If you’re a fan of swashbuckling, this show is for you: based on Alexandre Dumas’ novel The Three Musketeers, this BBC show follows Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and D’Artagnan as they embark on all kinds of adventures, whether diplomatic or romantic.
The Musketeers (2014): Based on the novel by Alexandre Dumas; 3 seasons à 10 episodes à 45mins.; starring Luke Pasqualino (Skins), Santiago Cabrera (Merlin, Heroes), Tom Burke (War and Peace), Howard Charles, Tamla Kari, Alexandra Dowling, Maimie McCoy, Peter Capaldi, Hugo Speer, Ryan Gage.
For fans of: Pirates of the Carribbean, Prince of Thieves, the Musketeer legend and its various adaptations, Merlin, bromance, lush costumes and set design.
While the show amazes with breathtakingly gorgeous costumes and spectacular stunts, it is the friendship between the four men that lies at the heart of the series. After all, their bond is a popular point of reference for true friendship – all for one and one for all (which can mean anything from lending a hand during a sword fight, to buying the first round at the tavern). Here’s why you should buckle up and watch…
1. The Fights
In the course of its two season run, The Musketeers has produced some epic fight scenes – hand to hand combat, sword fighting, shoot outs, explosions, you name it – as well as daunting escapes: the Pilot for instance begins with a fatal ambush in a barn, boasts a confrontational first encounter between D’Artagnan and his future colleagues, and sees him haul himself out of a closed window and into the street later on in the episode.
2. The Characters
2.1. The Lads
The dynamic of their brotherhood thrives on the fact that each of them are significantly different in character: Aramis (Santiago Cabrera, Merlin, Heroes) is driven by passion and a thirst for getting physical, Porthos (Howard Charles) acts on impulse and often lets his fists speak for him, Athos (Tom Burke) is haunted by the demons of his past, chief among them his love for his wife, a cunning and vindictive mercenary, D’Artagnan’s (Luke Pasqualino, Skins) naivete and idealism puts him in harm’s way ever so often. And yet what unites them is stronger than their differences: each of them is the epitome of valour, loyalty and selflessness.
2.2. The Lasses
Perhaps even more remarkable than the musketeers themselves are the female characters on this show. From Queen Anne (Alexandra Dowling), to Constance (Tamla Kari), to Milady (Maimie McCoy), Athos’ wife, assassin for hire, and ruthless force to be reckoned with, to the countless compelling guest characters. If you’re a fan of feisty women standing their ground and empowering each other, you’re going to enjoy The Musketeers.
3. Angst-ridden Romance
Of course, no period drama is complete unless it’s got some sort of star-crossed lovers to show for. This show’s got not one, but two relationships doomed by circumstance on offer. As a bonus, Dumas and the BBC throw in one of the most twisted liaisons in fictional history with Athos and Milady.
4. Period Costumes and Set Location
Feast your eyes on cavalier hats, men in boots, men wearing gloves, a male regent with long curly hair breathing free, corset dresses with wide frocks, pretty braids, lovely jewellery and embroidered chokers. While the show is set in 17th century Paris, it films in 21st century Prague, home to many gorgeous castles, abandoned palaces, secret libraries and surprisingly badass cloisters.
5. The Performances
Needless to say, this being a British television show, the acting is flawless and understated. Tom Burke gives a hauntingly vulnerable performance as Milady’s broken-hearted ex-husband and Luke Pasqualino’s D’Artagnan oscillates between being entertainingly brazen and frustratingly callous. Not to mention the terrific villains this show has brought forth: Peter Capaldi’s (Doctor Who) wicked Cardinal and Marc Warren’s equally repelling and compelling Rochefort, to name a few.
To binge or not to binge? I’d suggest watching an episode a week as each one of them is a stand-alone chapter – except for the last two episodes of Season 2, you definitely want to watch those in a row.
Where can I watch? The Musketeers is available for streaming on Amazon and Netflix.