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Black Sails: My TV Series Review

Black Sails is an American TV series categorized on a historical adventure created by Jonathan E. Steinberg and Robert Levine for Starz network. The series is set on New Providence Island and a prequel to Treasure Island, a novel from Robert Louis Stevenson. On January 18, 2014, it was debuted online for free on YouTube and other various streaming platforms and video on demand services. A week later on January 25, 2014, the debut on cable tv was followed. Steinberg alongside with Brad Fuller, Andrew Form make up the executive producers for this series, while Levine, Dories Egan, and Michael Angeli as co-executive producers.

On July 20, 2016, Starz announced that its last season would be season 4 which premiered its first episode on January 29, 2017, and conclusion ended up on April 2, 2017.

The series is filmed at Cape Town Film Studios in Cape Town, South Africa, with local production company Film Afrika.

Black Sails is cast by British actor Toby Stephens (John Robinson of Lost in Space/ Tony Blair of The Journey/ Prince John of Robin Hood) as Captain Flint, a pirate who is also known as James McGraw, a disgraced former Royal Navy lieutenant who was dismissed from the service for falling in love and having an affair with Lord Thomas Hamilton, and exiled from England together with the Lord’s wife named Miranda; English actress Hannah New (Princess Leila of Maleficent/ Victoria of Trust/ Louisa of The Strain/ Rosalinda Fox of The Time in Between) as Eleanor, the beautiful, determined daughter of Richard Guthrie, the wealthiest black marketeer in the Bahamas and the chief fence/supplier for the many pirate crews of New Providence Island.

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 Australian actor Luke Arnold (Mike McCluskie of Hyde Park/ Owen of Glitch/ Karl of MacGyver) as a young man named Long John Silver who begins as a scheming cook, rises to serve as quartermaster on the Walrus and on a captured Spanish Man O’ War, later to lead the pirate and former-slave forces that attempt to re-take Nassau from the British; Canadian actress Jessica Parker Kennedy (Nora West-Allen of The Flash/ Maya of Colony/ Melissa of The Secret Circle/ Plastique of Smallville/ Beatrice of Valemont/ Natalee of Kaya) as Max, a seductive, cunning, and cool-headed prostitute in the brothel on Nassau.

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British actor Tom Hopper (Dickon Tarly of Game of Thrones/ Arminius of Barbarians Rising/ Asbjorn of Northmen – A Viking Saga/ Andy of Good Cop/ Percival of Merlin) as Billy Bones, or also known as William Manderly,  the son of anti-impressment activists in Kensington, and was himself press-ganged while handing out pamphlets on the subject: American actor Zach McGowan (Anton Ivanov of Agents of SHIELD/ Tennyson Duvall of Damnation/ Roan of The 100/ Shkelgim of Dracula Untold/ Jody Silverman of Shameless) as Charles Vane, a pirate captain of the ship Ranger, who falls in love with Eleanor.

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Australian actor Toby Schmitz (Lewis of Newton’s Law) as Jack Rackham, a pirate captain who operated in the Bahamas who also served as the Quartermaster on the pirate ship Ranger; British actress Clara Paget (Vegh of Fast & Furious 6/ Waitress of Johnny English Reborn) as Anne Bonny, female pirate who operates in the Bahamas. She is beautiful but cold-blooded who is also Rackham’s lover, and Vane’s deadliest henchman.

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English actor Mark Ryan (Bumblebee of Transformers/ Fencing Opponent of Charlie’s Angels/ Nasir of Robin Hood) as Hal Gates, the Walrus’ quartermaster, elected representative of the crew’s interests, and a check on the power of the ship’s captain. 

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British-Nigerian actor Hakeem Kae-Kazem (The Prophet of Dominion/ Richard Gladwell of Gotham/ Cecil Colby of Dynasty/ Zeus of Troy: Fall of a City/ Bumblebee of Transformers/  Colonel Ike Dubaku of 24/  African businessman of X-Men Origins: Wolverine/ Captain Jockard of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End) as Mr. Scott, Eleanor Guthrie’s former right-hand man and also Richard Guthrie’s former house slave whose loyalties are put to the test as Eleanor allies herself more closely with Captain Flint; South-African born actor Sean Cameroon Michael (Archaeologist of The Mummy/ Nabal of Of Kings and Prophets/ Miles Stewart of This Life) as Richard Guthrie, a father of Eleanor and a smuggler and the richest black-marketeer in the Bahamas. Because of this, he had become a powerful and dangerous man.

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South African actress Louise Barnes (Moregon of Outsiders/ Doctor of Jane the Virgin/ Jocelyn del Rossi of Jozi-H) as Miranda Barlow, a resident of Nassau who unknown to most, she and Flint had a relationship, but even those who knew about it were unaware of its full extent; English actor Rupert Penry-Jones (Mr. Quinlan of The Strain/ Clive Reader of Silk/ Joseph Chandler of Whitechapel/ Squire Trelawney of Treasure Island) as Lord Thomas Hamilton, an English nobleman, and the former husband of Miranda Barlow. His freethinking ideas of pardoning pirates to restore Nassau to English governance horrified those in power. It is revealed that he was also the lover of James Flint.

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Irish actor Ray Stevenson (Volstagg of Thor/ Marcus of Divergent/ Frank Martin of Transporter 4 Refueled/ Pothos of The Three Musketeers/ Redridge of The Book of Eli/ Frank Castle of Punisher: War Zone/ Titus Pullo of Rome/ Dagonet of King Arthur) as Edward Teach aka Blackbeard, a fearsome pirate captain who is in command of the mighty ship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge. He allies with Charles Vane and Captain Flint.

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English actor Luke Roberts (Arthur Dayne of Game of Thrones/ Harry of Wolf Hall/ Butcher of 300: Rise of an Empire/ Simon of Reign/ Connor of Beauty and the Beast/ Captain of the Guard of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides) as the newly appointed Royal Governor of the Bahamas named Woodes Rogers, who also heads to Nassau with the intend to take control of the colony from the pirates.

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Season 1 of Black Sails has received mixed to positive reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes holds a rating of 62%, based on 45 reviews, with an average rating of 6/10. The site consensus reads, 

“Black Sails boasts visual appeal, but the show’s bland characters aren’t strong enough to keep the show from being dragged down into its murky depths of aimless exposition”.

On Metacritic season 1 has a score of 58 of 100, based on 27 critics, indicating “mixed or average reviews”. However, IMDb,  the world’s most popular and authoritative source for movie, TV and celebrity content, gives an average rating of 8.3/10 based on 76,133-star votes.

Jeff Jensen of Entertainment Weekly said, 

“Not even a guilty pleasure, Black Sails is arrrrrr-estingly good”.

If you’re a big fan of pirates and a fanatic of The Pirates of the Caribbean films, then this series is really relatable to your gusto, since this is all about pirates in their golden age. But take note, this series has sex scenes and gore not suitable for young audiences, so kids shouldn’t watch this. 

A story of pirates with a quest for gold, with some romance and drama, is all about this series. I give my 8/10. One of Michael Bay’s best TV series so far!

If you haven’t watched this series yet, here’s the official trailer in courtesy of  Machinima YT channel:

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What do you think?

11 Points

Written by Trafalgar Law

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