BBC America’s ‘Musketeers’ is good, old-fashioned adventure

FRIDAY, JUNE 20, 2014

There are very few places left on the tube that offer well-made, old-fashioned swashbuckling fare fit for adults and tweens alike.

It’s a role BBC America has played well for some time with richly produced, wonderfully acted series such as “Sinbad,” “Atlantis” and now, “The Musketeers.”

Premiering at 9 p.m. Sunday with a 10-episode first season, “The Musketeers” is a lush, rousing iteration of the classic Alexandre Dumas story featuring a dream cast of newcomers and seasoned character actors.

Old-fashioned it may be in spirit, but this adventure tale is nothing if not exciting. The first episode opens with a bang: A masked gang of armed marauders attacks an inn on the road to Paris where aging merchant Alexandre D’Artagnan (Oliver Cotton) and his son (Luke Pasqualino) have taken rooms for the night.

The thieves descend, their leader identifying himself as Athos of the King’s Musketeers before slaughtering the elder D’Artagnan.

So begins an epic journey that takes the young son into the big city to challenge the Musketeers to a duel, only to find out they were framed.

The real killers are members of the Red Guard, the private army controlled by Cardinal Armand Richelieu. Peter Capaldi (“The Thick of It,” “Doctor Who”) is brilliant as the serpentine cardinal who will stop at nothing to become France’s true ruler.

For his part, King Louis XIII (Ryan Gage) is a goofy man-child who loves to shoot birds “and poets.”

Each episode opens up a new front in the struggle for power and introduces new villains, including the ultimate assassin, seductress Milady de Winter (Maimie McCoy).

“The Musketeers” premieres at 9 p.m. Sunday on BBC America. The next day, it will be available on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Microsoft Xbox Video, Sony PSN and Vudu.

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