Thursday, 23 January 2014

The Musketeers: Episode 1

22nd January, 2014.

You know there are times when it’s a pleasure, just to write about something.

Something other than the usual run of things: or, in my case, the Daily/Gazette/Friday Question Sets, what have you.

Much as I love doing them, it has to be said, they’re a job of work: and one that means if there’s anything I like the look of on TV, it’s rare — unless I specifically make time — to catch up on a series that looks interesting.

Agents Of SHIELD, for example?

Great little series, from what I saw of it: but given Channel Four’s habit of delaying the series by a week, every so often, and my on beavering away on assorted Teaser slideshows meant I could never give it the attention I felt it deserved.

I really couldn’t tell you if it’s on, off, on again, or cancelled!

At ANY rate … ?

At any rate, some thing I know had grabbed my eye, when the BBC announced they were airing it … ?

Was the BBC’s new take on Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers: called, simply, The Musketeers.


Now, I’ll have to admit, I’ve never read Dumas’ original novel of The Three Musketeers: it never actual appealed, believe it or not.

Why, I don’t know.

I think it’s enough to say that I’d been vaguely interested in reading them: to get a hopefully more more accurate feel for Dumas’s story than any of the many film versions would give.   But never actually interested enough to go and look them up in Brentwood Library.

One day, maybe … !

At ANY rate … ?   I’d grown up — as many others in the UK — with a vague believe that when the BBC does an adaptation of a well known novel, it tries to do as accurate a translation as possible.

Much like their 1981 version of Day Of The Triffids.

So knowing they were airing their take on The Three Musketeers … ?   One with Peter Capaldi as the villainous Cardinal Richelieu … ?

Well, the fact I could read the book without going near the library seemed to make watching it a useful thing to do … 


23rd January, 2014

So … Given I was busily helping my sister, Ruth, make a wardrobe on Sunday: and with one of two other things, as well?   I actually decided to record The Musketeers.   To a USB memory stick plugged into my TV one USB port, I should add.

With the reasoning that, so long as I made sure not to delete it, I could watch it later*.

I’m glad I did.

Let me tell you about this one episode, though: to see if I can use that to tell you why … 


Opening on the road to Paris, Episode 1 of The Musketeers shows us a very young D’Artagnan — played by Luke Pasqualino — with his father, to petition the king to lower taxes.

Whilst heading there … ?

The pair are attacked by a group of men, claiming to be a squad of Kings Musketeers led by Athos, Count de la Fère.

D’Artagnan senior is killed: but not before telling his son the name of the man who’s killed him.

D’Artagnan† junior Decides there’s only one thing a dutiful son can do: head for Paris … and seek vengeance … !

Meanwhile … ?

Meanwhile, the three musketeers, themselves — Athos, Porthos and Aramis — have been ordered back to Paris, to help investigate the disappearance of some missing fellow soldiers.

They have some immediate problems.

Their Captain is SERIOUSLY hacked off with them: as the king’s ordered an enquiry into the Musketeers

The rival military force run by Cardinal Richelieu is looking SERIOUSLY nasty.

They’s a young chap from Gascony, at the door, screaming — literal — blue murder.

Oh … 

And Athos, the lead Musketeer … ?

Is going to be executed in the morning … 


Now … 

Did I enjoy this opening episode of The Musketeers … ?

Absolutely … !

This was, quite simply everything a historical adventure could be: full of scheming villains, heaving cleavage, big beards … 

And outright non-stop fun.

I don’t know if it’s persuaded me to read the book: I’ll have tot let you know about that.

It HAS persuaded me that watching the rest of the series is worth my time.

Possibly … ?   It’s worth yours, as well.

*        I should add, at this point, that — given my TV saves such files as MPEG2 transport streams — I can use a combination of vlc and Handbrake to recode a show for later viewing.

†        It seems Dumas based D’Artagnan on the real world Charles Ogier de Batz de Castelmore, Comte d'Artagnan.   So you know … 

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