For purists, it's not a good start. "Paris, 1630", says the onscreen blurb, which is a full four years after D'Artagnan originally clomped into the city on his father's yellowed horse. Not a major difference, perhaps, but things quickly diverge further from the original, which admittedly is only 'based on the characters by Alexandre Dumas'. This is less the 'Sherlock' treatment though than the 'Robin Hood' one, with the merry band appearing strangely modern and each week facing a different, resolvable case of swashbuckling, intrigue and romance. Extra characters abound, and the writers have chosen to change some particulars with no obvious reason. Porthos is not the giant hercules of the novels, nor Milady the fair 17th Century ideal of beauty, and she has already identified her fallen-noble husband in his disguise as a musketeer; the super-subtle subterfuge of Richelieu is also exchanged for a Cardinal who stoops to disposing of his enemies directly.
Although none of these are deterrents to non-Dumas fans, and perhaps only a minor annoyance to those who aren't purists, it's hard to see what the series offers (other than Tom Burke, whose brooding, drunken Athos may yet rival the old hellraiser Oliver Reed in the sumptuous Lester film version of the 1970s). The newly-invented plotlines are unoriginal, and having already imperilled the lives of at least one of them, it's hard to see how the series will build thrills towards its 'season finale' - that's last episode to most of us in the UK - a whole 9 episodes away. Its titles may be based on those of 'Ripper Street', but this fails to do for 17th Century France what 'Ripper' did for 19th Century Whitechapel. Probably not helped by the females appearing in semi-undress that wouldn't look out of place in the Wild West. It's getting to be a cheap shot to use established characters to write new storylines, because unless those plots are good enough to rival the originals, or go somewhere excitingly different, it's a pointless exercise. Why not adapt a work and keep the elements that made it good in the first place, or else create something entirely new?