create a cohesive feature film edit. Again, D'Artagnan's character is so tarnished in this one that it's hard to want to invest anymore time into the story episodes.

Take away:
The show looks great and it's good for an infrequent viewing, but this certainly won't be replacing any of its predecessors as the go to version of the musketeers.

If there are any lovers of this show that have ideas for how it could be edited to create a flowing narrative feel free to share those thoughts.
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#2
Wow, that sounds pretty rough, especially that D'Artangan storyline. Sorry that the viewing experience wasn't better.

I never saw the show, but I felt bad for the producers when Peter Capaldi, who played Richelieu, got cast as the Doctor in Doctor Who, effectively killing any plans they had to continue that character later on. Of course, having read your review, it sounds like there wasn't much salvageable about it in the first place.
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#3
I think I only watched the Capaldi series in it's entirety and dropped off after he left.
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