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[01/23/05 - 12:00 AM]
The Futon's First Look: "Young Blades" (PAX)
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

Considering its two signature franchises involve a country singer playing a doctor and a deaf F.B.I. agent, an action-adventure series about a group of 17th century swashbucklers seems out of place from what viewers have to come to expect from the fledgling broadcast network. That may however be a good thing.

"Young Blades," from the Emmy-winning pair of Billy Brown and Dan Angel ("Door to Door"), is a goofy, fun and occassionally charming series about a new generation of the famed Musketeers. At the center of the action are three young members of the Musketeers military academy - D´┐ŻArtagnan (Tobias Mehler), the womanizing son of the famed Musketeer of the same name; Ramon (Zak Santiago), a rebellious poet; and Siroc (James Marsters dead-ringer Marc Hildreth), an inventor with an eye for anachronistic contraptions - as well a recent addition, Jacqueline/Jacques (Karen Cliche), a woman who disguises herself as a man to get into the Musketeers in order to avenge her father's death. They're shephered by Captain Duval (a somewhat underused Bruce Boxleitner) who feebly attempts to keep them in line.

The pilot picks up as Jacqueline's father is killed and her brother captured by the villainous Cardinal Mazarin (the always great to see on TV Michael Ironside), who we quickly learn plans to usurp the French throne from the young King Louis (Robbie Sheehan) not to mention experiment on lowly villagers with a mysterious device. Jacqueline, who also happens to be a prodigy with the sword, then heads off to Paris to join the "men only" Musketeers.

It's here we meet the previously mentioned trio as they pick fights with the Cardinal's guards, hit on women, rhapsodize (or "rap" as Ramon calls it) and make "wink-wink" references to our own time. For example, all of Siroc's inventions happen to be things beyond their time - when a fallen guard slides into a woman's bosom, he wonders if "bags made of air" would be a good invention to stop collisions. And yes, I'm not making that up. Fans of the WB's short-lived time travel comedy "Do Over" may remember a similar recurring gag involving Gigi Rice's character.

Eventually they cross paths with the newly remonikered Jacques and their quest to take down Cardinal Mazarin begins.

Overall, I can't say this series is particularly my cup of tea but fans of such shows of "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys," "Xena: Warrior Princess" and "Jack of All Trades" will no doubt find a lot to like here. If anything "Young Blades" feels like a throwback to shows that don't get made much anymore and (in a refreshing change of pace) doesn't take itself too seriously. That fact alone is reason enough to check it out.





  [january 2005]  
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· FUTON'S FIRST LOOKS, THE (TFC)
· YOUNG BLADES (PAX)











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