Episodes 9 and 10 of the first season of the BBC’s take on the Alexander Dumas classic.
In a way all the odds have been against The Musketeers from the presence of a recent unsuccessful film adaptation to its bizarre 9pm Sunday night timeslot plus the fact that the actor playing its primary antagonist will be indisposed for a second season. Typically the finale then has to go head to head with ITV’s returning Endeavour. Yet the series has, if not triumphed, then certainly thrived strongly with a growing sense that it has developed far faster than other comparable shows such as Merlin or Robin Hood. Perhaps the later timeslot has allowed The Musketeers a little more freedom to push some boundaries and rely on a darker sensibility though it has never quire justified the scheduling. Despite stellar ratings for the opening episode almost halving as the run progressed and a mixed critical reaction nobody can surely argue with the fact that the series has found its sense of direction. Though some of the plots are a little wobbly the whole package is fast, fun and feisty. Unlike some other series The Musketeers is never still long enough to be dull, it is always enlivened by excellent set pieces and the standard of acting is consistently high with, crucially, no weak links amongst the regulars. Though occasionally the writers seem to struggle to come up with believable plots where they do score highly is in characters that make an impact sometimes in a relatively short amount of screen time. Particularly pleasing aspects include far more proactive female characters than we might expect, villains that really mean business and a sense of place, however fictional that place may actually be. Put it on at 7.30pm on a Saturday and you’d have an even bigger hit.
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