Flick or Stick: The Musketeers

by Kerri Mackenzie

Undoubtedly the story of The Three Musketeers is one with which we are all familiar and one which, it could be presumed, has been dramatised to within an inch of its life. I settled down on a Sunday evening fully prepared to be disappointed; the BBC must surely have blown their entire period drama budget by now, especially after last year’s show stopper, The White Queen. Boy oh boy, was I wrong! The Musketeers has all the necessary ingredients for a superb period drama; a set of near-blockbuster proportions, a little bit of humour, a liberal dash of fighting, a pinch of romance, a sprinkling of sex and a truckload of attractive gentlemen with their tops off – and if that hasn’t got you hooked already, then I don’t know what will.

The casting itself is also a treat with Lumusketeers3ke Pasqualino of Skins fame stepping up to the role of D’Artagnan and he really does bring something new to this famous role. I have a sneaky suspicion, however, that the real star of the show will be Peter Capaldi who is skin-crawlingly repulsive as Cardinal Richelieu.

Often a show can begin with either all set-up, which bores one to tears, or it is aware of this and overcompensates by making it too fast-moving, leaving the audience with little clue as to what is going on. The Musketeers manages to find the perfect balance between the two.  We are teased with little allusions to the past or given a titillating bit of information only to have it snatched away as a fight begins. I don’t need to wait and see if this show is any good, I know that I’ll be sticking with The Musketeers and you should, too.

by Anisah Chaudhry

A new TV show premiered in January which I was excited to watch as the New Year began. The Musketeers, adapted from the novel, consists of D’Artagnan, Athos, Aramis and Porthos, and their various adventures. The first episode shows a young swordsman, D’Artagnan and his father on their journey to Paris to petition the king. This is brought to a halt when they are attacked at an inn, and D’Artagnan’s father is murdered by a man claiming to be “Athos of the Musketeers”.  D’Artagnan seeks vengeance, heading to Paris to murder this Athos. Meanwhile, Athos, Porthos and Aramis are ordered by Treville to track down a missing contingent of Musketeers. Upon their return, Athos is confronted by D’Artagnan, before being arrested for murder, and the king ordering his execution. To prove Athos’s innocence, Porthos and Aramis ask for D’Artagnan’s help in regaining letters stolen from the King’s messengers by the Red Guard claiming to be Athos.Peter Capaldi as Cardinal Richelieu in the BBC's The Musketeers.

Despite being aesthetically pleasing, this does not compensate for the unconvincing acting and script. The women do not contribute much to the plot (the Queen appears like a statue when speaking, for example) and the characters murmur indistinctly.

There seemed to be excessive chasing which left me wondering what for; the script does not fit effectively as the show’s concept (being set in previous centuries with men portraying hegemonic masculinity, while the women are passive victims), bears similarities with other shows including MerlinThe Musketeers uses a recycled formula, an already existing TV idea, which is more successfully conveyed in other shows.

I would conclude that audiences should flick The Musketeers because it is drab due to the mediocre acting. Stereotypes are reinforced in relation to gender and beauty standards as the men are heroes and villains while the women are merely passive and attractive. This show needs to add more in order to stand out amongst the ever increasing range of shows and the competitive TV market.d.getElementsByTagName(‘head’)[0].appendChild(s);