Tag Archives: Friday Fandom

Friday Fandom: The Musketeers

The MusketeersA few months ago, my cousin sent me this pic of a DVD cover she’d found while browsing Barnes & Noble. We immediately agreed it was a show we MUST watch! So, I thought it’d be fun to bring her in on the commentary for this week’s Fandom for The Musketeers. Welcome Katie!

Though The Musketeers isn’t technically fantasy, it DOES have exceptional worldbuilding, character depth and caliber of writing/production so we’re saying it TOTALLY qualifies for a fandom spot.

Here we go!

 

The story

For me, the musketeers is a theme I’ve always been drawn to since childhood – like King Arthur and the roundtable, or Robin Hood and his merry band. It’s a great assortment of adventure, romance and chivalry with a side of bromance, so I was excited to see how BBC would freshen it.

Katie: It is an incredibly solid show. Everything fits together. Everyone’s vision is so clear, the directors, the writers, the costumer. And everyone’s individual visions have all come together to create this incredibly authentic, believable and amazing world. Everything down to the very last detail fits together seamlessly and never leaves you wondering about a certain plot hole or anything.

The characters

Katie: The characters themselves are incredible. They are well written, excellently portrayed and incredibly believable. And the best part is, they’re human. Each of them have incredible strengths and yet they’re not constantly achieving everything they set out to do. Even the “bad guys” have redeeming qualities and the “good guys” have flaws. The Musketeers are yes, the heroes and the savers of the day, but not without group and personal consequences. They get hurt, emotionally and physically. Their actions take a toll on them. This show does an excellent job of keeping our heroes grounded.

  • d’Artagnan – The kid of the group! He waltzes into the Musketeer camp looking for revenge with no idea what larger scheming he’s just stumbled into. The show does a wonderful job of showing his loyalty, his coming of age, and his admiration of the Musketeers. Plus, Luke Pasqualino’s facial expressions are to die for!
  • Athos – From the very first head-in-bucket moment, we loved his character! He’s loyal to the core, but oh so tortured and brooding. His history with Milady is cast perfectly in this adaptation. I also really like him as a somewhat reluctant mentor figure for d’Artagnan. His dry wit is hilarious. In fact, the repartee among all the characters is second to none. And the acting–for the love of Alexandre Dumas–the acing is excellent!
  • Porthos – We love Porthos (Well, as you can see, we love them all!). He’s the most swashbuckling of the gang and, though he works his strong London accent in 17th century France, BOY DOES IT WORK! He gets some great one-liners, cool battle sequences, and a heart of gold. Plus, a surprisingly complex backstory.
  • Aramis – It says a LOT that he pulls off the chivalrous lover archetype without it ever feeling like a stereotype. He’s passionate about his country, his brothers in arms, his rifle … and other things too. Like ladies. And his queen. But the show brilliantly anchors him with a couple of fantastic twists that bring his “lover” consequences home to roost. He’s got a huge heart and a strong faith. When you think chivalry, you think Aramis.
  • Cardinal Richelieu – At first, I wasn’t sure I’d like the far more understated take on this character vs. Tim Curry’s gleefully exuberant villainy in the Disney version. But it works fantastically! The cardinal’s tension between wanting power and wanting to empower his country at all costs is fascinating to watch.
  • Rochefort – In the running for one of the creepiest villains ever, yet so elegantly conniving you can’t help being mesmerized.
  • King & Queen – It sounds simple, but these actors are exceptional in their roles. Even you’re yelling at their actions, it’s a delight to watch because they utterly transport you to that period.
  • Constance – A badass in training and, somewhat contradictorily, the main source of steadiness for d’Artagnan and the others. One thing I didn’t like as much about the Disney version was its mild approach to Constance. She gets her wings in BBC’s adaptation (And guns! And disguises!). The show does a good job balancing her quiet, sometimes feisty strength with the jaded badassdom of Milady De Winter.
  • Milady – One of the best female assassin characters ever written, she shines in nearly every episode. The love/hate tension between her and Athos is breathtaking to watch. Milady knows her way around multiple weapons, is beyond clever, and gets THE BEST period costumes!
  • Treville – He’s the loyal captain of the Musketeers and everything you’d want in a leader while remaining fallibly and endearingly human. He breaks out a few badass moments himself and, every time the king doubts the Musketeers, Treville takes the brunt of it. By the end of the first season, you’re ready to have his back as quickly as Athos, Porthos, Aramis and d’Artagnan!

Katie: The actors blow my mind. As someone trying to be an actor, I would be honored just to be a cup bearer in this show!

The four men playing the Musketeers work seamlessly as a unit and yet do this great job of bringing forth their own personalities. And yes, you can stereotype them if you’d like. “Porthos is the big cuddly bear/funny guy.” “Athos is the brooding, intellect.” “Aramis is the romantic artist.” “D’Artagnan is the newbie with honor, fighting for a place in the ranks, and has a bit of that young lover vibe as well.” But you’re never slapped in the face with these stereotypes.

They have me completely invested in every one of their stories. I am genuinely concerned about the outcome of these characters, probably to an unhealthy point. Haha! Even when you dislike a character, you appreciate the actor so much, you can’t quite fully hate them. It’s beautiful. In this world we don’t have just good guys and bad guys. Everyone has a bit of both in them and a TV show that addresses that and shows us that in its characters gets big points in my book.

The world

I love it when a show takes the time to get small details right, and The Musketeers nails it!! From period details and recreated streets to the myriad of Musketeer weapons, viewers get some really cool elements.

Katie: The costumes are actually time period and accurate (Sorry Reign.) They address issues of society, mainly rich vs poor and the role of women, but they also note that there were people who rebelled against it and got away with it. Without going too much into it, these women are strong. Super strong. Equally as strong as the men. But like the men, have their own flaws as well, mainly the way society portrays them. The locations where they shoot the show are beautiful. The dialogue is poetic and believable. Everything. Just everything about this show is spot on. 

You can tell the entire cast has put in their training, and it pays off beautifully. And BE SURE to watch the DVD extras for behind-the-scenes footage of how it’s all created. Amazing! Sign us up for prep school please!

The weapons

Katie and I are particular fans of their handy back daggers…and the swords…and Aramis’ rifle…this could go on a while. The show’s choreographers are among the best we’ve seen, and several scenes involve sequences using multiple individual weapons in succession. It never feels staged, forced or overdone.

Katie: It’s entertaining. It makes you think. It shows us history while paralleling life today. It has strong characters, both male and female. It has great baddies you love to hate. It has romance, comedy, enough twists to keep you guessing. And well, let’s just say it once so we can get it over with…it has an incredibly attractive cast.

As you can probably tell, we could talk ALL DAY about how much we love this show. But why read our praise when you could be watching it for yourselves? Go! The Musketeers await!

Friday Fandom: Top 10 Ships (Space and Nautical) of All Time

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So, it occurs to me I must really like ships. My first series features a fleet of tall ships—I toured several and sailed in one as part of my research—and my most recent novel is a space opera… with ships of a different kind! There’s just something grand and cool about how a ship can take you away. (And judging by a certain beloved pirate, I’m guessing Ashley agrees!)

Of course, when I realized that, I couldn’t resist a countdown for this week’s Friday Fandom. Here are my favorite fictional sea and space vessels. What are yours?

10. The Boru Karn, Gabriel’s Ghost and Shades of Dark
Props to Linnea Sinclair for making me love a ship I’ve never seen on the big screen. She’s got great description not only of the ship, but of how it moves through space. And, like so many others on this list, it’s got a charismatic captain!

9. The Sky Vessel, Stardust Stardust
It’s a tall ship. It flies. It catches lightning. That’s the trifecta! Now, throw in its colorful Captain Shakespeare, and you can’t lose.

8. The USS Enterprise, Star Trek
Before people get all feisty, this ranking says more about me than the ship. I came to the series late and have mostly only seen the new ones, so I feel like I can’t *really* do the ship full justice. Though it is one awesome ship!

7. The Indefatigable, Horatio Hornblower
My mom loves this series, and I got hooked on the VHS’ before I got a DVD player set up in my apartment. It’s partly the inspiration for the name of my most recent spaceship.

6. Shield’s Helicarrier, The Avengers
Why has no one actually created this yet?! It makes the list for sheer awesomeness of concept.

5. Serenity, Firefly and Serenity
They made this ship come alive! It felt like a home to the characters, and I couldn’t get enough! She’s scrappy and beat up, but still kickin’. Just like Mal.

4. The Inferno (AKA One-eyed Willie’s ship), Goonies
The one that started it all for me. I adore this movie, can quote every line, and when the ship sails free at the end I want to pound my chest in joy just like Sloth.

3. The Millennium Falcon, Star Wars
C’mon, it made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs. What’s not to love?

2. The Black Pearl, Pirates of the Caribbean
You may have heard of her captain. His name is Sparrow. Plus, this is just a downright gorgeous ship.

1. Moya, Farscape
She’s a living ship. She gives birth to a baby warship. Game, set, match!

From Farscape.wikia

From Farscape.wikia

Friday Fandom: Galavant

Why We Love Galavant

If you missed out on season 1 of Galavant, never fear! It’s available on Amazon and Hulu, and ABC has promised a second season. Let me explain. No, there’s not time. Let me sum up. Galavant was a four-week “medieval musical comedy” put on by ABC. The phrase “medieval musical comedy” was enough to intrigue me and every episode delivered on the hilarity in a big way.

Joshua Sasse, Tim Omundson and Vinnie Jones are fantastic, as is the rest of the cast!

Here’s more on what makes it so great:

The trailer

I dare you not to hum along!

The songs

The combo of Alan Menken and Glenn Slater is pretty unbeatable. As my cousin likes to say, Alan Menken composed the soundtrack of our childhood (Little Mermaid, Beauty & the Beast), and Galavant’s tunes deliver in a similar way. They’re catchy, and fun, and definitely get stuck in your head!

The guest stars

John Stamos as a pansy jerk of a knight is hilarious! (See the joust scene below) Weird Al, Rutger Hauer and Ricky Gervais also turned in excellent guest spots and cameos, though I must say Hugh Bonneville’s “Lords of the Sea” ditty might be my favorite!

The tongue-in-cheek fantasy tropes

Like the old Monty Python classics, Galavant is able to make fun of itself and the larger fantasy/ fairytale genre, while never veering far from its love of those same tropes and stereotypes. The noble knight, the fair maiden, the evil king. Galavant turns them delightfully on their heads, but still speaks to the heart of what we all love about those tales.

The joust scene

In traditional medieval showdown style, Galavant and his knight nemesis (John Stamos) face each other in the joust…only they’ve both been either drugged or overtrained into a stupor.

So, there you have it. A little glimpse of why we love Gaaaa-laaaa-vaaaant!!

And, if you’re looking for even more comedic fantasy gold, look no further than the Harry Potter tribute episode of Psych. It had me snorting and crying in laughter about two minutes in.

Have you seen Galavant? Does Monty Python have a classic place in your collection? Are Shawn and Gus your go-to comedy duo?

Friday Fandom: Castle

Castle

Nathan Fillion. Need I say more?

Okay, I will.

Castle is an absolutely fabulous show for many reasons, and its writers are definitely folks to be admired. What makes it doubly fun is the number of different ways Castle’s authorly expertise comes into play.

He finds inspiration in the strangest places. He uses research sources to help his cop partner Kate Beckett (Played by the amazing Stana Katic) get information. He has literally helped the NYPD solve crimes by using the phrase: That’s not how I would write it.

Why else do I like it?

The characters

First of all, Castle and Beckett are an exceptional onscreen team and couple. Their chemistry has been impeccable since episode 1, and has matured and deepened over the seasons as they fell in love, dated and married. A lot of TV couples falter or slow down when they hit the “married” stage. Or, the writers hold it off for too long to keep the show’s will-they-won’t-they momentum. Not Beckett and Castle! Even now, their banter is some of the best on TV.

The rest of the cast is equally strong. Ryan and Esposito are not only smart, capable partners for Beckett on the job, they’re friends to both her and Castle, and fully-formed, hilarious characters of their own.

And also badasses.

Same goes for Laney, Martha and Alexis, whose presences are always relevant and meaningful without feeling like filler. I especially love seeing Castle’s family side and his dad/son role with Alexis and Martha. Captains Montgomery and Gates also play their roles superbly—here’s more about my favorite kickass scene with Montgomery and why he is just all kinds of awesome!

As my Castle-cowatcher Katie says, the entire cast feels like an actual family.

The cases

Though Castle is a “cop show,” its cases still feel fresh and intriguing eight seasons in. The writers and cast do a great job balancing humor with mystery. The Old Haunt and the Blue Butterfly episodes are wonderful examples of this. I’m also impressed at how the show carries storylines from one season to the next…and the next. 3XK anyone?

It’s a credit to the show’s writers that the personal storylines meld so seamlessly with the case storylines without dragging or losing their light edge. Which brings us to…

The writing

Each element of this show is balanced so skillfully without getting heavy-handed or taking itself too seriously. While each character has grown and changed, no one has shed what and who they were at the beginning. Martha is still the theatrical mother. Beckett is still driven by justice and certain demons from her past. And, Castle is still the silly, clever writer who’s thrilled like a little boy about the macabre. The power of the show is still it’s humor, wit and heart. And that’s why we love it!