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Blade Runners: Part 2

Creators Dan Angel and Billy Brown reinvent the Three Musketeers for the new PAX adventure series YOUNG BLADES

By Carl Cortez     January 21, 2005


Michael Ironside as Cardinal Mazarin in YOUNG BLADES.
© PAX

As UPN and WB throw away the genre shows that put them on the map (ENTERPRISE, BUFFY, ANGEL) and Fox repeatedly refuses to give the next potential X-Files franchise a chance to blossom, who would've figured the PAX network would be the last hope for genre entertainment?


Nonetheless, PAX has given a 22-episode commitment to their new Three Musketeers-inspired Young Blades (making its debut this Sunday, January 23 at 8PM EST). Created by Dan Angel and Billy Brown, the series is set in 17th Century France as Captain Duval (Bruce Boxleitner) trains his sometimes reckless Musketeers in protecting France's young King Louis (Robbie Sheehan).


It's a light-hearted romp with great swordplay and a great sense of humor about itself. And since this is unlike any of the PAX programming that has come before it, they're willing to give this budding new genre show a fighting chance.


Recently, creators Angel and Brown talked with Cinescape about Young Blades in this two-part exclusive. If you missed part one, click here to catch up.


 


CINESCAPE: If there is a second season of YOUNG BLADES, where would you like to see the show go?


BILLY BROWN: It's all such a blur now, what with the tremendous pressure to get the scripts ready that it's hard to see the forest for the trees. We also need to see how the audience responds to the different characters and types of stories. But I hope to keep balancing the adventure and romance with the humor. I love introducing colorful guest characters each week. Hopefully, as the weather gets better, we can do more outdoor scenes to take advantage of horse action against cinematic, outdoor backgrounds.


CINESCAPE: What's your favorite Musketeer movie?


BROWN: My two favorites are the first Richard Lester movie with Michael York and Oliver Reed. I love the humor and the irreverence. I also like Gene Kelly's sword fighting in his version.


CINESCAPE: The worst?


BROWN: I was not a big fan of the Charlie Sheen version, or the last one with the Chinese stunt doubles.


CINESCAPE: Is it hard to do a show set in 17th Century France particularly with the type of budget I'm sure PAX has?


BROWN: It's extremely challenging, which is why the acting and the scripts have to be good. We can't just rely on massive action sequences to carry it. That said, I think our costume designer Heather Douglas and production designer Andrew Desking have done an amazing job with limited resources.


CINESCAPE: Is it hard to choreograph the fight sequences with such a limited budget?


BROWN: Yes,

Tobias Mehler as D'Artagnan Jr. in YOUNG BLADES.

but again our swordmaster Nick Harrison and our stunt coordinator Jacob Rupp have done yeomen work. Still, there's no question it would be nice to have an extra day and an extra 50K and episode.


CINESCAPE: YOUNG BLADES is shot with High-def cameras, were you hesitant about going that route initially? What are some of the benefits of shooting High-Def on an ambitious TV series like this?


BROWN: I was hesitant until I saw how good it looks. Tony Mechie, our DP, is getting to be a master with hi-def. You can move very, very quickly, and it makes post-production easier. I'm a big believer.


CINESCAPE: Can you talk in detail about any future genre projects you're working on?


BROWN: Dan and I are working on a series of scary movies for young people based on the stories of R.L. Stine. We also have an amazing fantasy project called THE WARRIOR GEEKS OF EL NADIR, which is in the development stage, and would be a major motion picture.



CINESCAPE: With many short-lived TV series coming out on DVD, has Fox approached you about your anthology show NIGHT VISIONS coming out?


BROWN: No, and I'm not sure why.


CINESCAPE: Is it different working for a network like PAX? Do they give you more freedom?


BROWN: PAX will tend to give the show a longer chance to find its audience.


CINESCAPE: Why is it so hard to launch genre shows on TV? Do you feel the major networks don't give them time to build an audience? I can only imagine how long THE X-FILES would have lasted if it premiered this year instead of when it did?


BROWN: The networks have little imagination, and want an immediate payoff. They don't nurture shows or give them a chance to find their footing or their audience. It's a shame. All the networks, in my opinion, are fat to reliant on audience research feedback, rather than the gut instincts and taste of creative execs. I'm sure there are some exceptions. X-FILES was certainly an example of a show that only was given a chance because FOX was brand new and didn't have lots of programming in the pipeline.


CINESCAPE: What's the most enjoyable aspect of writing a show like YOUNG BLADES?


BROWN: I'm quite amazed that we've been able to get a period piece incorporating romance, fantasy, the birth of coffee, poetry, sword fighting and gender bending on the air. I love getting to reference historical situations, and drawing parallels between yesterday and today. I love getting to combine humor and action, romance and intrigue. It's a gas!

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