The First Musketeer
Writer/Director/Producer: Harriet Sams
Executive Producer: Richard Newsum
Director of Photography: Neil Oseman
Editor: David Fisher
This six part web series runs for a total of a little under 1 hour 10 minutes and is a worthwhile and rewarding investment in anybody’s time. A genuine must watch. Harriet Sams has chosen to write this as a prequel to the original Alexander Dumas books and it works incredibly well. She has clearly done her research and the series is all the richer for it. The location filming was done in France and, quite apart from adding to the authenticity, it provides a visual feast of stunning exteriors and interiors which, I genuinely believe, would not have worked nearly so well anywhere else.
I found myself caught up in the story from the very opening scene. Here we meet Lazare (Tony Sams), Ghislain (Paul McMaster) and Athos (Edward Mitchell). What strikes you immediately is the lovely contrast between the older men’s worldly experience and the younger man’s youthful recklessness. And this theme runs on and is developed as the series progresses. We are treated, along the way, to little snippets of information about Lazare’s life and experiences and those little nuggets were written and performed so well that I almost felt as though I knew Lazare personally. No mean feat for a production of this length.
As the story unfolds Lazare, Ghislain and Athos are joined by Porthos (Charles Barrett) as they embark on a mission to travel to Avignon at the behest of the Duke De Luynes (Toby Lord) in order to bring Richelieu (Alan J Mirren) safely back to Paris. It was never going to be easy. Plotting to prevent them are Marion (Nicole O’Neill) and a darkly threatening “The Pilgrim” (Sean Knopp). You’ll have to watch the series to discover who prevails!
This really is a most enjoyable series and one that I highly recommend. I couldn’t find a weak aspect to it. The writing, performing, music, humour, locations and costumes – all were superb quality and on a truly modest budget too. Even the fight sequences which, it has to be said, I am not qualified to judge, seemed very well choreographed to me. You won’t find any A-list names here but there are definitely actors worth watching out for in future productions.
A huge slap on the back to everyone who was involved with this project. And, please Harriet Sams... think sequel!
Watch all six episodes HERE