First look at upcoming BBC One’s ‘The Musketeers’ drama looks all sorts of disappointing

J.M. Aucoin . Movies/TV, Musketeer 5581 4 Comments

Now that the show is out, here’s my thoughts on The Musketeers after three episodes.

I own a ridiculous amount of Three Musketeer films. Absolutely ridiculous. Most of them are pretty awful, but I have a soft spot for bad swashbucklers, especially if it’s the Three Musketeers. I love that story so much you’d think that I’d be one of those people who crap all over any adaption that’s not 100% accurate to the books…. aka, one or two of them. But nope. Bad ones are cool in my book, too.

There are a few I don’t own, including the Russian version, the Angela Lansbury version, the Erotic Tales of the Three Musketeers, the Barbie version, Mickey version, etc. One day. One day.

My extensive 3M movie collection

My extensive 3M movie collection

I even own a Zorro series in which Zorro fights alongside the decedents of the Three Musketeers. Does that count?

Like I said. I got a lot.

And most of these aren’t anything like the book beyond the name of the characters. Some might’ve been shown a fleeting image of the book once but that’s where similarities begin and end. The Kiefer Sutherland/Disney 3M is one of my favorites. It captures the spirit of the book even if it lacks in accuracy to what actually happens. It’s also the first 3M I ever saw as a kid so you can imagine my surprise when I read the book and found out D’Artagnan cheats on Constance and then Constance dies. I almost threw the book out the window. I also own really awful ones like the French Four Musketeers in which Mi’Lady signed a contract with the Devil and can’t be killed until her contract with the Devil gets burned by sunrays… and D’Artagnan has a pet hawk that shows up when good things happen… or something. Then you have more accurate versions like the Michael York Three/Four Musketeers. The fighting is silly at some points (no one would golf swing a rapier) but it’s really close to the book. There’s a BBC version, too, that was done as a miniseries. It’s the most accurate film adaption you’ll find. Brian Blessed plays Porthos and that explains exactly how awesome that version is.

BBC One Three Musketeer promo

We have a union solider, a pirate, a RenFaire starter kit and a Museum Replicas model as the BBC musketeers…

Anyways that BBC version is why I was originally stoked to find out BBC One was going to do another adaption of the book. It’s a 10-part drama apparently which is great — that book is so big it’s better suited for a series than it is a single movie. But then I saw the promo shot.

First thought: Yikes.

Second thought: Why are the musketeers dressed like steampunk union soldiers?

Third thought: Wait… is that leather shoulder armor? WTF…

Two of them have cowboy hats on. Guy on the far left is wearing Union Blue if there ever was one. I could buy that as a doublet, maybe, but then we have the dude in the middle back with a pirate coat and the guy on the far right is wearing leather bracers and studded neck armor. And all three are sporting leather shoulder armor because of reasons. D’Artagnan must be freezing with no doublet or cloak while walking in the snow.

To quote one friend “If the guy in the center left doesn’t say ‘Y’all’ in the first five minutes I’m leaving.” At least their boots are good.

I’ll still watch if I can and I’m sure I’ll enjoy it because it’s the Three Musketeers goddammit but I had higher hopes and expectations from BBC, both in the plot and costume. Maybe it’s unfair of me to hold the BBC to a much higher expectation but I do.

I know, I know. I’m being a costume snob. Damn straight I am.  The outfits back then are awesome enough without needing to stylize things for silly reasons. If you want these guys to have leather armor, give them buffcoats, You want them to wear big hats, give them period hats. They had wide brims and feathers. You want one of them to have a longer coat for billowing epicness when fighting, toss a cassock or cloak or caplet over them.

I’d love an accurate adaptation of the novel in my lifetime — both plot and costume.  One day… maybe.

I’m not angry, BBC One. I just haz lots of disappoints.

Hopefully the plot is closer to the book than the costumes are.

J.M. Aucoin

Author. Fencer. Sometimes actor. Full-time nerd. I write swashbucklers & historical adventure novels.

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