For those who don't know, Young Blades (2005, filmed in Quebec, 13 episodes) can be short-handed as The Three Musketeers meets The Song of the Lioness. That is, the d'Artagnan role is a woman masquerading as a man, plus there's some magic. And quests, bereavement, history, swords, horses, faith, costumes and all that stuff I like. ;-)
I've been rewatching the series (on recorded-from-TV VHS; it's still not on DVD) and am struck again at the unrealized potential. YB began to find its footing in its fourth episode ("The Exile"), reached its height in its eleventh ("To Heir is Human"), and was gone two airings after. It's so completely from another era that it compulsively restates its premise in every episode, unwilling to depend on the audience to remember that Jacques is Jacqueline and Mazarin is evil (to a degree slandering the real historical figure). There was clearly some struggle for the definition of "family friendly" that swings the tone from goofy to profound. YB cajoles its fans to reconcile its inconsistencies and fill in its blanks, on a whisper of "it could have been..."
One thing that's particularly struck me this time through is a trick culture can play on the eye. When actress Karen Cliche is dressed in a dress, Jacqueline looks, as she is, a tall, strong, imposing woman. But when Cliche is dressed in musketeer uniform, Jacques looks like a short, delicate, unimposing man. When Jacqueline-in-a-dress wields a sword, you know she can't lose. When the same actor playing the same character does the same thing in male garb, she/he can look physically overmatched. Arresting!
While we're here, just for fun, some lines from episodes:
- D'Artagnan to Jacqueline: "I'll give you my shirt for the whole truth. For a partial truth, you get a sleeve."
- D'Artagnan: "With all this soldiering and pretending to be a man, aren't you afraid you'll forget how to be a woman?"
- D'Artagnan: "You extracted justice for your father. What holds you?"
Jacqueline: "Justice for France."
- D'Artagnan to Jacqueline: "You are so beautiful when you're overly earnest."
- Ramon: "I'll never forgive myself if I've endangered [Emanuelle]!"
Jacqueline: "You're not helping."
- [speaking to Louis XIV's reluctant betrothed]
Cardinal Mazarin: "Think of Louis as asparagus."
Dowager Queen Anne: "Eat your vegetables in public, dear, but have your dessert in private."
- Ramon: "The dead man's wife fell in love with his brother. The two brothers fought to the death for her heart. It happens in the best of families."
- Royal Physician to Coffee Shop Patrons: "Go home and have a nice, healthy glass of wine!"
- Jacqueline to Her Brother: "I wanted to be him, Gerard, not marry him."
- D'Artagnan: "Do you know what it means?"
Jacqueline: "It means that I'm going to do whatever it takes to find out where this came from and why it's important."
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