The latest series from PAX-TV is Young Blades, a swashbuckling spin-off of The Three Musketeers (Thursdays, 8:00 p.m. ET).
D'Artagnan here is the son of the musketeer of that name in Alexander Dumas's classic. But the progenitor of this series is the movie, not the book, so the tales of 17th-century adventure, swordplay, and intrigue are accompanied with humor and modern touches.
The other musketeers are Siroc, Ramon, Duval, and Jacques, who is really a woman. That there has to be a female musketeer fits with the Hollywood convention of including female samurais, soldiers, and space captains. But Young Blades does not try to score feminist points, with Jaqueline disguising herself as a man to hide from the sinister Cardinal Mazarin's men. Only the smitten D'Artagnan knows.
The musketeers solve crimes, foil the plots of the cardinal, and defend the boy-king Louis XIV, played as a clueless young fop. Young Blades has excellent production values, and the storylines are varied, entertaining, and frequently inventive. Not bawdy, Young Blades sometimes flirts with naughtiness (a baby squirts his rescuer in the face; D'Artagnan wants to look when "Jacques" takes a bath). People get killed, though bloodlessly. Some scary moments make it unsuitable for very young children and those tempted to sword fight in the house.
The characters pray and "prepare to meet their Maker" when they think they are going to be killed. The bad guy is a cardinal whose involvement with an occult magical order is reminiscent of The Da Vinci Code. Such fictionalizing of historical personages-including Oliver Cromwell-is the main annoyance in an otherwise likeable show.